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Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is more common than many people realize. Sleep apnea is a disorder in which the breathing of an individual stops and restarts every time they fall asleep. Some common symptoms of sleep apnea are loud snoring, daytime sleeping, and restlessness when asleep. Sleep apnea is caused by various things, some of them being blocked airways, and problems with the brain. After the involuntary pause in breathing, one either snorts, wakes up or takes in a deep breath. Treatment for sleep apnea should be sought as fast as possible because failure to treat the condition leads to illnesses such as depression and various heart diseases. Sleep apnea can be life-threatening in people who operate heavy machinery and motorists.

You may be suffering from sleep apnea and not now that you do. If your reaction to the involuntary pause in breathing is snorting or taking in a deep breath as you sleep, then you may not know that you are suffering from the condition, and the symptoms can only be identified by your sleep partner. Erectile dysfunction, waking up with a dry mouth, morning headaches, heartburns, and difficulty concentrating are the common symptoms of sleep apnea. You have a higher risk of suffering from this condition if you have a large neck circumference. Some common causes of airway obstruction as one sleeps include faulty brain function, physical obstructions such as excessive fats, and muscular changes among others.

There are various treatment options for sleep apnea. The treatment chosen depends highly on the cause of your apnea. Before your doctor recommends a treatment option, he or she will most likely recommend some changes in your life to try and normalize your breathing. If you drink and smoke, your doctor may advise you to limit your alcohol intake and smoking, or ask you to try side sleeping, because sleeping on your back causes abnormal breathing. If making the lifestyle changes does not work, a doctor will recommend other treatment options, some of which we will be looking at in this article.

A mandibular repositioning device may be used to try and normalize your breathing. A mandibular repositioning device will only be recommended if your sleep apnea is not too serious. A mandibular repositioning device prevents snoring by repositioning the jaw, so the upper airways remain open eve as one sleeps. Doctors recommend that one gets their device custom-made to fit their needs because different people’s jaws have different measurements.

Your doctor may also recommend continuous positive airway pressure therapy, commonly known as CPAP. In CPAP therapy, a mask is used to pass air through the airway gently, and this prevents it from blocking. You can adjust your CPAP machine as you wish to make it easier to use. To relieve nasal symptoms, moisture is added to the air in the mask before it is passed to the airway. Surgery is another viable treatment option.

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