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Sleep Apnea Treatments

Ananta F. Benvenuto Saturday, July 24, 2010 ,
Sleep apnea can be a risky and pressing health concern especially if it becomes worse as the days go by and remains untreated. People affected by this form of sleep disorder however should not worry too much because there are different types of treatments that are readily available. The sufferer only needs to go to the doctor and he can advise them on the condition or suggest a specialist who deals with such health problems. It is important to note that there are two major goals for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. The first goal is restoring regular breathing especially during the sleeping hours. The second is to relieve the basic symptoms associated with the disorder like daytime sleepiness and loud snoring whilst sleeping.
Sleep apnea sufferers should take comfort in the fact that there are available treatments for the condition that can also significantly help treat other medical problems that are directly linked to the sleeping disorder, such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart ailments.
Treatments for the disorder can involve the following: mouthpieces, breathing devices, lifestyle changes, and surgery. Unfortunately there are still no regulatory approved medicines that are specifically for sleep apnea treatment. The best first step to finding the most suitable and most effective treatment option that is available for you, is to visit a sleep specialist or your doctor.
Mouthpieces
Mouthpieces used to treat the condition are often called oral appliances and are generally used to treat mild cases of sleep apnea. People, whether or not they have the disorder that snore very loudly are usually recommended these. These custom-made mouthpieces are made by orthodontists and dentists to treat the condition, and would help to adjust the lower jaw as well as the tongue and by so doing the airway would be kept open during sleep. The downside of this appliance is that the patient may not be spared any discomfort or pain caused by the device and that periodic visits to the doctor would be necessary.
Breathing Devices
There are specific breathing devices available for the treatment of this condition. The use of a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP machine) could be called for in severe cases in adults. This is a special machine that uses a mask that fits over the nose and mouth and then gently blows air into the throat, and by so doing causes the air to press against the wall of the airway thus keeping it open. By careful adjustment, this gentle air pressure would prevent narrowing of the airway and blockage problems can be eliminated. This device is ideally setup and installed by a qualified technician.
Lifestyle Changes
To effectively treat sleep apnea you would most likely be asked to make several lifestyle changes effecting habit and daily activities. Generally people suffering from this condition are obese or overweight, so a weight loss programme should be adopted to loose those extra pounds. In an effort to keep the throat open for breathing whilst sleeping, sufferers should be encouraged to sleep on their sides rather than on their backs. To help achieve this there are devices commonly called sleep balls that are attached to the back of sleeping garments, so that when the person rolls over onto their backs they are uncomfortable and the person then rolls over onto their side to avoid the discomfort. Another lifestyle change would be to stop smoking as this can worsen the condition, and avoid excess intake of alcohol. Another change that can be made is the use of nasal sprays and allergy medicines in the correct dosage, to help keep the nasal passages wide open.
Surgery
The least liked by sleep apnea sufferers for the treatment of the disorder and quite understandably, is surgery. To further widen a person's breathing passages surgery can be undertaken. Such an operation usually involves shrinking, stiffening, and removing excess tissue located in the throat or mouth as well as in some cases resetting the lower jaw. Sometimes a minor operation to remove tonsils is all that is called for and this is often the case in young children.

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