Types and Treatments for Sleep Apnea


Sleep apnea is a sleep condition where breathing is interrupted while you sleep. Breathing interruption can prevent your body from getting sufficient oxygen, leading to other health issues. Sleep apnea can affect anyone but is more common in individuals over fifty years or overweight. Untreated sleep apnea Surprise can lead to hypertension, stroke, heart failure, diabetes, and heart attacks. Snoring, daytime sleepiness or fatigue, frequent nighttime awakenings, and night sweats are the common symptoms of this condition. Children with sleep apnea may have poor school performance, sleepiness in class, unusual sleeping positions, sweating at night, and daytime mouth breathing.

Types of sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type. It happens as recurrent episodes of complete or partial blockage of the upper airway during sleep. During the attack, your diaphragm and chest muscles work harder due to increased pressure on the open airway. Breathing often resumes with a loud gasp or body jerk. Obstructive sleep apnea episodes can disrupt sound sleep, decrease oxygen flow to your vital organs and cause irregular heart rhythms.

Central sleep apnea

In central sleep apnea, your airway is unblocked, but your brain fails to signal your muscles to breathe because of instability in your respiratory control center. Central sleep apnea is related to the working of your central nervous system. If you have sinus problems, nasal sprays can reduce snoring and improve airflow while you sleep.

Treatments for sleep apnea

Conservative treatments

Conservative treatments are effective for mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea. Losing excess weight can reduce the number of apneic episodes. Avoid alcohol and certain sleeping pills because they increase the chances of the airway collapsing during sleep and prolong apneic episodes.

Mechanical therapy

In most cases, Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) therapy is the initial treatment your doctor will use if you have obstructive sleep apnea. The treatment involves wearing a mask over your nose and mouth. An air blower with a tube connected to your mask gently forces air through your nose or mouth. The air pressure is adjustable so that it is just enough to prevent your upper airway tissues from collapsing while you sleep. PAP treatment prevents airway closure when using it, but the apnea episodes return when not in use.

Mandibular advancement devices

Mandibular advancement devices are suitable for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. They prevent your tongue from blocking your throat or advancing your lower jaw. These appliances help keep your airway open while you sleep.

Hypoglossal nerve stimulator

A hypoglossal nerve stimulator involves your doctor implanting a stimulator under your skin on the right side of your chest. The provider connects electrodes under your skin to the neck’s hypoglossal nerve and the chest’s intercostal muscles. You will turn on the device with the remote control at bedtime. With each breath, your hypoglossal nerve is stimulated, and your tongue moves forward out of the airway, opening it.

Sleep apnea is a sleep condition where breathing is interrupted while you sleep. Lifestyle changes, PAP therapy, hypoglossal nerve stimulators, and mandibular advancement devices can help treat sleep apnea. Schedule an appointment at Oasis Ear, Nose, and Throat for sleep apnea treatment to enjoy a restful sleep. 

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