man sleeping in bed with cpap machine onSleep Apnea Treatment: What Are Your Options?

Sleep apnea is a condition in which an individual stops breathing every few minutes during sleep, most commonly because the muscles at the back of the throat fail to keep the airway open. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to daytime fatigue, heart disease, hypertension, memory problems and mood disturbances. Fortunately, mild to moderate sleep apnea treatment devices are available for those who struggle with its effects.

Lifestyle Changes

For mild sleep apnea, changing your habits may resolve the condition. This could include losing weight if you are overweight or obese, discontinuing use of alcohol and/or sleeping medications, sleeping on your side or stomach instead of your back and quitting smoking if you smoke.

CPAP Treatment

The most common sleep apnea treatment is CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). This involves a mask that you wear while you sleep that delivers a flow of air to prevent the breathing passages from closing. Those who use a CPAP mask can restore their regular breathing pattern and achieve a restful night’s sleep.

Alternate Treatments

Some people seek sleep apnea treatment options without CPAP because they find the mask uncomfortable or ineffective. Some of the alternatives to consider include:

  • Dental devices that keep the airway open while you sleep
  • Surgery to correct an underlying problem that contributes to sleep apnea, such as an overbite, enlarged tonsils or a deviated septum
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), a procedure to remove soft tissue from the airway to keep it from closing

Seeking Help for Sleep Apnea

Many individuals who have sleep apnea don’t realize they are awakening in the night when breathing stops. If you have chronic snoring, depression, irritability and mood changes, trouble with learning and memory, sexual dysfunction and/or daytime sleepiness, these problems could be caused or exacerbated by sleep apnea.

Visit the Michigan Head and Neck Institute for diagnosis and mild to moderate sleep apnea treatment and other sleep-related issues. Call (586) 573-0438 today.