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Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

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Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

Even though one-third of our lives are spent asleep, we know very less about sleep and sleep related disorders. Sleep disturbances can put uncalculated, but massive burden on our lives. In fact, subjects like low performance at job, ruined social life, loss of physical and mental balance and accidents could be the result of undiagnosed and untreated sleep disorders.

Today, sleep disorders like sleep apnea are also linked to heart failures, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, cognitive impairment and even sudden death. With more information on the dangers of untreated sleep apnea, more and more people are seeking for sleep apnea treatment.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

Obstructive sleep apnea is bothering most of the adults and middle aged population, with majority of cases going undiagnosed. However, proper treatment is critical for reducing the problem and the risks associated. There are number of treatment options available. The choice of treatment may however vary according to what degree of Sleep Apnea you're suffering from i.e. Mild, Moderate or Severe Sleep Apnea. Your Sleep Physician will be able to identify an appropriate treatment basis the findings from your Sleep Study.

1. Treatment for Mild Sleep Apnea

If you suffer from Mild sleep apnea (AHI < 15) your sleep physician may advise you the following lifestyle changes or usage of Oral Appliances.

  • Weight loss : Studies have shown that more than half of OSA sufferers are overweight, thus even the modest of drop in weight can help them reduce apnea episodes that occur throughout the night, leading to enhanced quality of sleep.

  • Reducing Alcohol consumption : Alcohol relaxes throat muscles that keep the pharynx open during sleep. Thus restricting alcohol will surely improve the  symptoms of OSA.

  • Avoid Smoking : People with sleeping disorders should not smoke as it can cause swelling in the throat and narrowing in the upper airway causing increased episodes of sleep apnea.

  • Improve your sleeping position : OSA patients can also improve by changing their sleeping position as ide sleepers are less likely to face apnea episodes as compared to back sleepers.

  • Oral Appliance Therapy : An oral appliance therapy for Sleep Apnea treatment is an effective option for patients with sleep apnea. A custom-made adjustable oral appliance is designed usually by a dentist that helps in holding the lower jaw in a forward position during sleep. This mechanism for sleep disorder treatment works by expanding the space behind your tongue and reducing the airway collapse.

2. Treatment for Moderate & Severe Sleep Apnea

In case of Moderate to Severe Sleep Apnea, CPAP is the Gold Standard Therapy. As obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by narrowing of upper airways (that blocks airflow and disturbs sleep), the use of CPAP machine ensures constant flow of pressurized air to prevent the air passages from collapsing during sleep, thereby controlling snoring and eliminating apnea events during the night.

While patients might feel uncomfortable to use the CPAP machine initially, it is easy to get used to it. Once a patient sees drastic improvement in the quality of life, they get hooked to it.

3. Surgery Option for Sleep Apnea

Surgery for obstructive sleep apnea usually isn't done unless other treatments have failed for you or you have chosen not to use other treatments. While there are many surgical options, surgery should be tailored to the area of obstruction in each particular patient. The sites of obstruction could be anywhere in the upper respiratory tract including nose, tongue, and throat.

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