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Sleep Apnea Treatment

August 29th, 2009

Details about the options for Sleep Apnea Treatment discussed on this page are:-

Sleep Apnea Treatment Objectives

Sleep Apnea Treatment depends on the nature of the apnea and the severity of the physical blockage or obstruction. This obstruction occurs when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes the airway when you are sleeping and the muscles in the airway have relaxed.
The goals of Sleep Apnea Treatment are to restore regular breathing during sleep and relieve symptoms such as loud snoring and daytime sleepiness. Treatment has also been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes as well as reducing some instances of high blood pressure, all of which have been linked to sleep apnea.
There are different options for Sleep Apnea Treatment with the best alternative usually determined following a sleep study. Only your sleep specialist can determine which Sleep Apnea Treatment is right for you, usually following a review of these results.
With obstructive sleep apnea all treatments are intended to prevent the airway from becoming obstructed during sleeping. Treatment can be addressed in a number of ways such as lifestyle changes for some minor cases such as avoidance of alcohol and sedatives prior to sleeping. for more severe cases options include surgical procedures, the use of a CPAP machine or a combination of all of these.

Lifestyle Sleep Apnea Treatments

There are number of lifestyle changes that can be made to help with Sleep Apnea Treatment, these include:
1)  Avoid alcohol and medicines that make you sleepy, such as painkillers, sedatives and muscle relaxants close to bedtime as these can worsen sleep apnea by acting on the central nervous system and relaxing the airway muscles.

2)   Weight-loss can help relieve mild sleep apnea. Bulk around the neck constrict the airway and for some people with mild cases, losing weight can be an effective Sleep Apnea Treatment. It should be remembered, however, that sleep apnea does occur in thin people as well and the airway can close for any number of reasons, not just excess weight.

3)   There are numerous Positional Therapy alternatives and devices available for Sleep Apnea Treatment and designed to try and assist with maintaining a clear open airway such as cushions, pillows and positional alarms. These are usually intended to position the neck so that the airway is more likely to remain open.  The devices are also generally designed to stop people from sleeping on their back as in this position gravity tends to make it more likely for the tongue to fallback or alternatively for the airway muscles and other tissues to collapse and block the airway.

Oral Sleep Apnea Treatment Management Appliances

Oral appliances designed to keep the airway open can be used for Sleep Apnea Treatment to either push the lower jaw forward, prevent the tongue from falling back over the airway, or a combination of both of these.

These are usually more effective for people with mild sleep apnea and for non-obese people. The most common type of oral appliance, the Mandibular Advancement Device or MAD is often configured so that it can be adjusted by the dentist to move the jaw forward or back as necessary.

Incorrect application of the MAD can in some instances worsen apnea so care should be taken to ensure your dentist is familiar with apnea and these devices.

Sleep Apnea Treatment by Surgery

Surgery is sometimes conducted for Sleep Apnea Treatment to create a more open airway. There are number of different surgical procedures that are available, and  if chosen as a treatment option then the actual procedure adopted will depend on the severity of the apnea and the suitability of that particular Sleep Apnea Treatment for you.

Surgical treatment alternatives are discussed in more detail on the Sleep Apnea Surgery web page.

Sleep Apnea Treatment by CPAP

One of the more common tools used for Sleep Apnea Treatment is the utilisation of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP machine. This machine works by gently blowing pressurised air through the airway at a pressure high enough to keep the airway open. The actual pressure applied depends on the severity of the sleep apnea and again will be set by your sleep specialist after reviewing the results of your sleep study.

You should discuss with your doctor the options to find out the best Sleep Apnea Treatment that suits you. It is likely that the best Sleep Apnea Treatment will be a combination of lifestyle adjustments and one all of the more physical techniques, usually the CPAP machine.
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