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Effective Ways of Dealing with Sleep Apnea

  • Published: 2011-06-05 (Revised/Updated 2012-09-21) : Joel Mark.
  • Synopsis: Sufferers of sleep apnea have several options available for treatment they can handle themselves

Main Document

Sleep apnea causes the sufferer to pause in breathing during sleep or take very shallow breaths.

Have you been told that you "stop breathing" in your sleep by a family member, significant other, or your physician? If so then you've likely found yourself subject to sleep apnea, a disorder that affects the breathing of an individual during sleep.

Sleep apnea causes the sufferer to pause in breathing during sleep or take very shallow breaths. The pauses in breathing can last anywhere from moments to full minutes and are caused by different factors depending on the type of sleep apnea.

CSA (central) sleep apnea, OSA (obstructive) sleep apnea, and also a mix between the two conditions are all common forms of sleep apnea.

Most sleep apnea requires a sleep study in order to properly diagnose the condition and sub-condition of the disorder. This can be done in a sleep lab or at home. Home studies are often more effective in both diagnosis and treatment as the environment can be judged and adjusted accordingly.

CSA (central) sleep apnea involves a chemical imbalance in the brain that creates a disruption in the respiration signal sent to the body. The patient will stop breathing for one or more cycles without the body remembering to breathe. This can become quite dangerous as the oxygen levels drop and carbon dioxide levels increase in the blood.

OSA (obstructive) sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea and involves the collapse of the airway due to several possible factors. Upper respiratory infections, obesity, smoking, allergies, and many other factors can cause OSA sleep apnea. This condition occurs when the airway either collapses or swells, thus becoming obstructed.

Mixed sleep apnea involves factors from both main conditions, creating a complex problem for sufferers as both medical and environmental concerns must be addressed accordingly.

Sleep apnea does have several simple and easy treatments that are able to be self-administered by sufferers. Adjusting sleeping positions, eating and drinking habits, and sleeping time or length are often all first steps in the treatment of this condition. The most simple of steps are in the hands of the patient as most often they do occur at home.

Sufferers of sleep apnea have several options available for treatment they can handle themselves.

Several environmental and behavioral factors can cause or aggravate sleep apnea including:

  • Improper sleeping position which can cause airways to collapse
  • Alcohol consumption which causes a relaxation of the muscles
  • Sleeping medication which also causes muscles to relax
  • Poor sleep habits which lead to health concerns
  • Pet and other environmental concerns which can create congestion and worsen sleeping disorders

By adjusting just a few simple things such as what is consumed before bed, sufferers are able to improve their sleep and in turn their overall health as well. This will lead to less fatigue throughout the day which is a common sign of a sleep disorder. The long-term symptoms of sleep apnea can become quite dangerous for sufferers, making driving, working, and even cooking a dangerous task due to the fatigue that accompanies the condition over time.

It is possible to use many simple methods to aid in combating sleep apnea, but it is also strongly advised that sufferers consult a physician as well regarding their condition in case more serious underlying problems need to be treated in advance.

Related Information:

  1. At Home Sleep Apnea Testing
  2. Study Explains Connection Between Sleep Apnea Stroke and Death
  3. Sleep Apnea in Children and Teens Linked to to Lower Grades

Information from our Sleep Apnea: Types, Symptoms and Treatment Information section - (Full List).

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