Sleep apnea comes with a host of potential complications. In addition to causing fatigue, you could have an increased risk of asthma, atrial fibrillation, heart disease, eye problems, and diabetes. Obviously, learning to live with sleep apnea helps to increase your quality of life and longevity.
There are a number of treatment options for sleep apnea. The one that works best for you will be determined by the severity of your sleep apnea and your lifestyle. Today, Dr. Avi Weisfogel discusses the most common ways people can learn to live with sleep apnea. Dr. Avi Weisfogel is a former dentist and the founder of International Academy of Sleep. This organization provides resources to doctors who treat sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.
Dr. Avi Weisfogel recommends some lifestyle changes for people with sleep apnea. People who are overweight and abuse alcohol or cigarettes are at a greater risk of sleep apnea. Thus, Dr. Weisfogel will often recommend losing weight, avoiding alcohol, and stopping smoking to patients who have sleep apnea.
There are also other easy, lifestyle changes that you could make to help manage your sleep apnea. The most common of these is to sleep on your side, instead of your back. Back sleeping restricts your airway and may cause your sleep apnea to get worse.
If lifestyle changes alone can’t manage your sleep apnea, doctors like Dr. Avi Weisfogel will recommend a medical intervention.
There are multiple options for treating sleep apnea. Most often, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy is prescribed. This is a type of breathing therapy where you place a mask over your nose and mouth before going to sleep. The machine regulates your breathing by continually blowing air through your airway. An implanted device called Inspire can also be used for people who cannot use CPAP machines
Another great option for patients is an oral appliance made by a trained dentist. Oral appliances are designed to keep the airway unobstructed during sleep. These can be recommended to you by dentists who are experts in sleep apnea.
The most extreme treatment option for sleep apnea is surgery. Doctors will use three different surgeries to treat sleep apnea depending on the patient: nasal, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), and mandibular maxillomandibular advancement. Nasal surgery is used to correct problems like a deviated septum that can cause sleep apnea. UPPP surgery increases the size of your airway, which makes it harder for it to be obstructed. And, mandibular maxillomandibular advancement surgery corrects face and throat problems to remove any obstructions.
Finally, some procedures can be used that reduce and stiffen the tissue of the soft palate. These are not as invasive as surgery and don’t require as long a recovery period.
Consult with a Specialist
If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, there are many different treatment options. Dr. Avi Weisfogel recommends that you discuss all of your options with your healthcare provider before deciding on a treatment that will work for you. Specialists in sleep apnea can recommend custom treatments for each individual case. Thus, people with this condition should always consult an expert to help them live with their sleep apnea.