Obstructive sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder where the muscles within the throat relax too much when a person is asleep, blocking their airway and interrupting breathing. Ceasing to breathe while sleeping can be very serious, so if you have any of the signs of symptoms of sleep apnea, it is important to see a doctor. A doctor who specializes in sleep apnea will have you do a sleep study to determine if you do have sleep apnea. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, your doctor will determine which course of treatment is the best option for you. Some of the common forms of obstructive sleep apnea treatment include:
A large percentage of people who are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea are also overweight or obese. It is believed that carrying extra weight may put extra stress on the airways, which can lead to blockages while sleeping. If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and also happen to be overweight or obese, your doctor may suggest losing weight. In addition to possibly improving the symptoms of your sleep apnea, losing weight can also help improve or prevent other serious health conditions that are associated with obesity.
Many people who have severe obstructive sleep apnea symptoms tend to sleep on their backs. When in this position, it is much easier for the relaxed muscled in the throat to block the airways and interrupt breathing. In some cases, simply changing your sleeping position may help. You may see a lot of improvement by sleeping on your side instead of your back. If you have always been a back sleeper, changing positions can be tough. It can be helpful to invest in a body pillow to help keep you in a side sleeping position while you are asleep.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machine
If your doctor discovers that you have severe symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea that is causing frequent breathing cessation, you may need to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine every night while you sleep. When you use a CPAP machine, you will wear a mask while sleeping and the machine will supply a continual flow of pressurized air. With the air flowing into your nose and throat, the positive pressure will prevent the muscles in your airway from collapsing. In most cases, health insurance companies will cover the cost of a CPAP machine.