A recurrent sleep disorder that causes interruptions in breathing while a person is asleep is known as sleep apnea. A person suffering from this condition will experience repeated interruptions during sleep. These interruptions may occur quite a few times. It can result in the lack of oxygen supply to the brain and the body.
There are two kinds of sleep apnea.
Central Sleep Apnea
It is a condition when the brain does not send signals to the muscles to breathe. It happens due to an unstable respiratory condition.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a condition where the tissues at the back of the throat collapse resulting in blockage of the airway.
Who is prone to sleep apnea?
- Generally, men are more susceptible.
- Patients who are obese or overweight.
- Patients over the age of 40.
- Patients with a large neck size.
- Patients with large tonsils, a larger tongue or a small jaw bone.
- Patients who have a family history of the disorder.
- Patients with gastroesophageal reflux.
- An obstruction in the nose caused by a deviated septum, allergies, or sinus problems.
Health Problems caused by Sleep Apnea
Studies have proved that the following are the health problems caused by sleep apnea:
- Blood pressure increases.
- Stroke or paralysis.
- Heart problems.
- Increased ADHD.
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
Treatment for Sleep Apnea is done by studying the sleep patterns, eye movements, movement of the muscles, evaluating the heart rate, respiratory conditions and blood oxygen levels at a sleep center. A sleep lab study is done to diagnose the condition and also to determine the severity of the disease.
Read to understand more about how we can curb and treat sleep apnea.
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway device) is a method of treatment in cases where the patient is suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP is in the form of a mask that is fixed over the nose or mouth. This device works by leading oxygen slowly into the airway. It helps to ensure that the airway is open.
Hypoglossal nerve stimulation
Hypoglossal nerve stimulation is another form of treatment. The Hypoglossal nerve is situated in the tongue region of the mouth. A stimulator is placed on the patient’s chest that leads to the hypoglossal nerve. This helps in stimulating the hypoglossal nerve which in turn moves the tongue and ensures an open airway.
Oral Appliance Therapy Procedure
An orthodontic retainer is a device that mimics a mouth guard. It is used to keep the jaw in a forward position. This will help to keep the upper airway open. Over the years research has shown that oral appliance therapy is one of the most effective treatment methods for obstructive sleep apnea and snoring as well.
Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral Appliance Therapy has proven to be a great way to curb sleep apnea as it has the following features:
- It is quite comfortable.
- Easy to maintain.
- It is convenient while traveling.
- It is portable.
- It is easy to wear.
How to mitigate Sleep Apnea?
Although there are several ways to treat sleep apnea, there are ways how we can avoid it. It is always wise to be educated about how one can prevent the chances of sleep apnea. Here are a few tips that can help.
- Patients who are over-weight are advised to lose weight.
- Frequent interruptions during sleep can be avoided by stopping the intake of alcohol.
- A habit of smoking tobacco is known to make the upper airway swell which can increase chances of sleep apnea.
- Learning to sleeping on the sides rather than on the back shall also help mitigate apnea.