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Treating and Managing Sleep Apnea
Health April 2, 2018

Treating and Managing Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious severe disorder in which a person experiences shallow breathing or pauses in breathing while sleeping. Such a disorder can occur several times at night.

It is categorized into two main types.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
This condition is caused when your throat muscles relax and the soft tissue at the back of your throat collapses, blocking the air passage. OSA is experienced more commonly compared to central sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea (CSA)
CSA occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. CSA causes the brain to stop sending these vital signals resulting in an improper or reduced breathing problem.

Complex sleep apnea syndrome
This syndrome is the result of a person simultaneously suffering from the symptoms of both CSA and OSA. Sleep disorders should not be ignored as they can contribute to developing health complications such as daytime fatigue, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and liver problems.

What causes sleep apnea?

  • Obesity is one of the leading risk factors for many health conditions. Being overweight puts pressure on your upper airway, resulting in obstructed and interrupted breathing patterns. A thicker neck will also result in the narrowing of the air passage
  • Sleep apnea is a condition that is more likely to affect men, especially those above 40
  • Alcohol consumption and smoking can also help relax the muscles and tissues, causing them to collapse in your throat and block the air passage
  • Certain types of nasal congestions can lead to obstructive sleep apnea
  • Side effects of certain narcotic pain medications
  • Medical conditions such as congestive heart failure can result in central sleep apnea
  • The risk of developing CSA is increased in people who have previously suffered a stroke

Sleep apnea is one of the conditions that can be easily treated and managed at home, provided the symptoms pertaining to OSA and CSA are not so severe. Self-care treatments and changes in lifestyle include

  • maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet to reduce as well as control your weight,
  • quitting smoking and limiting the consumption of alcohol, and
  • experimenting with sleeping positions and patterns to see if there is any improvement in the condition.

CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure)
One of the nonsurgical treatments for sleep apnea, CPAP is an apparatus that is used to normalize your breathing pattern with the help of a mask and the continuous flow of oxygen from a machine. It is one of the most common treatment options for treating and managing sleep apnea.

Surgical treatments for sleep apnea

Nasal surgery
One of the common surgical procedures performed to correct problems caused by a deviated septum.

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty
One of the reasons for airway blockage is the malfunctioning of the soft tissue located at the back of your throat. This surgical procedure completely removes the soft tissue flap.

Mandibular maxillary advancement surgery
It is a cosmetic procedure that is performed to correct facial problems and any throat obstructions that can lead to sleep apnea.