Ways to Fix Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a medical condition that disrupts breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea is responsible for a variety of frustrating symptoms including snoring, daytime fatigue, deteriorating memory and insomnia. Sleep apnea can leave those who suffer from it desperate to find a solution for a better night’s sleep. What are some ways to fix sleep apnea?
The scope of sleep apnea treatment will depend on individual severity, as well as the root cause of sleep apnea. Some people respond to simple lifestyle changes, while others will need more intensive treatment with surgery or the aid of a medical device. Here are a few treatment options:
For about half of those with sleep apnea, pauses in breathing at night and extra weight go hand in hand. Losing weight, even just a small amount, can help open the airway and nasal passages at night to allow for more normal airflow.
Quitting smoking and avoiding alcohol, especially near bedtime, can also have a positive impact on sleep apnea. Smoking causes the airways to swell and the inflammation blocks normal airflow while breathing. Alcohol has another effect; it relaxes the muscles through the nasal cavities and throat. This also causes a physical blockage of the airways.
Another simple fix is to change sleeping positions. Many people with sleep apnea sleep on their back and their relaxed throat muscles are no match for gravity. Sleeping on your side can help maintain clearance through the airway, meaning less snoring or difficulty breathing.
If lifestyle changes aren’t enough, medical devices can be more effective for moderate sleep apnea. There are several different machines designed to assist with nighttime breathing.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines are usually what comes to mind when thinking about sleep apnea machines. The user wears a mask over their nose and mouth at night and the CPAP machine provides airflow at a slightly higher air pressure than outside the mask to open the airway, allowing for uninterrupted breathing.
Other machines to treat sleep apnea include Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) and Automatic Positive Airway Pressure (APAP). Both of these machines are capable of adjusting the pressure of airflow based on the user’s breathing, but they aren’t right for people with certain medical conditions.
If sleep apnea isn’t responsive to lifestyle changes or the use of medical devices like a CPAP machine, surgery may be a final option for some. Although surgery won’t fix every case of sleep apnea, correcting physical abnormalities (such as removing tissue in the throat, realigning the jaw bone or straightening a deviated septum) can help.
If you have questions about what sleep apnea treatment is right for you, reach out to our medical team at Biltmore ENT. Call (602) 956-1250 or click “Appointment Request” on our website, BiltmoreENT.com to schedule an appointment. A better night’s sleep is possible!