Why and How Can You Treat Sleep Apnea?

Mar 01, 2021

Obstructive sleep apnea is a severe sleep-related disorder characterized by repeated episodes of partial or entire upper airway blockage resulting in arousals from sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common problem affecting nearly 20 percent of Americans report sleep medicine specialists.

If you leave sleep apnea untreated, the condition can adversely impact cardiac and metabolic health, your quality of life, resulting in daytime sleepiness, insomnia, problems concentrating, and depression and anxiety. Obstructive sleep apnea affects people of all ages, including children. Physicians and patients have become aware of sleep apnea and its adverse effects, but over 80 percent of affected patients are undiagnosed.

Getting Diagnosed for Sleep Apnea?

When performing a diagnosis for sleep apnea, your doctor evaluates the signs and symptoms, conducting exams and tests before providing a referral to a sleep medicine specialist for an additional evaluation.

A physical examination is also conducted by your doctor examining the back of your throat, mouth, and nose. The doctor also checks your blood pressure and measures your neck besides waist circumference.

Additional evaluations are conducted by the sleep medicine specialist when diagnosing your condition to determine its severity and plan your treatment.

Testing for Sleep Apnea

When testing for obstructive sleep apnea, the sleep medicine specialist recommends the polysomnography test in a sleep clinic. You must endure an uncomfortable night at the clinic after being hooked up to instruments to monitor your heart, brain, and lung activity besides oxygen levels and breathing patterns.

Advances in the diagnosis of sleep apnea now make available home sleep apnea testing similar to the polysomnography test. However, the home sleep apnea test requires you to wear a device on your wrist when sleeping and is not uncomfortable like instruments in the sleep clinic. The home test measures airflow, breathing patterns, and blood oxygen levels, and snoring intensity.

You may also receive a referral to an ENT specialist to rule out any anatomic blockages in your throat and nose.

After confirming that you are affected by obstructive sleep apnea, the sleep medicine specialist refers you back to your doctor for treatment.

What Kind of Treatment Options Are Available for Sleep Apnea?

In some cases, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes if you are affected by mild obstructive sleep apnea. The changes suggested are the following:

  • You are recommended to lose weight if you are obese.
  • Regular exercise is also recommended for you by the medical professional.
  • You are advised not to sleep on your back but your sides for relief from sleep apnea.
  • Recommendations to consume alcohol moderately and to quit smoking are also suggested by your medical professional.

If lifestyle changes don’t improve your sleep pattern, the medical professional recommend other treatments to open up the blocked airway.

If you are consulting your doctor, the medical professional recommends the CPAP device, considered the gold standard for treating sleep apnea. Unfortunately, the device is uncomfortable and makes it challenging for you to adhere to its requirements. You must wear a mask on your face when you sleep to reduce the sleep disruptions because the device delivers air pressure through a piece fitting over your nose and mouth when sleeping.

If you think you cannot adhere to the requirements of the CPAP device, an alternative is also available from the dentist in Anchorage, AK. Dentists are pioneers of oral Appliances to treat sleep apnea. The said devices are an excellent alternative for many people with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

Contacting Alaska dental arts for the oral device will provide you relief from the problem affecting you. The machines reduce your daytime sleepiness and improve your quality of life.

Oral Appliances pioneered by dentists aim to keep your throat open by pushing your lower jaw in a forward position. Some Appliances hold your tongue in a different place. If you want to explore this option, you must contact the dentist in Anchorage experienced in dental sleep medicine Appliances. The dentist customizes your oral device specifically for your mouth to ensure your experience no discomfort when placing it in your mouth.

Treating sleep apnea may seem challenging or even prompt you to ignore the condition. However, instead of exposing yourselves to various risks associated with sleep apnea, you must seek treatment for this sleep-related disorder from dentists providing an appropriate remedy for your condition.