Sleep apnea affects millions of people worldwide. This health issue can be bothersome as it causes a person to wake up several times during the night and can lead to snoring or pauses in breathing.
The mild form can be easily treated through changes in lifestyle and sleeping habits. Medical experts say reducing weight, avoiding alcohol, smoking and sleeping pills are some of the ways to lessen the occurrence of sleep apnea. Additionally, changing one’s sleeping positions can help improve breathing. Sleeping on the back is not recommended.
For patients with suffering from chronic sleep apnea, a common treatment is the CPAP or the continuous positive airway pressure. This method makes use of a mask worn over the nose and/or mouth while sleeping. The mask is connected to a machine that provides continuous air flow to the nose.
Other treatments for this sleeping problem are the use of breathing devices, dental devices that help maintain an open airway and surgery in worse cases. Breathing tools include the bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP) and adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV). The two basic oral tools are the mandibular repositioning and tongue retaining devices. Surgical procedures can be on the nasal area, the throat and palate and the face.
Those who are not comfortable using the mask and are looking for alternative treatments can try Provent. A new and popular method, Provent is a patch placed over the nostrils. It has two small plugs that work by creating air pressure to help open up the airways at night. It is more convenient to use but also commands a high price.
This patch treatment was approved by the FDA in 2008 and the manufacturer has shipped one million in the past year. An earlier study covering 250 people with sleep apnea found that those who used the Provent device for a year showed much improvement compared to those who used a different method. The findings of the study were published in the medical journal Sleep.
Apnea causes the throat muscles to collapse during sleep and this condition prevents normal air flow prompting a person to gasp or fight for air. Snoring and choking may also occur. Common symptoms are a dry mouth, sore throat or a headache in the morning upon waking up and a tired feeling. Also, if you find your spouse moving to a different room on certain nights which can become frequent, chances are he or she finds your snoring a problem.
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About the guest author:
Jessie is a freelance writer who used to have chronic sleep apnea. His condition has improved thanks to the new treatments available.