As many as 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, and many of them may not even know it. Because its main symptoms present themselves when you’re off in dreamland, you may not realize this health risk unless an observant family member takes notice. Sleep apnea sufferers experienced blocked or partially blocked breathing during sleep; these incidents can occur anywhere from five to 50+ times in an hour! If airways in the nose, throat, and mouth become blocked during sleep-induced relaxation, or you have particularly large tonsils or adenoids, you may suffer from sleep apnea. You’re also more likely to suffer from sleep apnea is you are overweight, drink alcohol before bed, use certain medications, or sleep on your back.
Although you might not think that this condition is a big deal, it can cause you to be overly tired and unfocused during waking hours. It can also have more serious consequences. Sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, abnormal cardiac rhythms, diabetes, depression, stroke, or even heart failure. To avoid these health risks, it’s important to seek out sleep apnea solutions for treatment. Often, these treatments are used together for the best results. By using these solutions, you’ll be able to get much higher quality sleep, be more productive during the day, and significantly reduce your health risks.
- CPAP machines
Those patients who have used CPAP machines often find them a challenge to get used to, but these machines can significantly improve your ability to breathe during sleep. It really is the most effective treatment option. CPAP machines continuously blow air down your throat in order to keep your airways clear and open while you’re asleep. The CPAP mask fits over your nose or both your nose and mouth and can reduce snoring and will eliminate interruptions in breathing patterns. You can even get used CPAP machines to cut costs.
- Lifestyle changes
Many people find success when they’ve used CPAP machines, but they oftentimes need to make changes to their lifestyle, too. Weight loss is typically recommended for sleep apnea sufferers, as is the limitation of alcohol and tobacco use. Some medications can also make sleep apnea symptoms worse — even sleep aid medications! You should also train yourself to sleep on your side.
- Other breathing devices
As an alternative to CPAP supplies, some people use mouthpieces that can help reposition the mouth and jaw to eliminate snoring. These devices may be much more comfortable than CPAP masks, which can help sleep apnea sufferers get a better night’s sleep. While not nearly as effective as CPAP machines, they may be effective for mild-to-moderate sleep apnea sufferers. However, they are not recommended for all patients. In general, these devices should be tried only when a patient has made necessary lifestyle changes but has not found success with a CPAP machine.
If you think you or someone you know is suffering from sleep apnea, get in touch with a sleep specialist or take a home sleep test for sleep apnea today.