One of the most frequent sleep problems is sleep apnea. It’s a potentially dangerous sleep disorder in which breathing stops and begins regularly. Treatment can alleviate your symptoms and may aid in the prevention of heart issues and other complications.
Treatments and Therapies for Sleep Apnea
If you have signs of sleep apnea, you should consult a doctor. It is impossible to treat your sleep apnea until you understand the underlying causes. When appropriate, your doctor may advise you to do an overnight sleep study to assess your sleep, including your breathing.
For milder cases of sleep apnea, your doctor may just suggest lifestyle changes like decreasing weight or quitting smoking. If you have nasal allergies, your doctor will advise you on how to treat them.
If these methods do not help your symptoms, or if your apnea is moderate to severe, there are a variety of alternative therapies available.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
If you have moderate to severe sleep apnea, a machine that supplies air pressure through a mask while you sleep may be beneficial. The air pressure provided by CPAP (SEE-pap) is slightly higher than that of the surrounding air and is just enough to keep your upper airway passages open, preventing apnea and snoring.
Although CPAP is the most frequent and reliable technique of treating sleep apnea, it can be difficult or uncomfortable for some people. Some people abandon the CPAP machine, but most people learn to adjust the tension of the straps on the mask to get a comfortable and secure fit with practice.
To locate a comfortable mask, you may need to try on many different types. If you encounter troubles with your CPAP machine, don’t stop using it. Consult your doctor to determine what modifications might be done to improve your comfort.
Additionally, if you are still snoring or if you begin snoring again despite treatment, consult your doctor. If your weight changes, the CPAP machine’s pressure settings may need to be modified.
Other tracheal intubation devices
If using a CPAP machine proves to be an issue for you, you may be able to utilize a different type of airway pressure device that regulates the pressure automatically while you sleep (auto-CPAP). There are also units that provide bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP). These give more pressure when inhaling and less pressure when exhaling.
Oral hygiene products
Wearing an oral appliance designed to keep your neck open is another possibility. Although CPAP is more reliable than oral equipment, oral appliances may be easier to use. Some are intended to open your throat by pushing your jaw forward, which can help with snoring and moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
Your dentist can provide you with a variety of equipment. You may need to experiment with many gadgets before settling on one that works for you.
Once you’ve found the proper fit, you’ll need to see your dentist frequently during the first year and then on a regular basis thereafter to check that the fit is still good and to reassess your indications and symptoms.
Treatment for related medical issues
Heart or neuromuscular diseases are possible causes of central sleep apnea, and addressing such conditions may assist.
Servo-ventilation that adapts to the environment (ASV)
This newly certified airflow device learns your typical breathing pattern and stores it in a built-in computer. After you fall asleep, the machine applies pressure to regulate your breathing rhythm and prevent breathing pauses.
In certain cases, ASV appears to be more effective than other forms of positive airway pressure in treating complicated sleep apnea. However, it may not be a good option for patients who have severe central sleep apnea and advanced heart failure.
Certain gadgets can aid in the opening of a clogged airway. In some circumstances, your doctor may require the surgery option when all other therapies have failed for at least three months. However, it is a good first option for a small percentage of people who have particular jaw structure abnormalities.
Your doctor will remove tissue from the back of your mouth and the top of your throat during this operation (uvulopalatopharyngoplasty). And, they remove your tonsils and adenoids as well.
This procedure may be effective in preventing throat tissues from vibrating and producing snoring. CPAP is more effective than this treatment which is not a dependable treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.
If you can’t tolerate CPAP or oral appliances, they may use radiofrequency radiation to remove tissues in the back of your throat (radiofrequency ablation).
Shrinkage of tissue
Another option is to use radiofrequency ablation to shrink the tissue at the back of your mouth and throat. For mild to moderate sleep apnea, they may use this technique. According to one study, this had similar results to tissue removal but with fewer surgical risks.
Repositioning of the jaw
During this treatment, your jaw is separated from the rest of your face bones. This increases the space behind the tongue and soft palate, decreasing the likelihood of obstruction. This is referred to as maxillomandibular advancement.
After local anesthesia has been administered, soft rods, often made of polyester or plastic, are surgically placed into the soft palate. More research is needed to establish the effectiveness of implants.
Stimulation of the nerves
This necessitates surgery in order to implant a stimulator for the nerve that regulates tongue movement (hypoglossal nerve). The greater stimulation aids in keeping the tongue in a posture that allows the airway to remain open.
Constructing a new air passageway (tracheostomy)
If other therapies have failed and you have severe, life-threatening sleep apnea, you may require this type of surgery. During this treatment, your surgeon makes an incision in your neck and implants a metal or plastic tube through which you will breathe.
During the day, you cover the opening. At night, however, you remove it to allow air to circulate into and out of your lungs, bypassing the clogged air path in your throat.