What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder whereby a person stops repeatedly breathing while sleeping. It can cause health problems like high blood pressure, heart diseases, and diabetes. When a person does not sleep well at night, he feels lethargic all day long. His performance at the workplace deteriorates. Mood swings, hormonal imbalances, and other problems surface due to poor sleep quality. It disturbs personal relationships, marital life, and the overall decorum of home. Hence a person who suffers from sleep apnea must seek professional help immediately.
Different treatments for sleep apnea: –
Mandibular advancement devices:
Mandibular advancement devices (MAD) are ideal for those suffering from mild sleep apnea. It works by repositioning the jaw forward to reduce throat obstruction. It also readjusts the tongue forward to increase airway passage. MADs require an accurate fit to work most effectively. The sleep specialist works with the dentist to customize the patient’s accurate fitting device. While some MADs have boil-and-bite features that fit according to the wearer’s jaw as he bites onto a boiled device.
Mechanical therapy is the first treatment for sleep apnea that patients with obstructive sleep apnea receive. Here are different types of mechanical therapies.
Positive Airway Pressure (PAP):
PAP requires patients to cover their nose and/or mouth with a mask. An air blower blows air into the wearer’s mask so that his airway passage does not close while he is sleeping. This prevents obstructive sleep apnea.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP):
The sleep obstruction returns as the PAP therapy stops working. That is why most sleep specialists prefer CPAP machines. You set the CPAP machine at a pressure level, and it continuously blows air into the wearer’s mask. This is an effective method to control obstructive sleep apnea.
In case of more severe sleep apnea that does not improve with CPAP therapy, sleep specialists recommend Bi-level PAP therapy. This therapy sets two different pressure levels for inhalation and exhalation for a more effective treatment for sleep apnea.
Patients with extreme airflow blockage through the nose or throat opt for surgery. Here are different kinds of surgical procedures.
This is a daycare procedure that clears the upper airway by reducing soft tissue through radiofrequency energy.
Tonsillar tissue is the most common cause of it, especially in children. This surgery removes the tonsillar tissue to alleviate the sleep obstruction.
Mandibular advancement surgery:
This is a highly invasive procedure that doctors recommend after other therapies fail. This surgery aims to readjust face dimensions and throat obstructions to reduce air blockage.
Mild sleep apnea and snoring can improve substantially through lifestyle changes. Obesity is one of the reasons for airway obstruction and nasal blockage. Doctors recommend people to reduce weight for a sound sleep. Yoga is one of the most effective ways to improve your respiratory system. It boosts oxygen saturation in the blood, leading to sound sleep. Humidifiers also help in decongestion leading to better sleep. Smoking and alcohol are also contributors to airway inflammation. Quitting such unhealthy habits improve sleep quality.
These were some of the most effective treatments for sleep apnea. For the best results, seek a specialist’s help.