Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that is more common than you think. It affects millions of people and is often undiagnosed, until later when the disorder becomes more serious and life threatening.
Sleep apnea is a condition where the patient stops breathing repeatedly while sleeping and when this happens, the body and most importantly the brain, are not getting enough oxygen. This could lead to heart failure, diabetes, stroke, headaches and even depression due to lack of proper sleep. Not all are aware of sleep apnea particularly who are at risk because of the disorder, the symptoms and treatment methods.
Who Are At Risk?
There are individuals who are at risk with sleep apnea. The disorder affects overweight males, over the age of 40 men with a large neck that is 17 inches or more, women with a large neck that is 16 inches or more, those with sinus problems, allergies, deviated septum or any other nasal blockage. People with large tongues, large tonsils or a small jaw bone are also at risk. Those who have a family history of being affected by the disorder are more likely to also have sleep apnea.
What Are The Symptoms Of Someone Suffering From Sleep Apnea?
Noticing the symptoms of sleep apnea is more important than you thinksince this is the first step to figuring out if someone is suffering from the disorder. Some of the symptoms of sleep apnea include headaches in the morning due to interrupted and inadequate sleep, loud snoring, sleepiness while doing daily activities, forgetfulness, lacking the interest to do any activity, mood swings, waking up with a dry and or sore throat, insomnia, and waking up choking or gasping.
What Are The Treatment Methods To Cure The Disorder?
For those suffering from mild sleep apnea, a simple lifestyle change is at times sufficient. These changes include quitting smoking and losing weight. For those with nasal problems due to allergies, a visit to the doctor to cure the allergies might be enough to cure sleep apnea. For moderate to severe sleep apnea, treatment includes the use of devices or surgery. One of the most common devices is the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure).
This device keeps the airway passage open to prevent snoring and sleep apnea. Although not all are a fan of the device since it is uncomfortable. Oral appliances that keep the throat open are another device designed to help with sleep apnea. With this, you need to visit your dentist to check which brand and type of oral appliance would work for you. Surgery is the final resort when all other methods fail. Surgeries include tissue removal (uvulopalatopharyngoplasty), tissue shrinkage, jaw repositioning, tracheostomy, implants and nerve stimulation.
There are also those who resort to undergoing weight loss surgery especially if the cause of sleep apnea is being overweight. Doctors also recommend avoiding alcohol and sedatives since they contribute to throat muscles relaxing, blocking the air passageway. Sleeping sideways or on your stomach is also recommended since it could prevent your tongue from rolling back to your throat.