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Sleep apnea is an abnormal sleep pattern that can seriously affect the body. The condition is characterized by snoring and interruptions in breathing that can lead to heart problems, strokes, and increased risk of car accidents. It can also lead to insulin resistance and a higher incidence of cancer. For this reason, it’s important to get the right diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.
Sleep apnea is caused by a complex set of factors. Certain medical conditions, such as heart failure, kidney failure, and stroke, can increase the risk of developing the disorder. Additionally, people with certain head and neck anatomy are more likely to develop sleep apnea compared to healthy individuals.
Obstructive sleep apnea is most common in men. It’s also more common in older adults. The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort study found that the prevalence of sleep apnea peaked between the ages of fifty and sixty. Overweight and obesity can also increase the risk of having sleep apnea. Other factors that can contribute to the condition include small necks, a receding jaw, long soft palate, and enlarged tonsils.
Tests For Sleep Apnea
If your doctor suspects you may have sleep apnea, you can attend a sleep clinic overnight to have your sleep patterns tested and assessed. You will be hooked up to various sensors that check your oxygen level, brain waves, etc., during sleep.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to treat sleep apnea. A person may need to lose weight or quit smoking in order to get the best night’s sleep. They may also need to take treatment for nasal allergies.
Another treatment option for sleep apnea is an implantable device that stimulates the muscles in the throat during sleep. This treatment is not completely effective and can have negative side effects. However, it may be worth considering if you are in pain or have another condition. There is no guarantee that a pacemaker will solve your apnea, but it might help you breathe better at night.
If you have severe sleep apnea, you may want to consider surgery. If your apnea has worsened over time, you may want to consult a doctor before going under the knife. Although apnea surgery will not cure your problem, it can help to eliminate your symptoms and prevent future complications. You should always consider the risks before undergoing surgery.
Obesity is a risk factor for sleep apnea, and it increases the risk of the disease in older people. Excess weight can obstruct the airway during sleep and cause snoring. More than half of people with OSA are obese. Just ten percent more weight can increase your risk of the condition by six times. However, this effect is reduced after the age of 60.
Patients suffering from sleep apnea can use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices to keep their airway open while sleeping. This therapy involves wearing a mask that’s connected to a small machine. CPAP machines use a hose to pump air into the airway while you sleep. This type of treatment is the front-line treatment for sleep apnea.
Upper airway stimulation is another treatment option for sleep apnea. It involves the use of a small implantable device, called an upper airway stimulation machine. It operates through a remote control. The doctor will also give you medication to help you sleep and watch your airway while you sleep to ensure that the device is working properly. It’s essential to get the right diagnosis so that you can get the right treatment.
Some sufferers from sleep apnea or snoring have found great relief through the use of a simple cervical collar or neck brace for snoring that can be purchased at many stores and that they wear at night when going to sleep. These collars keep your head and neck aligned in the correct position for good, steady breathing patterns during sleep. Many times, a person snores because their head has fallen back which allows the tongue to partially block their throat, or else their sleeping position means that the relaxation of the throat muscles that occurs during sleep allows vibration, which causes snoring or again, partially blocks the throat which makes breathing difficult and can cause sleep apnea. If you suffer from snoring or suspect sleep apnea, buying and wearing a cervical collar could be an economical solution to your problem and is worth trying as a practical, quick and easy way of trying to prevent snoring or reducing the incidence of sleep apnea. While neck braces are usually sold for neck support due to pain, they can also be used for neck support to prevent snoring or reduce sleep apnea episodes.
Note, this page does not offer medical advice. If you are concerned about your sleep, breathing or sleep apnea, please consult your medical adviser.