What is sleep apnea and how is it diagnosed?
When the airway at the back of the throat is regularly blocked, either partially or entirely, during sleep, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs. Snoring, obesity, observed apneas, and daytime sleepiness are all signs of sleep apnea. Overnight sleep analysis and a clinical examination by your doctor are the best ways to be certain of an OSA diagnosis.
What you should do about OSA treatments
- Since the causes of sleep apnea differ, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment.
- Speaking with your doctor is the best way to determine which medication is most suitable.
- Anyone who is overweight should consider losing weight.
- In certain situations, reducing alcohol intake, avoiding sleeping on your back, and using nasal sprays will help.
- When sleep apnea is mild, medication isn’t always necessary, and a variety of options can be considered.
- The use of CPAP is commonly prescribed when sleep apnea is mild to extreme.
- In mild to moderate sleep apnea, oral appliances are most effective.
- Where there is a clear obstruction to the nose and/or throat, surgery may be considered.
What are the treatment options?
Once you’ve been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea OSA, speak to your doctor about whether you need care and what choices you have. Since the underlying causes can differ from person to person, the circumstances often vary. In general, one or more of the following choices are available:
- Weight loss – Losing weight is recommended for someone who is overweight. Although this does not always cure OSA, it typically improves snoring and OSA symptoms and can aid in the effectiveness of other therapies. It is also beneficial to one’s overall wellbeing.
- Reduce the alcohol intake – Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles, which worsens snoring and OSA. Some people’s OSA is made worse by drinking alcohol. If this is the case, consuming less or no alcohol can be beneficial.
- Sleeping position – While lying on your back, snoring and OSA are normally worse. This is due to the tongue’s gravitational influence. Sleeping in this role will worsen OSA. It has the ability to fully control the issue in certain people. It has the ability to fully control the issue in certain people. This is best accomplished by wearing a brace that makes sleeping on your back uncomfortable. It can be as easy as sleeping with a tennis ball sewn into a pocket on the back of your pyjamas.
- Managing a blocked nose – When your nose is blocked, you breathe through your mouth, which can trigger snoring and OSA. A blocked nose can be caused by a variety of factors, including asthma, sinus disease, and a deviated septum. Depending on the issue, your doctor will diagnose and treat you. It’s possible that nasal sprays would be used to alleviate congestion.
- CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is widely regarded as the most common treatment for OSA. It entails sleeping with a special machine connected to a nose or face mask through tubing. The system works by gently raising air pressure in your mouth, which keeps it open and prevents snoring and OSA.
- Oral Appliances – Oral Appliances are custom-made dental plates that are worn at night. They move your lower jaw forward, allowing your throat to open up and reduce the risk of vibrating (snoring) or obstructing your airway. Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS), Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD), and Mandibular Repositioning Appliances are some of the names for the appliances (MRA).
- Surgery – In cases of OSA caused by a distinct blockage of some part of the nose or throat, surgery may be beneficial. Depending on where the issue is located in your nose and/or mouth, there are a variety of operations available. An ENT surgeon’s expert opinion should be needed when deciding if surgery is right for you. In each situation, the costs and benefits must be weighed. Adults often turn to surgery as a last resort after exhausting all other options. Once the nasal blockage is repaired, nasal surgery can be beneficial in aiding CPAP care by allowing nasal masks to be worn.