Common symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, AM headaches, excessive daytime fatigue, and trouble focusing throughout the day. Many of these symptoms are livable, so sleep apnea sufferers frequently eschew treatment or even neglect to see a doctor. Sleep apnea medication can provide relief from these and many other symptoms, which can be detrimental to your health if left alone.
In an effort to avoid prescribing needless sleep apnea medication, doctors often try to first suggest lifestyle changes that might help lessen your sleep apnea symptoms. When applicable to the patient, these recommendations often include:
Losing excess weight
The majority of sleep apnea sufferers are overweight or obese. Many doctors feel carrying excess weight, especially in the neck area, induces sleep apnea.
Avoid alcohol and sedatives
These relax the throat, resulting in a blocked airway and snoring
Sleep on your side or stomach rather than your back. This seems like a simple change to make, but it may take some time or a special pillow to form a new habit as far as sleeping position goes.
Sleep Apnea Medication
When lifestyle changes do not provide significant relief from sleep apnea, some doctors may prescribe medications like:
Nasal sprays or allergy medications
These can help keep nasal passages open, making breathing easier and keeping snoring to a minimum.
Recently, several medical studies have tied sleep apnea to other more serious medical disorders like heart disease and diabetes. Oftentimes, treating the underlying condition causing the apnea can effectively lessen your symptoms.
CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure)
Commonly used to treat moderate to severe sleep apnea, this therapy involves a mask placed over the nose, through which pressurized air is pumped to keep the airway open and breathing easy.
Using a breathing device
A sleep apnea dentist can order a custom-fitted dental device. This resembles a mouth-guard worn during sports. Various types are available to suit different needs. These devices gently hold the jaw or the tongue forward, opening up the airway.
If sleep apnea medication falls short of producing significant positive effects, some patients may choose to undergo surgery. If you would like to discuss possible benefits of sleep apnea treatments, call our office and schedule a consultation with our doctor today.