Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder categorized as a serious condition as the breathing momentarily stops and then restarts when in sleep. This sleep disorder leads to tiredness during the daytime if snoring is left untreated. It can also lead to heart problems. Sleep apnea may look like snoring, but it is different from it. It causes louder snoring, there is a pause of over 10 seconds in breathing, or they gasp for breath or choke. There are three types of sleep apnea:
Sleep apnea may be a serious condition, but treatment like sleep therapy can prevent complications.
The symptoms of all three types of sleep apnea overlap, and it becomes difficult to determine the type you have. The most common symptoms are:
The above symptoms are due to decreased oxygen levels and poor sleep.
Snoring is loud, accompanied by gasping or snoring that leads to wakefulness.
Note that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, and usually those who have this sleep disorder will not be aware of it, but a roommate or a bed partner finds the issue. For those who stay alone, daytime sleepiness is a likely symptom.
To treat any of the above types of sleep apnea, it is essential to conduct sleep therapy to determine the type of treatment and equipment that is suitable. The common equipment to use based on the severity and type are:
Compared to the ASV and BIPAP machines, the CPAP machine is initially prescribed as sleep therapy equipment as it is less expensive. Apart from the above, there are oral appliances that are designed to relieve mild cases of sleep apnea and also to snore. You can find the one that works best for you. Though these devices can prevent or reduce the effects of sleep apnea, the efficacy of oral appliances needs more research.
The treatment for sleep apnea depends on the severity. It can be any or some of the below:
You might need surgery if you have an overbite, enlarged tonsils, or a deviated nasal septum. The common surgeries for sleep apnea are:
Other treatment choices for sleep apnea
The doctor will first find out if there are other reasons for the symptoms before sleep apnea is confirmed. If other causes are ruled out, then the doctor will conduct a detailed check on your medical history and look for symptoms based on the given information. A family history of sleep apnea or other sleep disorders is found. A physical examination is performed to look for conditions that increase the risk of sleep apnea. Heart, lungs, and neurological systems are checked to see any common issues related to sleep apnea.
The sleep specialist will conduct sleep studies to identify events related to sleep apnea, determine blood oxygen levels, and watch the brain and heart activity at rest.
The doctor will diagnose it as mild, moderate, or severe based on the sleep test results. The treatment options are then discussed and provided.
The warning signs of sleep apnea are:
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