Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects thousands across the world. The treatments for sleep apnea varies for each individual. Some cases of the disorder are mild and can be treated by simple change of lifestyles. Other cases may be severe enough that a physician needs to be sought for treatment. Sleep apnea in severe cases can be life threatening.
For miner cases of sleep apnea, one treatment that seems to bring relief is for the person to stop drinking alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can cause asleep apnea to worsen because it will further relax muscles in the throat which causes worsening of snoring and sleep apnea. The use of tobacco products should be stopped also. Smoking interferes with normal breathing patterns which will make sleep apnea worsen. The use of sedatives, even over the counter products may also worsen the symptoms.
If a person with sleep apnea is overweight, physicians recommend losing weight as a self-help treatment for this disorder. Losing extra weight will lessen the burden on the throat and lungs, enabling better breathing.
Changing sleep habits can also help in miner cases of sleep apnea. It is recommended that individuals sleep on their side. Breathing is easier and airways tend to perform better when the person sleeps on their side instead of on their back. There are special pillows that can be purchased that also help ease the symptoms of sleep apnea. Sleeping in an elevated position such as in a reclining chair is said to help, along with maintaining as regular a sleep pattern as possible.
Over the counter non-medicated breathing strips that are placed across the bridge of the nose often help lessen the symptoms of sleep apnea. These work by stretching across the nose and keeping the nasal passages more open.
If sleep apnea is moderate to severe, a specialist in sleep apnea should be sought. This type of physician can help the patient breathe easier by suggesting medical treatments that are the most current. The sleep apnea physician will normally send the patient to an overnight sleep center to monitor their breathing habits while they are asleep. By doing this they can diagnose the problem and determine to what extent it has reached.
Severe cases of sleep apnea may require the person to use a machine called a CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure. Using a CPAP machine requires the patient to sleep with a mask on that is connected to pressurized air by way of a small machine. By using a CPAP machine the patient will not suffer from a collapsed airway which causes breathing to stop or be delayed. The first CPAP machines were quite uncomfortable for the wearer, but technology has allowed the machines to become more compact and more comfortable.
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