What to do for sleep apnea? One of the most well known sleep disorders, sleep apnea is a fairly common condition. Marked by interruptions in breathing during sleep, sleep apnea causes the person suffering from this condition to wake up, or partially wake, several times during the night. Because of the frequency of these interruptions in breathing, a person with sleep apnea will have trouble getting a restful night’s sleep, causing them to feel the effects of sleep deprivation during their waking hours. So the question is what to do for sleep apnea. The first thing is to understand about this sleep problem.
Sleep apnea is where someone involuntarily stops breathing when sleeping. The type of apnea may be either central or obstructive. Central apnea which is less common is where the brain forgets to tell the body to breath. Obstructive apnea occurs when the muscles or soft tissues found in the throat prevent the easy movement of air through the airways. Signs of obstructive sleep apnea will include severe snoring, holding the breath, fatigue and morning headaches. Sleep apnea is sometimes difficult to diagnose, simply because it only strikes while the person is asleep and won’t notice that it is happening. Because most people with sleep apnea awake only partially so they do not actually notice that they have had their sleep cycle interrupted. Thus, if someone wants to determine if they have sleep apnea, they will have to look for the symptoms.
The answers of what to do for sleep apnea?
The solutions for sleep apnea include weight loss, avoidance of sleep depressants (e.g. alcohol, sleeping pills, etc), a CPAP machine (a mask used at night to help keep the airway open), dental repositioning devices and as a last resort, corrective surgery. The most common symptom of sleep apnea is excessive sleepiness upon waking. Because the sleep cycle is being interrupted, the person is not refreshed during the night and will wake up feeling lethargic, fatigued, or even feel like they need to go back to bed for another round of sleep. Also, people with sleep apnea almost always snore; often very loudly. However, a person does not necessarily have to show these symptoms to have sleep apnea. In fact, a bed partner may be the only person to notice the interruptions in breathing during the night. Additionally, people with sleep apnea are often overweight to obese, so treatment usually involves helping people to lose weight.
Treatment can also include eliminating alcohol or other substances that help people relax, quitting smoking, using special pillows or other appliances that help keep the airways open or even special apparatus that uses air pressure to keep the airways open. This last form of treatment, continuous pressure airway pressure (CPAP), uses a breathing mask to pressurize the airways and inflate them, almost like a balloon. Though this form of treatment is more than a little disconcerting at first, they quickly get used to the mask and find that they feel much more alert in the morning. The new laser assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) is a laser surgical procedure designed to sequentially trim and shorten the palate and to prevent or reduce any snoring. The effect of this procedure on sleep apnea is unproven. In general, surgery for sleep apnea is only around 50% successful.
You need to have a detailed conversation with your surgeon regarding your specific problem. Surgery is usually only suggested after any other medical therapy has failed. If your principal concern is snoring, then either the laser procedure or the new Somnoplasty carries about an 85% success rate for resolution of the snoring. Please note that the above is only a guideline. Talk to your physician about your possible solutions and things for you what to do for sleep apnea.