Sleep apnea is a common disorder that can have detrimental physiological and emotional effects, dramatically affecting quality of life. It occurs when the muscles that support the soft tissues of the throat, such as the tongue and soft palate, temporarily relax, causing the airways to narrow or close almost completely. There are different types of sleep apnea, but
obstructive sleep apnea(OSA) is the type that people experience most often. It can increase the risk of having a recurrent heart attack, stroke, and abnormal heartbeats, such as atrial fibrillation.Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes and medications that can help with sleep apnea.
Losing weight, stopping smoking and becoming more physically active through exercise can help. Keeping your nostrils open by treating allergies with nasal steroids may also be beneficial. Quitting smoking and limiting caffeine consumption have also been found to reduce symptoms of sleep apnea in some cases.If any of the above-mentioned anatomical factors contribute to sleep apnea, the symptoms are unlikely to go away on their own. However, these treatments or non-medical approaches can usually improve or resolve obstructive sleep apnea.
Your brain senses your inability to breathe and wakes you briefly from sleep so you can reopen your respiratory tract. Ultimately, that can reduce or even eliminate the effects of sleep apnea in your life while using these treatments.For example, if you usually sleep on your back, your tongue may fall down your throat and block your respiratory tract. To prevent this from happening, you can use devices that push air through a hose that connects to a special mask that is placed on your face while you sleep. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that should not be taken lightly.
If you think you may have it, it is important to talk to your doctor about treatment options. With lifestyle changes and medications, you can reduce or even eliminate the effects of sleep apnea in your life.