How to Breathe Again: Stop Sleep Apnea
Getting a good night sleep is one of the most important health factors out there. But when you have sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), getting a good night sleep can be a lot harder than anyone can imagine. Imagine having to go to another room so your spouse can get some sleep. Or what about waking up and gasping for air because you can’t get any into your system while you sleep. These are just a few of the issues that people with sleep apnea suffer from.
Sleep apnea is a very common sleep disorder that can affect anyone because it doesn’t discriminate age, race, sex, ethnicity, or social level. In studies they said that it happens more in men than women and in most races besides Caucasian. These statistics can only be proven because these are the people who are diagnosed with sleep apnea, but what about the millions who probably don’t know.
If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea the good news is there are a lot of treatments that can help you sleep soundly again. The bad news is there is no way to stop sleep apnea because there is no cure only ways to treat it and make it easier to sleep at night.
There is a wide range of ways to treat sleep apnea from the mild to the extreme cases. When looking at conservative treatments these are all things that you can do to help with your sleep apnea that don’t usually cost anything at all. In most cases of sleep apnea the person is usually overweight. When you start to notice that you are having symptoms of sleep apnea then you might want to try to lose some weight. Even just losing about ten percent of your excess weight can help improve your sleep and reduce the number of sleep apnea events that happen in a night.
Other conservative treatments can include not drinking any alcohol or take any sleeping pills because they are more than likely to collapse the airway and tend to lengthen the apneic time. Another common trait of people with sleep apnea is they usually sleep on their back. When sleeping on their back it can collapse the airway so turning on your sides can help open your passageways and help you breathe easier at night. If you have trouble staying on your side there are always devices that can help or you can try using a pillow.
For more moderate to extreme cases of sleep apnea there are devices that can be used to help breathe easier at night. One such device is something called a mandibular device. This is a dental device that a dentist or orthodontist will make for you to use while you sleep. Some of them prevent the tongue from blocking the throat or it will make the lower jaw move forward which will also help stop the tongue from blocking the airway. When deciding if this is right for you, you should see a sleep specialist and they will determine if this is the right treatment or if a CPAP machine will be better.
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure that is the main treatment for people with sleep apnea. CPAP machines prevent the airway from closing while it is being used. CPAP users wear a mask while they sleep and that will force air through the nose or mouth. The air pressure is adjusted so there is enough pressure to prevent the airway from collapsing. This helps keep the pressure to be constant and continuous and able to get enough oxygen when you sleep.
In more extreme cases of sleep apnea doctors can decide if surgery would be the best option for you. These are only for extreme cases where there is excess tissue that is obstructing the airflow that goes through the nose or throat. This can be used for someone with a deviated septum or someone with enlarged tonsils that can close off the airway. There are also surgery options for people who have a small lower jaw or a larger tongue that makes the throat abnormally narrow.
The four main surgeries done are somnoplasty, which will tighten the soft palate in the back of the throat. UPPP or UP3 (uvulopalotopharyngoplasty), this will remove the soft tissue at the back of the throat and helps increase the width of the airway at the opening of the throat. Mandibular/maxillary advancement surgery is where they move the jaw bone and face bone forward to help make more room at the back of the throat. The last surgical option is nasal surgery which corrects any nasal obstruction and allows someone to breathe easier through their nose.