Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by brief pauses in a patient’s breathing pattern while asleep. In some severe cases, the patient would wake up in the middle of their sleep due to inability to breathe. This is caused due to the partial or complete blockage of the airway by the airway.
What are the types of sleep apnea?
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea:It is caused due to the collapse of the throat's tissues onto the airway, thus obstructing the smooth flow of air while inhaling and exhaling.
- Central Sleep Apnea:This type of sleep apnea originates due to a minor brain malfunction, which doesn't signal the lungs to inhale on time. Due to this, the patient would be woken up due to a lack of oxygen.
- Mixed Sleep Apnea:It is a fusion of both OSA and CSA.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
- Inability to explore the deeper stages of sleep.
- The tendency to fall asleep during the daytime.
- Fatigue and tiredness.
- Lack of tolerance.
- Frequent headaches, mostly in the morning right after waking up.
- Poor sleep score.
- Waking up feeling traumatized due to a complete inability to breathe.
How is sleep apnea treated?
The simplest way to treat sleep apnea is by keeping the airway open while asleep. This can be done using a few oral appliances and bringing a few changes to one's routine lifestyle.
- Mandibular Advancement Device:MAD is a customized oral appliance used to keep the airway from collapsing. It will be placed in position by the dentist. The appliance brings the lower jaw forward (to expand the opening to the airway) and keeps the muscles of the roof of the throat from collapsing when you sleep.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure:CPAP is quite an advanced device that helps you maintain a positive pressure in the airway, thereby keeping the tissues from collapsing. It also provides the body with a continuous supply of breathable air, thus keeping the oxygen supply to the lungs running. The device consists of a pressurized cylinder of oxygen that would provide air through a comfortably fitting mask placed on the mouth and nose.
In addition to these, patients can make a few changes to their lifestyle to get relief from sleep apnea. Some of them are reducing weight, following a healthy diet, exercising or meditating regularly, avoiding or reducing alcohol consumption, quitting smoking and the use of tobacco, etc.
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