It’s rather not surprising that most individuals suffer from various health complications. Some suffer from dental conditions while others suffer from sleep-related disorders. One common disorder that most individuals suffer from is none other than sleep apnea. What is this sleep apnea? What causes it? Are there any symptoms associated with this disorder?
Sleep apnea can be defined in simple terms as a sleep disorder that occurs when one’s breathing is interfered with (interrupted) during sleep. It is characterized by daytime fatigue, nighttime sweat, headaches, and occasional nighttime awakening just to highlight a few.
Can this condition be treated? The answer is yes. Keep reading to understand the treatments for sleep apnea.
1. Mechanical Therapy
For the majority of people suffering from obstructive apnea, PAP therapy, otherwise known as Positive Airway Pressure, is considered the initial treatment for sleep apnea.
Patients are required to wear masks to cover their mouths and noses. Then an air blower gently forces air via the nose or mouth. The next step is adjusting the air pressure to make it sufficient to prevent the upper tissues from collapsing when one is asleep.
Wide arrays of positive airway pressure devices are available depending on the patients’ needs.
Such procedures are not only meant for patients with obstructive sleep apnea but also for people who snore but don’t show any sign of sleep apnea. In general, surgery is for patients who have malformed tissue obstructing airflow via the throat, such as a small mandible that causes the throat to be abnormally narrow.
The various types of surgeries performed are these:
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP): This is a procedure that removes tissues in the throat thus increasing the throat opening of the airway.
- Somnoplasty: This is an invasive procedure that employs the use of radiofrequency energy aimed at reducing the soft tissues present in the upper air pathway.
- Nasal surgery: This surgery aims at correcting nasal obstructions.
Other surgeries include maxillary advancement therapy which aims at correcting throat obstructions that lead to obstructive sleep apnea. Another surgery is a tonsillectomy. This surgical procedure removes tonsillar tissues which is a common cause of sleep apnea in children.
3. The Use of Mandibular Adjustment Devices
These are treatment devices for patients with a moderate and mild type of sleep apnea. These devices are targeted to prevent the tongue from blocking the throat. This makes the airways stay open, allowing the free flow of air during sleep.
4. Conservative Treatments
Conservative treatments are mostly for obstructive sleep apnea in its mild state. Here are some conservative treatments to consider.
Avoid sleeping pills and alcohol.
Alcohol and some sleeping pills tend to cause a collapse in the airway when one is asleep. This further increase the apneic periods.
Try to lose weight.
Losing weight may be difficult for patients with an obstructive type of sleep apnea. However, losing weight can minimize the number of sleep apnea events and sleep apnea symptoms.
5. Hypoglossal Nerve Simulator
This treatment option involves stimulator implantation on the right side of the chest. Electrodes are attached to the hypoglossal nerves in the intercostal muscles mainly found in the heart.
The device is primarily switched on during sleep. As one breathes, the hypoglossal nerve become stimulated. This makes the tongue move forward making the airway open. This allows for the free flow of air into the exchange systems.
Untreated sleep apnea can result in an uncontrolled number of health complications that may be difficult to deal with. So, if you are suffering from sleep apnea, it’s time to take a bold step toward treatment. Don’t wait until you can no longer treat it.