Luckily for us, treatments for sleep apnea are well documented, successful and there many different options to try. While there are no bullet proof treatments for sleep apnea, there are plenty that people can do to combat the condition and eventually resume a normal, full life.
- Quit Smoking & Lower Alcohol Consumption
The very first treatments for sleep apnea would be to quit smoking and decrease your alcohol consumption, especially if you consume more that you should. More than you should is generally more than two drinks per day.
Yes, taking these steps of treatments for sleep apnea is easier said than done, but consider this: a recent study shows that people with apnea can lose up to 20 percent of their brain tissue in certain regions. This is a serious condition that affects every system of the body, drastically lowers quality of life, can even lead to complete nervous breakdowns. It can also lead to serious life threatening illnesses like stroke, heart attack, and cardiovascular disease.
- Sleeping On Your Side, Not On Your Back
Sleeping on one’s side is also one of the critical treatments for sleep apnea. This sleep position prevents closing of the throat, as sleeping on one’s back is known to encourage closure and apnea.
Some people may even chose to sleep with their upper bodies tilted upwards on a 30 degree angle to prevent throat closure at night; this has been reported as very successful in some cases.
- Losing Excess Weight
People who are obese and out of shape lose muscle tone, just like the elderly. Loss of muscle tone in the muscles surrounding our airways is what eventually leads to Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Therefore, one of the important treatments for sleep apnea is for folks to keep their weights down and keep their muscle mass up, especially in the areas of the neck and shoulders.
- Learn Practical Exercises for Strengthening Your Airway Muscles – Alternative Treatments
Strengthening airway muscles is on of the treatments for sleep apnea. There are exercises that people with mild to moderate sleep apnea can do to strengthen the airway muscles, it’s also been reported that playing a wind instrument is helpful in opening and strengthening these muscles.
- Getting and Using a CPAP – For Moderate To Severe Cases
For those with moderate to severe OSA, a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) device is often prescribed to use each night as one of the treatments for sleep apnea, this air pressure keep the airways constantly open.
These devices work wonderfully but the issue of using the device consistently frequently comes into play with many people not complying. An alternative to the CPAP is what’s called OAT (Oral Appliance Therapy). While this is common in Europe and Canada, it is a relatively new therapy in the U.S. With this therapy, people are more likely to use their device and they can also easily take it with them when they travel, which accounts for greater compliance with the treatment.
Another treatment for CSA and mixed condition apnea is Acetazolamide, that usually comes with a prescription. It lowers blood PH which in turn encourages greater respiration.
Sleep apnea truly has become a silent epidemic (and is very likely a much larger problem than we know), the best advice for us all is to seek professional medical attention immediately if we suspect that an apnea is possible, consult the risk factors included here and use your best judgment.
- Final Option – Surgery
In extreme cases or in cases where of the treatments for sleep apnea have worked successfully, surgery should definitely be considered. There has been great success with a number of different techniques which can both open up and strengthen the airways and musculature.
All of these treatments for sleep apnea should be explored and discussed if diagnosed. The proper treatment ensures good health, avoidance of serious health risks, and a full life.