What Are The Treatment Methods For Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder; if untreated, it can cause severe health problems, including heart conditions and high blood pressure. The condition repeatedly stops you from breathing while sleeping, causing loud snoring and making you tired even with a full night of sleep. Although sleep apnea can affect anyone, it is prevalent in older, overweight men. 

This article discusses sleep apnea and everything you need to know about it.

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What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that disrupts a person’s sleep because of breathing difficulties. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause a person to stop repeatedly breathing during their sleep.  Also, it can cause a host of health problems, including hypertension, cardiomyopathy, stroke, heart attacks, heart failure, and diabetes. Also, sleep disruption causes tiredness during the day, leading to job impairment, vehicle crashes, work-related accidents, and underachievement at work or in school. 

Types Of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea are of two types including;

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive sleep apnea is more common due to the partial or complete blockage of the upper airway during sleep. During your sleep, apnea interferes with episodes, reducing the flow of oxygen to vital organs, and causing irregularities in the heart's rhythm. When you experience apnea, the diaphragm and chest muscles will work harder because of the increased pressure necessary to open the airway. Usually, your breathing will resume with a body jerk or loud gasp. 

Central Sleep Apnea

Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked in central apnea. However, due to instability in the respiratory control center, the muscles do not breathe because there is no signal from the brain. 

Symptoms Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Because OSA causes a decrease in the oxygen supply to the brain and other body parts, your sleep quality will be bad. Therefore daytime drowsiness and lack of clarity in the mornings are symptoms of OSA.

People who sleep close to those who have OSA report snorting, choking, gasping, sleep interruptions, and loud snoring. Other symptoms of OSA include morning headaches, forgetfulness, grumpiness, hyperactivity in children, and repetitive awakening during the night.

Causes and Risk Factors

Endocrine conditions, nasal congestion, chronic lung diseases, and neuromuscular conditions can cause sleep apnea. Also, pregnancy, obesity, and heart or kidney failure can cause sleep apnea.

Because sleep apnea bocks your airways, physical features narrowing your upper airway increases your risk of obstructive sleep apnea. These risk factors include large tonsils, obesity, large tongue, family history, and smoking. Furthermore, men and women with collar sizes more than 17 inches and 16 inches respectively are at risk of developing OSA. Also, a narrow palate that collapses east or where the lower jaw is shorter than the upper jaw increases OSA risk.

Treatment For Sleep Apnea

The treatment methods for sleep apnea address the underlying health problem, helping normalize your breathing while you sleep. Because there are several treatment methods, the suitable treatment for you will be based on the severity of your symptoms and the cause.

A critical treatment method includes making lifestyle modifications to normalize your breathing. Some of these modifications include following a heart-healthy diet, limiting alcohol consumption, and managing your weight. You should also develop healthy sleeping habits, quit smoking, and sleep on your side.

Another treatment option is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. This treatment method provides a constant stream of positive pressure air through a mask to keep the airway open. Although the equipment can be uncomfortable for some people, adjusting the mask and its settings can help improve comfort.

Other treatment methods include surgery and medications. The surgical procedure aims at widening the airways and shrinking obstructive tissue. Medications, on the other hand, help you achieve unhindered sleep. A sleep specialist may recommend medications including triazolam, acetazolamide, and zolpidem.

Mandibular repositioning device (MRD) is another treatment option that uses a custom made alliance to hold the jaw forward during sleep; this expands the space behind the tongue, keeping the upper airway open and preventing apnea. It is important to note that the device has side effects, including tooth pain and potential aggravation of the temporomandibular joint disease.


Sleep apnea can obstruct your sleep, making you lose focus and be less productive during the day. Several treatment options are available to best suit your needs if you have sleep apnea.