True cures for sleep apnea continue to befuddle researchers, but the efforts for treating it continues. Sleep apnea is a truly scary because with this disorder a person literally stops breathing for short periods of time each night, sometimes up to a minute at a time. This happens over and again and can lead to serious health problems as well as depression and mental fatigue. True cures for sleep apnea are still in the future, but until a cure is found a sufferer needs to consider what surgical and non-surgical treatments are available. People can make positive changes in their lives and possibly realize that cures for sleep apnea can come from a few lifestyle changes and does not have to control them!
Types of sleep apnea
The first step in attempting cures for sleep apnea is determining which of the three types of apnea a person has – central, obstructive or mixed. In central sleep apnea (CSA), the brain is failing to provide the proper signal to the body to remind it to breathe. This delay causes repeated bouts of apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type and is caused by a blockage of some kind. It can be due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids or soft tissue problems in the back of the throat. Mixed sleep apnea (MSA) is a combination of the two other types of apnea. Finding cures for sleep apnea means learning to recognize and diagnosis the proper type a person has.
Non-surgical cures for sleep apnea
Treating sleep apnea should begin with some basic lifestyle changes. Any of the following things can lead to sleep apnea and for many sufferers the best solutions can be found in one of these basic lifestyle changes.
- Lose weight – overweight people are more likely to suffer sleep apnea. A bit of weight loss can often stop sleep apnea totally.
- Sleep on your side –for many it is sleeping on the back that triggers apnea. One of the simplest sleep apnea solutions is to use a body pillow and sleep on the side.
- No tobacco or alcohol –both of these things can relax muscles and promote apnea. Tobacco can also cause a reduced lung function which also hurts an apnea sufferer.
- Elevate the head –sometimes treating sleep apnea is just as simple at keeping the head raised
- Nasal strips –these common drugstore items can open passages and allow more air into the lungs providing a more restful sleep
- CPAP Machine –this Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine provides a high pressure inflow that prevent the airway from collapsing. Worn over the face, it resembles a common oxygen mask.
Surgical cures for sleep apnea
Some cures for sleep apnea go beyond the reach of non-surgical options (especially some severe types of OSA). At this point, surgery may be necessary. Generally, certain common obstructions like tonsils and adenoids may be removed to increase the size of the airway passage. There may be reconstruction of some soft tissue or even the jaw in severe cases. This is obviously only done as a last resort and once all the non-surgical cures are attempted.
While cures for sleep apnea may still be possible in the future, treatments are necessary to keep it in check. If left untreated sleep apnea can lead to cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure, impotence, headaches, weight gain and even problems with memory. In addition to these physical issues are general performance issues that sleepless nights cause like the inability to function at work or the increased risk when driving a motor vehicle. It is very important that the type and treatment options available to a sleep apnea sufferer are discovered and a plan implemented as quickly as possible.
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