Adequate sleep is extremely beneficial to the human body. Apart from allowing the brain to rejuvenate and refresh, it is also an opportunity to rest so you can regain the energy lost throughout the day. This is why sleep disorders are a threat to human health. One such disorder is sleep apnea. This article is brief but detailed outline of what sleep apnea is coupled with information on four reliable treatment options that are reliable and efficient.
What is sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder that is characterized by interrupted breathing; either periods of shallow breathing or pauses in breathing. People suffering from sleep apnea typically snore loudly and wake up extremely exhausted after a full night’s sleep. If untreated, this sleep disorder can cause a person to stop breathing repeatedly in their sleep and this can result in serious health complications since the brain and other essential organs will not be able to access a sufficient amount of oxygen.
There are three main kinds of sleep apnea
1.) Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
This is the most common type of apnea, it occurs when the airway is blocked due to relaxation of the throat muscles when a person falls asleep.
2.) Central sleep apnea
Unlike OSA, the throat muscles do not relax. Instead the brain actually fails to signal the muscles to breath. This is caused by instability in the respiratory control centre.
3.) Complex sleep apnea syndrome
This kind of apnea is also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. This happens when a person suffers from both types of sleep apnea (OSA and central sleep apnea).
Sleep apnea is extremely uncomfortable; it not only interrupts your rest but has potentially dangerous complications if crucial parts of your body lack oxygen. Prompt and efficient treatment will not only ease symptoms and make sleeping more enjoyable but will also help in the prevention of heart problems and other serious complications that can put your health at risk.
Here are 4 common treatment options that are reliable and efficient
The use of the continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP) is the choice treatment recommended by most medical experts. The CPAP machine is a mask that fits over the mouth or the nose; this machine works by gently and consistently blowing air into the airway to prevent the airway from being blocked during sleep.
The CPAP machine features a small pump that control airflow, a mask that goes over the nose, the mouth or both and a tube that will carry the air from the machine to your airway. Although this is a very effective treatment method for sleep apnea, it will definitely take some time getting used to because of the straps and masks. If it is your first time, it will take some time before you can wear the CPAP mask without dreading the discomfort.
As long as the mask is sealed tightly to ensure the air pressure from the tube stays consistent, the CPAP will work effectively. With the help and recommendation of your doctor, you will be able to ascertain which type of CPAP device is most comfortable on your face and which straps are best suited to hold the mask in place. Take your time and research exhaustively and be prepared because you may have to try out numerous types before you find the one that works for you.
There are a variety of CPAP machines available in the current market to treat sleep apnea and ensure you are comfortable the throughout the night. While some people can tolerate or even need a steady and gentle flow of air during sleep, others will need variations in pressure. If you have sleep apnea, talk to your doctor about your unique and specific needs.
The Expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) is a relatively new treatment machine for sleep apnea. While the CPAP applies constant pressure outward to ensure your airway is kept open, the EPAP works by applying outward pressure to keep the airway open when a person is exhaling.
What makes EPAP effective in the treatment of sleep apnea?
Unlike the CPAP device, the EPAP equipment does not breathe for you. For one thing, the EPAP is not a mask; it simply attaches to a person’s nostrils with two disposable pieces. Apart from the two disposable nosepieces being attached to the unit, you will be able to move normally. If you find the CPAP mask uncomfortable then this is a viable alternative since the two little nose piece are barely noticeable.
Essentially the EPAP works by only applying outward pressure when you are exhaling because reliable research proves that air pressure is at its lowest when breathing out. By only adding pressure when exhaling, this treatment method feels more comfortable and natural as opposed as when breathing is entirely controlled by a machine.
3.) Oral Appliance Therapy
This is an effective treatment option that is reliable for treating both snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The oral appliance features a custom-fit appliance that is effective in improving sleep, restoring alertness and revitalizing your health in general. This device is only worn when a person is going to sleep and it fits like an orthodontic retainer or a sports mouth guard.
It works by supporting the jaw in a forward position and comes in handy in maintaining an open upper airway. Oral appliance therapy is a reliable and effective and noninvasive treatment that fits easily into your lifestyle. This treatment method is advantageous because it is easy to wear, comfortable, portable and very easy to care for.
Modern oral appliances are specially customized using physical or digital impressions and models of a patient’s teeth. The models are then sent to a specialized dental laboratory where oral appliances are made. Your dentist will ensure the appliance is fitted properly to maximize effectiveness and comfort. The oral appliance should cleaned and maintained regularly. Ensure your doctor schedules a sleep study to help verify the success treatment. These appliances are adjusted over time to ensure maximum comfort and effectiveness.
4.) Surgery treatment option for sleep apnea
There are several treatment options for sleep apnea depending on your specific diagnosis. Here are some surgical options for the treatment of sleep apnea.
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
This surgery specifically targets the roof of the mouth and it involves repositioning excess tissue in the throat to widen the airway. The surgeon either trim downs the uvula and soft palate, remove tonsils ore can even reposition muscles of the soft palate. UPPP alone is not very effective in curing moderate sleep apnea; it has to be combined with other surgeries that target the upper airway.
- Radiofrequency Volumetric Tissue Reduction (RFVTR)
This is an effective treatment option for persons suffering from moderate to mild sleep apnea. Radiofrequency Volumetric Tissue Reduction (RFVTR) procedure uses uncontrolled cauterization to tighten and shrink the tissues that are around the throat. This surgery can be applied on tonsil, tongues and the soft palate.
- Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction
This surgical procedure opens the nasal passage and this works in improving flow of air. Septoplasty enables the straightening a deviated or bent nasal septum while turbinate reduction removes or reduces the curved structures that normally stick out from the sides of the nose.
- Laser-assisted uvuloplasty (LAUP)
This surgical procedure is a very common treatment for sleep apnea. It involves a surgeon making cuts using a laser to tighten and scar the soft palate. Over a period of visits the uvula is trimmed. Although it is less effective than UPPP, it has fewer unpleasant side effects. Tracheostomy This surgical procedure is also very effective in the treatment of sleep apnea. However, it is a drastic option that is only used in emergency situations. A tracheostomy involves placing a hollow tube directly into a patient’s airway in the lower portion of the neck. This tube is plugged at daytime, allowing a patient to speak and breathe without any difficulty. In the nighttime, the tube is opened to enable a patient breath without posing the danger of throat blockage.
Sleep apnea is uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. These four treatment therapies are very effective in treating this common sleep disorder.