Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on your health and quality of life. It is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep, which can lead to daytime fatigue, poor concentration, and other health problems. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments available to help manage the symptoms of sleep apnea. The most common and reliable treatment is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, but some people find it cumbersome or uncomfortable.
Other treatments include polysomnography (sleep study), oral appliances, and lifestyle changes. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has established guidelines for the treatment of sleep apnea.
CPAPtherapy is considered the treatment of choice for all forms of sleep apnea. The machine works by supplying air to the upper respiratory tract through a mask, which prevents tissues from collapsing and causing blockages.
CPAP masks and headwear come in many styles and sizes to comfortably treat sleep apnea. If you find CPAP therapy uncomfortable or difficult to use, your doctor may recommend a polysomnogram (sleep study). This test monitors heart, lung and brain activity, breathing patterns, arm and leg movements, and blood oxygen levels while you sleep. Portable monitoring devices can also be used to detect cases of sleep apnea.
In addition to CPAP therapy, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes such as weight loss, avoiding alcohol before bedtime, quitting smoking, and avoiding sleeping on your back. Oral appliances are also an option for some people with mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea. These devices are designed to open the throat by bringing the jaw forward, sometimes relieving snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea. When deciding on an appropriate treatment strategy for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), it is important to involve the patient in the decision-making process.
Stanford Sleep Group believes that the patient should be included when deciding on an appropriate treatment strategy. With practice, most people learn to adjust the tension of the CPAP mask straps for a comfortable and secure fit. If you are diagnosed with OSA, staff may wake you up and give you CPAP during the second half of the night.If you think you may have sleep apnea, it is important to talk to your doctor about your symptoms and concerns. When you schedule your appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as changing your diet or keeping a sleep diary.
A recent Johns Hopkins study looked at what happens to metabolism during the night when patients with