Sleep Apnea: What Is It And How To Treat It?

Sleep apnea affects quite a few people, although there are a great number that don't even know they have it. Sleep apnea is a disorder when your sleep is interrupted as you stop breathing throughout the night, not just once, but several times. When you stop breathing, you aren't getting any oxygen to your brain or body. If you're having problems sleeping, or you are awakened in the night feeling like you're choking, it's time to get to an ear, nose and throat specialist. Read on for more information on sleep apnea.

Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea

Some other symptoms of sleep apnea, aside from interrupted sleep and intermittent breathing, include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Headaches after waking
  • Dry, sore throat after waking
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Tiredness even after sleeping several hours
  • Choking or gasping for air

Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

Risk Factors For Sleep Apnea

You are at a greater risk for sleep apnea if you are:

  • Male
  • Overweight
  • Smoker
  • Have family history of sleep apnea

If you are/have any of these, you are at a greater risk; however, anyone can get sleep apnea.

If you have sleep apnea, you are at a risk for other disorders and diseases. You are more likely to have diabetes, at a risk for a stroke, and are more likely to have heart disease and be diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Treatments For Sleep Apnea

There are a few ways to treat sleep apnea. It's going to be up to your ENT how to treat your sleep apnea; once you are diagnosed, your doctor will let you know how to treat your particular case. Treatments include:

  1. CPAP Machine. A CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine helps to give you air throughout the night. The machine is a mask that you wear across your nose and mouth. There is a hose attached to the mask to allow the air to get into the face mask. The mask should be worn each time you sleep or take a nap.
  2. Thornton Adjustable Positioner. The Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP) is a mouth guard type device that allows the jaw to sit forward and opens up the airway. This will help keep the airway open to breathe at night or whenever sleeping. The TAP mouth guard is easier to use and sleep with than wearing a mask on the face to sleep at night.
  3. Surgery. Surgery may be required to repair nasal passages to allow you to breathe easier. You may also need surgery to help open airways in the throat. If you are extremely overweight, weight-loss surgery may also be suggested.

If you have any of the symptoms of sleep apnea, or your partner notices some of the symptoms while you sleep, see your doctor right away for a diagnosis and treatment options that are best for you. You can contact professionals like the Surgery Center of Kenai for more information.