mild sleep apnea treatment

Mild Sleep Apnea Treatment

The ins and outs of mild sleep apnea treatment can be somewhat contentious. Suffering from sleep apnea can make you tired throughout the day which can disrupt your daily activities. There have been different treatment for sleep apnea.

At its heart, a spirited debate over the efficacy, or otherwise, of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, defines conflicting opinions regarding care. In one camp, those dubious of CPAP’s merits question its benefit to patients suffering from mild sleep apnea. On the other hand, advocates of CPAP take the opposing view and insist that the benefits are clear. Siding with the proponents of CPAP, the Canadian Lung Association maintains that CPAP remains the treatment of choice for mild sleep apnea.

CPAP Therapy

mild sleep apnea treatmentEssentially, CPAP therapy works by keeping a patient’s airways open while they are asleep. To achieve this goal, a patient wears a specially designed mask or nose piece which is connected via a hose to a machine. The machine regulates the system’s internal air pressure to ensure it exceeds that of the surrounding air. This air pressure differential safeguards against airway closure and therefore is sufficient to prevent episodes of sleep apnea. To deliver optimal results patients should wear the device every night.

However, it’s important to note, that even among proponents of the treatment option, CPAP is typically only prescribed if a number of other treatment options have failed.

Other Treatment Options

The majority of CPAP alternatives can best be described as do-it-yourself options.

Oral Appliances

Broadly speaking, such appliances can be likened to orthodontic devices. As such, relative to CPAP, they have the advantage of being much less cumbersome and invasive. Appliances of this ilk minimize airway collapse by moving a patient’s jaw.

Positional Therapy

From time to time, back sleeping can lead to sleep apnea. This occurs in instances where throat and neck tissues drop to obstruct a patient’s airway. To combat this problem, positional therapy encourages a patient to remain on their sides while sleeping. Where necessary, a restrictive apparatus may be used to prevent a patient from back sleeping.

Nasal Decongestants

Again, not a treatment for everyone. Rather, the use of nasal decongestants is principally recommended for patients whose sleep apnea is caused by allergic rhinitis.

Avoid Tobacco

A recent study identified smoking as an important risk factor for sleep apnea. In turn, somewhat logically, it’s recommended that sleep apnea patients should try to avoid tobacco products.

Weight Loss    

Obesity is accepted as a prominent risk factor for sleep apnea. In relevant cases, therefore, weight loss can serve as an effective form of mild sleep apnea treatment. Indeed, by removing excess tissue, which may otherwise obstruct airways, weight loss measures, including regular exercise, can help prevent the condition.

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