Sleep Apnea Treatments

Sleep apnea is a dangerous and progressive sleep disorder (it gets worse as you age). Not only does sleep apnea result in sleep deprivation, but it also can threaten your life. The easiest way to determine whether you have sleep apnea is to ask your spouse or sleeping partner to record your sleep habits. A sleep diary and a tape recorder are useful recording devices. Because your partner is awake anyway, keeping a record of awakenings can be a constructive way to move toward solution of the problem.
The following are the most effective home remedies you can try.

1- Behavioral treatments for Sleep Apnea

It is an important part of the treatment for sleep apnea, especially in cases where a doctor has identified a specific cause of the obstructed airway.

Lose weight: One of the most significant remedies for sleep apnea is weight loss. Overweight individuals who lose even 10% of their weight can reduce sleep apnea during the night and dramatically improve the quality of their sleep

Eliminate the use of alcohol, tobacco, and sedatives such as sleeping pills: Avoiding the use of alcohol, tobacco, and sleeping pills can reduce the likelihood of airway closure during the night.

Sleep on your side: People who experience sleep apnea only when they sleep on their backs can benefit from special pillows or folk remedies that encourage side-sleeping, such as the tennis ball trick.

Regularize your sleep hours: Irregular sleep hours can throw off your sleep cycles and lead to breathing problems during the most important sleep stages. Stabilizing bedtime hours across the week and eliminating disturbances to your sleep can reduce sleep apnea.

2- Physical or mechanical treatments for Sleep Apnea

Physical devices or mechanical therapies are effective for many cases of sleep apnea. These solutions fall into the following categories:

  • Oxygen administration
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
  • Surgery
  • Dental appliances or jaw adjustment devices

In many cases of Central Sleep Apnea, which is caused by heart failure, oxygen administration can allow the patient to sleep safely through the night. Oxygen administration, while ensuring the person gets enough oxygen, does not improve the quality of sleep. The person will still experience waking episodes and daytime sleepiness.

3- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) for Sleep Apnea

CPAP is a machine that blows air into your nose via a nose mask, keeping the airway open and unobstructed.For more severe apnea, there is a Bi-level (Bi-PAP) machine.The BI-level machine is different in that it blows air at two different pressures.When a person inhales, the pressure is higher and in exhaling, the pressure is lower.Your sleep doctor will "prescribe" your pressure and a home healthcare company will set it up and provide training in its use and maintenance.

4- Surgical treatments for Sleep Apnea

Usually a surgeon will ask the patient to be on CPAP for at least month to see if they get better. If CPAP cannot help then surgery is probably not the right thing to do. These treatments include, removing excess tissue to clear the airway, moving the tongue forward, and moving the upper and lower jaw forward. There and other procedures try to increase the size of the upper airway.
The surgical tools used in procedures to remedy sleep apnea include:

  • A scalpel
  • Laser
  • A microwaving probe

The most common surgical techniques for remedying sleep apnea are:

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), for severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea, removes soft tissues in the back of the throat and soft palate (uvula), and thus expands air passages. Sometimes the surgeon also removes the tonsils and other loose tissues. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty does not remove obstructions at the base of the tongue. The usual tool for removal is a scalpel. UPPP requires three to five separate treatments, each with general anesthesia and an overnight hospital stay. LAUP (below) is a similar, more modern procedure that removes tissues with a laser beam.
Thermal Ablation Palatoplasty (TAP) treats snoring and various types of Obstructive
Sleep Apnea the types of TAP include

I- Bipolar cautery

II- Laser-Assisted Uvula Palatoplasty (LAUP) vaporizes the uvula and a portion of the palate with a laser in the doctor's office under local anesthesia. LAUP effectively removes obstructions to the airway, which may be causing snoring or sleep apnea. Laser-Assisted Uvula Palatoplasty has a higher success rate than UPPP, but it requires a surgeon with expertise in laser procedures.

III-Radiofrequency ablation, or somnoplasty, shrinks excess tissue in the upper airway with a needle electrode. For snoring, the soft palate and uvula are reduced. For Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the base of the tongue is reduced. For chronic nasal obstruction, nasal turbinate are reduced. Somnoplasty does not require general anesthesia. Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomyare recommended for children with serious snoring problems. These procedures remove the tonsils and adenoids.
Genioglossusandhyod advancement prevents collapse of the lower throat tissues and pulls the tongue muscles forward to open the obstructed airway.

Dental Appliances

A wide range of dental appliances, oral devices, and lower jaw adjusters can also reduce sleep apnea episodes. Oral devices work by bringing the lower jaw forward during sleep. Most of the products fit inside the mouth, but some products are worn around the head and chin to adjust the position of the lower jaw.


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