Sleep Apnea Therapy
Identifying sleep apnea can be difficult, as the most tell-tale symptoms like snoring and multiple episodes of breathing cessation occur during sleep. For many sleep apnea sufferers, it is their sleeping partner who first alerts them to the symptoms, as some can cause disruption during sleep. However sleep apnea is identified, treatment should be sought soon afterward. As far as sleep apnea therapy goes, there are a few different options available.
70% of those suffering from sleep apnea are overweight or obese. Though not necessarily a sleep apnea therapy, doctors often recommend patients develop a diet and exercise plan to jump start weight loss. In certain cases, doctors may even prescribe a weight loss drug to start patients in the right direction. Few formal medical studies related to weight loss and sleep apnea have been conducted, but significant improvements are frequently seen in patients with sleep apnea after shedding pounds.
Changing sleeping position can occasionally improve mild cases of sleep apnea. Sleeping on your back can cause the back of the tongue to naturally collapse and obstruct the airway. Try flipping to your side or your stomach to see if there is any improvement. If you are having trouble switching position, try putting a tennis ball in a sock and then pinning it to the back of your shirt. If you experience snoring or sleep apnea symptoms only when lying on your back, it may be worth giving positional sleep apnea therapy a try.
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)
This sleep apnea therapy involves wearing a breathing mask over the nose during sleep. The mask is held onto the face by adjustable straps, and pressurized air is sent through a vacuum and into your airway to keep it open. Doctors will prescribe patients the appropriate amount of air pressure and may suggest altering the intensity of the air upon further check-ins.
These devices resemble mouthguards football players wear and are specifically designed and fitted to treat an individual suffering from sleep apnea. Depending on the type your sleep apnea specialist issues, a dental device will either ease the tongue or the lower jaw forward, allowing for easier breathing at night. Patients with mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea have the best chance of improvement using a dental device.