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Sleep Apnea is defined as a sleeping disorder which occurs when a person experiences pauses in his or her breathing during sleep. Each pause in breathing is known as an 'apnea' and lasts long enough so that subsequent breaths are skipped. For a person to have sleep apnea, these absences in breathing will occur regularly throughout a night's sleep. This article focuses on why it is important that people with this disorder seek treatment and the different types of treatment available for sleep apnea.

Why should you seek treatment for your Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea can be a troublesome disorder that can affect the quality of your life, even if you don't realise it. Due to the lack of sufficient breathing during sleep, people with Sleep Apnea tend to experience daytime sleepiness and fatigue as a result of the disease. In addition, a recent study by the American Heart Association has found that people with Sleep Apnea are more likely to suffer from heart disease later in life. Finding a treatment for Sleep Apnea is also important because many people who have the disorder tend to keep their partners up late at night through heavy breathing and snoring.

What treatments are available?

There are a wide range of treatments available for Sleep Apnea, some are more successful than others. The most common form of treatment is having the person with the disorder sleep with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device, which keeps the patient's airway open during sleep by means of a flow of pressurized air into the throat. The downside to this device is that most patients find the facial mask uncomfortable to wear night after night.

A second option for Sleep Apnea is surgery, in which the airway will be surgically altered to allow the patient to breathe easier during sleep. Before surgery, several aspects of breathing obstruction may be addressed, including the nasal passage, throat, the base of tongue, and the facial skeleton. However, surgical treatment can be a highly expensive procedure, especially for those people who do not have adequate health insurance cover.

Lastly, and one of the more recent treatment options to make headlines in recent decades for Sleep Apnea (as well as asthma and snoring) is the Buteyko Method which focuses on practicing daily breathing exercises (including nasal breathing) that attempt to stop 'over breathing' during your waking hours. The belief is that by rectifying these issues, you will also begin to breathe properly during your sleep as well. Its downside is that it takes a strict commitment to daily breathing exercises.