Sleep apnea is one of the most dangerous sleep disorders where the sufferer’s breathing suddenly stops and then starts again. Around 26% of people aged between 30 and 70 suffer from sleep apnea. Loud snores and feeling extremely tired even after having a full sleep last night, might be the most common warning signs of sleep apnea.
There are various types of sleep apnea and it expresses itself in different forms, varying from person to person. The three most common forms of apnea are:
Obstructive sleep apnea – It is the most common form of sleep apnea and occurs when the muscles of the throat relax.
Central sleep apnea – This is a dangerous form of sleep apnea, and it occurs when the brain is unable to send signals to the muscles that control breathing.
Complex sleep apnea syndrome – In this kind of sleep apnea, the patient suffers from both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
If you suspect yourself to have sleep apnea, then consult a doctor as soon as possible. Here are a few treatment options that you can follow after the consultation.
1. CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure)
If you’re diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, the CPAP (pronounced See-PAP) device is the most suitable for you. The CPAP device is like a mask that you have to wear while sleeping.
It provides an air pressure that is slightly greater than the surroundings and helps to keep the upper air passages of the nose clear. This way, with a clear airway, apnea can be prevented, along with snoring.
While CPAP is famous around the world for its excellent effectiveness in reducing sleep apnea, some people find it very uncomfortable to sleep with. If you also feel the same, remember that it may take a few days to get accustomed to it.
2. Oral appliances
Although CPAP devices are much more effective and reliable to reduce this disorder, oral appliances are easier to use and work well with moderate apnea.
Some devices are designed in such a way that they help open the throat and air passage and thus, prevent mild sleep apnea and snoring. So, visit your dentist soon and try out different devices and find out which one suits you the most.
3. Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV)
Adaptive servo-ventilation is the most recent device that is designed to correct sleep apnea. It learns the breathing pattern of the person and stores it in the built-in computer.
After you go to sleep, it adjusts the pressure in your airway passages to help stabilize your breathing. This way, the nasal passages remain open and sleep apnea is reduced.
Compared to CPAP, ASV devices are even more effective. Patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, as well as certain patients suffering from complicated sleep apnea, have praised this device worldwide. But ASV is generally not a good idea for patients with innate central sleep apnea and cardiac problems.
4. Tissue removal surgery
The tissue removal surgery, scientifically known as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is a procedure where the doctor removes the extra tissues of the throat, to ensure that the upper airway passages are open. This surgery is commonly performed on people suffering from moderate obstructive sleep apnea and loud snoring.
But, this procedure is not as effective as a CPAP or ASV device. It might be successful in removing the extra throat tissues that create snoring from vibrating, but this is a temporary procedure, and soon the apnea might relapse. You can also visit a Sleep Apnea Clinic to understand the process in detail.
Tracheostomy is a medical procedure with which new unobstructed airway passages can be opened to help reduce sleep apnea and snoring. This is actually the last resort for doctors to treat sleep apnea patients when all the other procedures have failed.
In this surgery, the doctor makes an opening in your throat and inserts a metal or a plastic pipe and connects it with the trachea or the windpipe. The patient needs to cover the opening during the day and uncover it at night to allow air to pass in and out of the lungs.
Over to you…
Mentioned above are the few devices and surgeries that you can opt for, after the doctor’s consultation, to treat sleep apnea. Also, make sure to lose weight during this process, as the fat in the body can be a serious obstruction to the throat muscles.