Tag: sleep apnea treatment

How is sleep apnea diagnosed and treated?

How is sleep apnea diagnosed and treated?

The diagnostic process for sleep apnea involves many stages and must be carried out by a doctor or sleep specialist.

Medical Examination and History

The first stages in a sleep apnea evaluation often include a physical examination, assessment of a person’s symptoms, and general health information. This is done to identify sleep apnea symptoms and risk factors that can make the condition worse.

Even though testing is required to establish obstructive sleep apnea, the presence of symptoms may aid in the diagnosis and assist determine the severity of the illness.

Sleep Studies

A sleep study is necessary to determine if a person has central or obstructive sleep apnea. The most accurate kind of sleep study, polysomnography, requires an overnight stay in a specialized sleep laboratory.

During polysomnography, many sensors are utilized to track various aspects of sleep, such as breathing, awakenings, oxygen levels, muscular activity, and sleep stages. 

The difference between central and obstructive sleep apnea may be determined by an in-clinic sleep study, which can also detect aberrant breathing patterns. For obstructive sleep apnea polysomnography, one or two visits to a sleep clinic may be necessary.

Patients who are believed to have more severe obstructive sleep apnea may decide to have the disease tested for at home. Even if an at-home test could be more practical, the results still need to be evaluated by a health professional. Home testing is not carried out for central sleep apnea.

Treatments for sleep apnea

The basic goals of sleep apnea treatment are to lessen breathing disruptions and improve sleep. Different therapies are used for central and obstructive sleep apnea.

Treatments for obstructive sleep apnea

Positive airway pressure (PAP) treatment is used to treat the majority of patients with obstructive sleep apnea. PAP therapy keeps the airway open by using pressurized air that is forced from a machine through a hose and a mask that is worn on the face20.

As part of a common kind of PAP therapy, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices broadcast an airstream that is constantly set to the same pressure level. With other PAP device types, such as bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) and auto-titrating positive airway pressure, the air pressure may change (APAP).

There are specialist mouthpiece types that maintain the jaw or tongue23 in a certain position as a treatment option for those with particular anatomical features and less severe OSA. Even though they often do not improve breathing as much as PAP therapy, these oral appliances may minimize snoring and may be preferred by those who struggle or feel uncomfortable using PAP devices.

Surgery to expand the airway and remove tissue from the throat may be beneficial for patients whose tissue is obstructing their breathing. Another surgical treatment involves implanting a device to stimulate a nerve that helps with breathing control.

Making lifestyle changes to help with symptom management is another component of treating obstructive sleep apnea. These suggestions may include reducing BMI via weight loss, exercising regularly (even if one doesn’t lose weight), modifying one’s sleeping position to avoid sleeping on one’s back, and consuming less alcohol.

Treatments for central sleep apnea

The primary focus of therapy for central sleep apnea is often the underlying issue causing irregular breathing. If sleep disruptions are mild, treatment for the underlying cause24 may be adequate.

If the central sleep apnea symptoms are severe or persistent, further treatment could be suggested in addition to trying to address the underlying problem. 

Using a PAP machine to promote more regular breathing while you sleep might be one way to achieve this. Other possible treatments include more oxygen therapy or the use of medications that accelerate breathing.

Impacts of Sleep Apnea

The majority of the time, sleep apnea may be effectively treated to prevent or cure serious repercussions, but if the condition is left untreated, it may have negative effects on health and wellness.

The harmful effects of insufficient sleep are made worse by sleep apnea since it affects the body’s oxygen levels during sleep.

As a result, obstructive sleep apnea has been associated with a higher risk of a number of health conditions, including: 

  • Pulmonary hypertension, which is high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs that places an unnecessary burden on the heart.
  • Cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, heart disease, and an irregular heartbeat.
  • Cognitive issues, including memory and attention issues.
  • Mood issues, including irritability and an increased risk

Surgical complications resulting from anesthesia

The underlying medical condition causing breathing issues largely determines the possible hazards in central sleep apnea.

Children and Sleep Apnea 

Sleep apnea is typically associated with the elderly, but it may also afflict young children. Young people are far more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than central sleep apnea. One to five percent of youngsters are likely to have obstructive sleep apnea.

Children with OSA may not experience daytime sleepiness to the same extent that adults with sleep apnea do. Instead, they could exhibit daytime symptoms including hyperactivity, difficulty learning, or behavioral problems.

Children with obstructive sleep apnea often snore, much as adults do. Children may have other nighttime symptoms, including sweating, bedwetting, or sleepwalking31. Children with severe, untreated OSA may also have problems with growth and development.

Since enlarged tonsils and adenoids in the throat are a major cause of obstructive sleep apnea in children, surgery to remove these tissues may be an option for treatment.

Having a sleep apnea condition

People with sleep apnea may control their disease and any potential health effects by adopting practical methods.

Seek medical advice frequently: You should discuss any persistent symptoms, troubles with the medicine, or other concerns with your doctor or a sleep specialist in case they call for modifying the sleep apnea treatment plan.

Maintain the tools used in treatment: Cleaning and maintenance, whether you’re using a mouthpiece or a PAP machine, may help you get the most out of your treatment and avoid unwanted effects.

Avoid risky activities: People with sleep apnea should be aware of the risks associated with daytime sleepiness. It’s best to avoid using machinery or driving when fatigued, particularly for those with untreated sleep apnea.

Consider altering positions while you sleep: While there hasn’t been much study on them, specialist products designed to prevent back sleeping may assist some people with their obstructive sleep apnea symptoms.

Keep alcohol intake in check: A sleep apnea treatment plan may include cutting down on alcohol intake. 

Describe your sleep apnea to any new medical professionals: People with sleep apnea should describe their condition to any new medical professionals, particularly if they want to start a new medication or have surgery. Even daytime alcohol use may worsen respiratory problems at night in those with untreated obstructive sleep apnea.

How well are you trying to alleviate sleep apnea?

How well are you trying to alleviate sleep apnea?

When someone has sleep apnea, they frequently cease breathing for small periods of time while they are sleeping. The sleep apnea syndrome is characterized by inadequate oxygen intake. They will cough as a result, usually waking them up.

Many times, when their breathing has stopped, people are unaware of it and continue to believe that their sleep cycle is normal. The sounds made by snoring and sleep apnea are identical.

Sleep apnea may cause a number of additional health issues in addition to making you feel more worn out in the morning. If left untreated, this sleep issue may, among other things, cause mental health issues, impair immune system performance, contribute to memory loss, and increase the risk of heart failure.

The most popular treatments for this illness are breathing apparatus, medication, and surgery. However, changing certain parts of your way of life and caring for your home may improve the quality of your life and the quantity of sleep you obtain.

All of the products that have been approved by Healthline to cure snoring and sleep apnea are available in our sleep shop.

Lifestyle treatments for sleep apnea

One of the most common treatments for sleep apnea is the use of a CPAP mask while you sleep. Even if it produces the intended outcomes, some people find this method to be unpleasant. It’s likely that certain natural treatments might provide the same benefits. The following six alternative treatments all promise to alleviate sleep apnea symptoms.

1. Make an effort to reach and maintain a healthy weight

Patients with sleep apnea are often advised by medical practitioners to lose weight. Obesity, especially in the upper body, increases the risk of having restricted nasal passages and blocked airways. These difficulties might lead you to suddenly stop breathing or to stop breathing for a long time when you are sleeping.

Maintaining a healthy weight may help keep your airways open and decrease the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. In obese individuals, even a little weight reduction may eliminate the need for upper airway surgery and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, according to research from Trusted Source.

Some people’s sleep apnea may be cured by losing weight, according to research. However, if you wind up gaining the weight back, the issue can resurface.

2. Try yoga

If you exercise consistently, your heart will become stronger, your energy level will increase, and your sleep apnea will get better. Your respiratory system may get stronger and the flow of oxygen may be stimulated by yoga practice.

Sleep apnea is associated with a decrease in the quantity of oxygen that is saturated in your blood. Yoga is a sequence of moves that emphasize slow, deep breathing. This might help your blood contain more oxygen. Yoga reduces the likelihood that you may have difficulties falling or staying asleep as a result.

3. Consider switching up your sleeping posture.

One of the best methods to treat the signs of sleep apnea and obtain a better night’s sleep is to change the way you sleep. According to a study done in 2006, posture is a factor in more than half of cases of obstructive sleep apnea.

Research has shown that lying on your back while you sleep, sometimes referred to as the supine position, may significantly exacerbate symptoms. Adults who sleep on their side may sometimes find that their breathing returns to normal.

On the other hand, a 2002 study by a reputable source revealed that children with sleep apnea sleep more soundly on their backs.

After learning about your sleep apnea symptoms and your body alignment during the conversation, your doctor will go through your treatment options.

4. Employ a humidifier.

The quantity of moisture in the air may be increased via humidifiers. When exposed to dry air, the body and the respiratory system are both prone to irritation. Your airways may widen when you use a humidifier, which helps lessen congestion and make it simpler for you to breathe clearly.

It could be advantageous to utilize essential oils like lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus while using a humidifier. These three essential oils are well known for their relaxing and anti-inflammatory properties.

Make careful to adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions while cleaning your humidifier. They might potentially harbor mold and bacteria.

A humidifier may be purchased online from a shop.

5. Avoid alcohol and cigarette smoke.

Changes to your lifestyle may improve your health and enable you to establish more peaceful sleeping patterns. You should consider about quitting smoking and consuming less alcohol if you want to reduce the dangers connected to sleep apnea.

When you consume alcohol, the throat muscles that control your breathing become more relaxed. This might lead to snoring and a disrupted sleep cycle, among other things. Additionally, it can enflame your airways, which would limit how much air can flow through your body.

Smoking may cause inflammation and swelling in the airways in a similar way to consuming alcohol. Your sleep apnea and snoring may become worse as a result of this.

According to a study from 2012, smoking increases the likelihood of getting sleep apnea. The study’s results suggest that those with sleep apnea may also have a hereditary propensity for smoking. Therefore, treating sleep apnea may be beneficial in quitting smoking.

6. Make use of oral devices

For those with sleep apnea, oral appliances that move your jaw or tongue to keep your airway open while you sleep may be beneficial.

The two main categories of dental orthotics are tongue stabilizing devices and mandibular advancement devices. These devices work by moving either your lower jaw or your tongue forward to lessen the obstruction at the back of your throat.

These products range from those that can be bought over-the-counter (OTC) and are reasonably priced to those that require be fitted by a dentist and are much more expensive.

The Australian Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine has endorsed oral appliance therapy as a successful sleep apnea treatment option.

A 2015 proposal suggests oral appliances for those with sleep apnea who cannot tolerate using a CPAP machine. This suggestion supports custom-fit appliances over over-the-counter options since the former allow for jaw position adjustment, which enhances sleep quality.

Can a natural remedy for sleep apnea be used?

Although the phrase “naturally” is quite vague, if we interpret it to mean “without surgery, drugs, or a specialized breathing equipment,” then the answer is yes.

In the past, your main alternatives for treating sleep apnea would have been surgery, medicine, or CPAP treatment. This is no longer the case. That shift represents a big step for many individuals.

The aforementioned conventional solutions may be useful, but they can also be difficult and cumbersome. These characteristics have caused many people to forego treatment and make vain attempts to just tolerate their sleep apnea, which has had a detrimental effect on their health.

These people will be able to sleep better and have a greater quality of life if their sleep apnea can be treated organically without intrusive operations, negative drug side effects, or cumbersome breathing equipment.

Treatment for sleep apnea without a mask may be beneficial.

It should be noted that not all cases of sleep apnea may be cured without the use of a CPAP machine, medications, or surgery.

One of those choices could be the greatest one for your long-term health if you have a really severe case; in such instance, I would certainly advise emphasizing health above comfort and convenience.

But many patients with sleep apnea find that maskless, CPAP-free therapies work well. If you or someone you know is interested in treating sleep apnea without utilizing the conventional choices, the alternatives are well worth looking into. For example, therapy with a dental device may be equally as successful as CPAP for up to 87% of patients.

Positional Therapy

Positional treatment may help you find relief if lying on your back, sometimes referred to as the “supine position,” causes your airways to constrict or collapse and interferes with your normal breathing pattern.

Positional treatment often involves shifting you into a side sleeping position by placing a device around your waist or back. This keeps your airways open and keeps you from curled up in a supine posture at night.

Therapy for Weight Management

Being overweight might limit your capacity to breathe because the extra tissue and weight in the region of your neck may make your airways narrow or clogged.

The airways may stay open and clear while you’re sleeping because to weight management therapy’s ability to lessen the weight and strain on them.

Naturally, those who are overweight or obese are the only ones for whom this form of therapy works. Weight management therapy is not a course of treatment you would choose if your snoring and sleep apnea issues are brought on by the structure of your mouth, jaws, and airways.

Life Coaching

A few instances of sleep apnea, usually minor ones, may be treated by changing one’s surroundings and way of life. Usually, this entails avoiding practices and other influences that have a detrimental effect on your airways and capacity to breathe.

You may be able to treat sleep apnea, for instance, by giving up smoking, consuming less alcohol, or making sure allergens are removed from the air where you sleep.

Dental devices

Last but not least, there are dental devices that may be specially built to fit your mouth and jaws to cure sleep apnea. They are supported by a multitude of clinical research and testing and are undoubtedly the most effective at-home sleep apnea therapy option.

These kinds of dental gadgets, which are worn throughout the night, make sure that your airways stay open and unhindered while you sleep, promoting deep sleep without snoring.

As the realignment of the lips and jaws often has the additional advantage of decreasing or even eliminating the need for orthodontic treatment throughout the teenage years, this technique may be very helpful for children who suffer from sleep apnea.

Are there any sleep apnea gadgets available over-the-counter?

You could discover that a store-bought remedy, such as a posture-correcting “sleep apnea pillow,” works if you simply have very minor sleep apnea.

With these pillows, you may encourage smooth, unhindered breathing while you sleep without having to change the posture of your complete body, as in positional treatment.

However, if you have moderate to severe sleep apnea, these OTC therapies often don’t work, in my experience. If that’s the case, you’ll probably discover that therapies given by or in collaboration with a knowledgeable medical professional provide superior outcomes.

Their knowledge is essential to ensure that the modifications you’re making are successfully addressing the underlying causes of your sleep apnea and aren’t having unexpectedly negative effects on your health.

How much treatment is appropriate?

By applying various at-home remedies and changing one’s lifestyle, sleep apnea symptoms may be lessened. However, using conventional therapy is still recommended. This condition is often treated with prescription medication and, in rare circumstances, surgery.

You should first examine your choices with your primary care physician before commencing any alternative treatment. If you discover that the intensity of your symptoms has increased, get immediate medical help.

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