How to treat sleep apnea
What is sleep apnea? Sleep apnea is a sleep deprivation disease where the affected person goes through stoppages in breathing either intermittently or even frequently. Although for most people sleep apnea is not a serious problem, it can gradually get worse. It can even be fatal if the problem is very serious.
The symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea may not always be obvious to the person suffering sleep apnea because they could be totally oblivious to the problem while they are at deep sleep. Also, it should be remembered that a few of the symptoms might occur independently and not necessarily because the person is suffering sleep apnea.
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Snoring – Although this can be a symptom of sleep apnea, many people snore during sleep, so this should not necessarily be taken as a sure sign of sleep apnea.
Mild chocking – This often accompanies sudden stoppages of breath. A victim that stops breathing while at sleep may find their throat becomes very dry.
Dry throat – this is explained above.
How to test for sleep apnea? The best way to do this is to use something to monitor you when going through a night’s sleep. This could either be through using an audio or video recorder. You should use a tape long enough to record you sleep for an entire night. This will give a better idea of how bad the sleep apnea is in your case.
Other ways to detect sleep apnea
Let someone observe you sleep if you do not have a partner.
If no other options are available to test for sleep apnea, you should get in touch with your physician, who will arrange an appointment with a sleep observation centre. They will observe and record your activities while during your sleep.
- There are numerous reasons why someone may suffer sleep apnea.
- Any one that has suffered a stroke in the past may suffer sleep apnea.
- Smoking and drinking alcohol may lead to sleep apnea.
- Overweight people are also more at risk of suffering sleep apnea.
- Any health problem that affects the airway could also lead to sleep apnea.
How dangerous is sleep apnea?
The dangers of sleep apnea vary from person to person. Generally, if the sleep apnea problem is mild, the risk factors aren’t too great.
For mild apnea
Most of the treatments for mild sleep apnea are natural treatments in that they involve the person to make changes that will reduce the likelihood of sleep apnea occurring. For example, if sleep apnea is caused by excess weight, then losing weight and body fat will help to reduce its chances by removing fat in areas that may hinder or disrupt with breathing. For example, people with excess fat around their neck or chin may find breathing more difficult during the night because of the undue pressure it puts on the airway.
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Using the power of the mind to relax and practise breathing during the day so it helps to carry with it the momentum into the sleep. Things like yoga might help in this regard.
- Clean diet avoiding high levels of fat.
- Regular gentle exercise will help to reduce body weight, stress.
- Avoid smoking because you will need clear lungs.
For severe apnea
For severe sleep apnea, a patient will have to undergo a surgery or be aided by a machine to help continuous breathing during sleep.
Machine aided breathing
For severe sleep apnea problems a doctor will need to determine the best option for your case. For example, there is a surgery available to treat sleep apnea, there is also a machine for treating the problem.
This provide a long-term solution by widening the airway by removing some tissues from the throat or removing the tonsils (tonsillectomy). Before a surgery can be considered, a doctor may seek extensive testing to see whether the case of obstructive sleep apnea is serious in your case.
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The surgery itself is not a cure because the problems can recur if patient goes back to doing some of the things that causes obstructive sleep apnea such as gaining weight, smoking, etc.
Machine aided breathing
A machine used by more serious sleep apnea patients helping to blow air while you sleep to help keep the airway open to normalise breathing.
The surgeries intended to provide a solution for sleep apnea are not permanent cures for OSA.
One cure is Tracheostomy, which removes the apnea problem by making a hole in the windpipe thus letting air in to normalise breathing while at sleep. This is a permanent solution but one not done too often and only recommended for ultra serious cases.