What Cures Sleep Apnea?
Most people have a tendency to joke about snoring with their friends, which can unfortunately lead to feelings of hurt and embarrassment for certain people. We will aim to cover this topic in a later posting, but for now let’s just focus on the fact that snoring can be a serious health problem and can highlight and even cause adverse long term health effects if not kept in check. Snoring may in some cases later develop to become sleep apnea especially in certain chronic situations.
Snoring occurs when there are vibrations caused by the fall back of throat tissues as you sleep. This disorder can cause serious damage to your general health and overall feeling of wellbeing. This is because, when you are asleep, your body still has some of its systems running and requires a constant supply of oxygen to keep your body at maximum efficiency.
Excessive snoring causes a reduction in the supply of oxygen in your body. Your brain will also suffer from the low oxygen levels which in turn affects the functioning of the entire body. That is why, once you start having regular snoring episodes especially at a chronic level, your brain will always try and wake you up so that you can adjust to a position where you can breathe better and improve it oxygen flow.
This article aims to give snorers and people with sleep apnea useful information that may help them discover what cures sleep apnea or at least what can improve their circumstance and reduce the chances of associated risks that can stem from snoring and sleep apnea.
When you are a regular snorer, you are likely to feel exhausted in the morning due to lack of enough sleep. Also, you are likely to suffer from other related diseases for example;
- Heart disease
- Mental health issues
- Potential Impaired Foetal growth and associated issues in late pregnancy.
These related concerns highlight why it is important to find a solution to any snoring problem before it develops into something larger. In chronic situations, snoring leads to Sleep Apnea.
Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea
There are two major types of sleep Apnea;
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA); this type of SA arises when the soft part of your throat collapses when you are asleep. The OSA is more common compared to the CSA form.
- Central Sleep Apnea (CSA); here, the brain is unable to connect with the muscles that result in breathing hence causing instability in your breathing system.
Sleep Apnea is however diagnosed by a certified physician. There are two alternatives to your testing. You can either use a lab sleep study or home sleep Apnea test. Both of which will achieve the same or indeed similar results if carried out correctly the process of testing is rather non-intrusive and the latest machines are implemented in the test procedure.
You are observed overnight and your body will be hooked up to sensors that read your sleep patterns. The sensors are connected to your brain, heart and monitor any movement. Once the doctor or sleep practitioner has confirmed you have sleep Apnea, he will give you some advice on the various options at your disposal to help you deal with your disorder.
Who is at high risk of suffering from Sleep Apnea?
There are a few factors that are known to lead to sleep related issues. Here are some of the reasons why you might be at a high risk of suffering from sleep Apnea;
- Men generally have a higher risk of suffering from sleep Apnea compared to women.
- If you are overweight, then there is a higher probability of suffering from excessive snoring
- If your neck size is large, that is 16 inches and above for women or 17 inches and above for men.
- If you suffer from GERD
- If you have a deviated septum
- If you suffer from any allergies
- If you have sinus-related problems
- If you have a family history of excessive snoring
- If you are over 40 years of age
Some of the above listed factors are avoidable whereas some may be a little harder to deal with. However, depending on the advice offered to you by your doctor or related specialist, you can control the effects of the Sleep Apnea and in turn other sleep related diseases.
Alternatives that will help you cure Sleep Apnea
Over the years, scientists have understood the causes of sleep Apnea and we now have a variety of options. Therefore, if you are looking for a way to cure sleep Apnea, the following list may be of some value to you.
You can cure sleep Apnea through the following ways;
- CPAP therapy
- Use of alternative breathing devices
- Dental devices
- Self-help treatments for instance losing weight, adapting sleep routines, giving up smoking.
- Surgical means
- Positional therapy
All of the above treatments have been proven to work however it is worth noting that as with anything in life certain devices or treatments may have more effective results with certain people and vice versa. It may be a case of testing and tweaking what works best. The main thing is never give up if something doesn’t work the first or even subsequent time you will find a solution if you keep looking!
1. CPAP Therapy
A CPAP machine is a common way to deal with sleep Apnea and is a very effective method in many cases. The machine itself has a mask that fits over your mouth and nose and helps you breathe while you are asleep with the aid of a special motorised pump system. The pressure from the machine is kept constant hence preventing your soft palate from collapsing and ensuring you will have a steady supply of clean air throughout the night.
However, there is a downside to this type of machine. Some of the models have been known to cause irritation when you sleep and can even dry out your throat which as you can imagine is most uncomfortable for some users. Statistics show that over a third of users give up on using their cpap machine after a few months due to certain issues mainly around comfort and noise. Some of these types of machines can make a lot of noise especially the cheaper models and this can prevent you from achieving that sound sleep you so fondly desire. It’s an unfortunate catch twenty-two situation where you are treating one element i.e. sleep apnea and the secondary noise of the machine actually leads to sleep disruption problems also.
All in all, if you have had a previous experience with this type of machine in the past and you decided to give it up, it is worth giving it a second chance. Why? Well for a start these machines have come on leaps and bounds in recent years in terms of improved functionality and comfort. It may be a case where you chose a certain model in the past and it was too loud to use the good news is there are ultra-quiet versions now available with improved comfort levels. It is worth noting that these machines are quite effective you just need to find the right one. You can check out our list of some of the best brands accompanied with their unique features here
The result of using one of these cpap machines is you will experience an incredible boost in your energy and general mental health from improved oxygen flow and more solid sleep attainment. If you do decide to try a cpap machine here are some tips when using this type of machine;
- When you buy this machine, you should always make sure it fits perfectly. You should also check in with your doctor or sleep specialist to make sure the treatment is having a positive impact on you.
- It is usually hard to start using this machine initially. Therefore it is advisable to ease yourself into it. Start using it for short periods first instead of going all out and using it for the entire night on your first day. You can also use the settings to increase the pressure in the machine gradually which will also increase your comfort level.
- You can also customize the mask and the straps so that they can fit perfectly on your face.
- There are some of the CPAP machines that come with a humidifier built into the system which can be an awesome addition for you, especially if you live in dry climates where moisture content in the air is low. If you have previous experience with this type of machine, then you will know that dry throats is always a big issue in the morning. The built-in humidifier will help a lot in preventing this annoyance.
- Always keep the machine as clean as possible. It can be easy to get infections from the air you breathe in if it is not filtered correctly or contains dirt and contaminants.
- Try using saline nasal sprays in case you have any conditions of nasal congestion.
If you have found from past experience a cpap machine was’nt really a great fit for you, there are other alternatives you can try. One such being alternative breathing devices.
2. Using Alternative Breathing Devices
Other than CPAP machines, there are other breathing devices that can help you with your snoring problem.
EPAP; this device fits in your nostrils and is generally aimed at assisting the opening of your breathing pathway through the nostrils. This device is much smaller compared to CPAP machines. The EPAP machines are mostly used by people with moderate or mild cases of sleep Apnea.
BPAP; if you are not able to adapt to using a CPAP machine, then this is the best alternative for you. The BPAP machine is used by individuals suffering from CSA. The technology in this machine helps adjust the pressure in the airways while you are sleeping. That is, the machine will provide maximum pressure when you breathe in and less pressure whenever you breathe out.
ASV; this devices can be used to treat both types of Sleep Apnea. This machine first registers your breathing pattern when you are asleep, then helps prevent any pauses in your breathing throughout your sleep routine.
3. Dental Devices
Dental devices are devices that fit into your mouth resembling an athlete’s mouth guard although others may fit at the back of your head or below your chin. Most of these devices are made to correct any error in your respiratory tract and improve air flow.
These type of sleep apnea dental devices focus on two methods, you can either adjust the position of your tongue or reposition your mandibular structure i.e. your jaw alignment. Some of these devices include;
- Anti-snoring mouthpieces
- Anti-snoring chin straps
There are also other snoring devices which include;
- Anti-snoring pillows
- Sprays, pills and drops
- Nasal strips
Some of these devices also work in combinations. Like for example, you can use the mouthpiece with the snoring drops. That way, you are sure of maximum efficiency from the two working in tandem to give more effective results.
However, there is also a downside to some of these devices. For instance, there are brands of mouthpiece that can be quite uncomfortable especially if you’ve just started using them. These are usually found to be the “one size fits all variety” which it worth noting may be ok when buying a soft woolly hat for yourself, but when you are dealing with something like an anti-snoring mouth device you are much better getting a custom fit mouthpiece for comfort and functionality. There are also other side effects like saliva build-up, soreness and damage to the positioning of your mouth permanently by not ensuring you select the right one. Make sure to check with a qualified specialist if you are unsure about anything in regards to certain items or if you want them to confirm a device is fitting and working correctly for you. Therefore, you will need a few guidelines to get the best out of these devices so check out our site and learn a little bit more on which device is right for you!
Remember if you are planning on purchasing any of these devices, make sure to check on their features, the benefits each device gives and customer reviews. The Snorefocus site aims to select and choose the best items and give relevant information to save you the trouble of sorting through the many choices that are available some fantastic products and some not worth mentioning. We filter out poor products which saves you the trouble and cost both financially (save you from buying inferior products) and in terms of time spent finding the best option for your needs. We base our recommendations on the tried and tested principles of positive reviews, value, comfort, cost and effectiveness to name but a few.
This is one of the latest technological breakthroughs in the world of snoring and sleep apnea treatment. It usually involves the insertion of a pacemaker type device which will help push and stimulate your throat muscles to keep the air way open all the time even when you are asleep.
Most people haven’t heard about this procedure, though its FDA approved and has been scientifically proven to help patients suffering from CSA. However, like with all new therapies and treatments when first entering the market you may have to dig deeper into your pockets to get this procedure done. Although with time and as the treatment and associated costs reduce it may become a cost effective treatment in the medium term.
5. Self-Help Treatments
Here are some of the natural ways in which you can help yourself reduce the chances of snoring. First and foremost, if you are overweight, start working on a dietary plan and do some regular exercise ideally on a daily basis (were not talking long distance marathons here or endurance bike rides) just a simple thirty minute walk daily can be the difference in developing positive habits for you in other areas. Reducing excess weight is the simplest and most natural way to deal with snoring and Sleep Apnea and has such positive benefits in other areas like socially if you join a club and mentally if you exercise your mind and body feel better. One of the main things holding people back who are overweight can be self-esteem issues what other people will think etc.
Remember and this is key It is not where you are now that’s important its where you are going to be in the future! In order to overcome self-esteem issues you must learn more about self-development! Things get better when you get better! Set an ideal weight target that you want to reach and a date by which to achieve it and make choices every day that will bring you closer and closer in a healthy way to that target weight!
If you get the chance to reduce the extra weight, you will also manage to reduce the size of your neck and hence reduce any snoring in your system. Secondly, make your sleep pattern. A routine. Be cautious of the time you go to bed and the time you wake up. If you maintain a good sleep pattern, you will be able to get rid or reduce sleep related issues permanently.
Thirdly, if you are a smoker, you will have to quit. Not just because of snoring, but because smoking is bad for your general health and overall wellbeing. Your risk of suffering from cancer and other respiratory complications are much much higher. One book to consider reading that may help you stop smoking is a book by Allen Carr – Easy way to stop smoking. Try your local library if you don’t want to buy it. All it will cost you is a little bit of your time to read. It may help you it appears to have helped quite a number of people to quit smoking so you have nothing to lose.
Another thing to remember is to avoid heavy meals before bedtime and caffeine which will essentially give you an energy boost at the wrong time. More importantly, avoid alcohol, sedatives and sleeping pills. Though they might help you relax before you get to bed, they also relax your respiratory muscles and hence result in excessive snoring. Of course consult with your doctor first if you have underlying medical conditions.
Another thing you can do is to elevate your head before you go to sleep. That way, you will have a steady flow of air into your lungs without any obstructions. There are Specially Designed Anti-Snore Pillows to help with this to enable you to get the most appropriate angle.
6. Surgical Solutions
As we all know, surgery can be a risky procedure and once you lay on the surgical bed, the outcome is not written in stone. That is why, you need to try all of the above procedures before you decide on any surgical solutions to cure your Sleep Apnea.
If the above remedies don’t work, leave it a few days, then try them again. If the second time is not successful, then you can consult your doctor or specialist on the way forward for you.
Surgical solutions to snoring is a multi-step procedure which involves more than one step. First of all there are different types of surgery;
- UPPP; this procedure involves the removal of the soft palate and repositioning it hence making your air way wider. The surgeon trims down your uvula and soft palate. Therefore, this procedure is irreversible.
- RFVTR; this procedure uses cauterization under control to tighten and shrink the tissues that surround your throat muscles.
- Turbinate and Septoplasty reduction; here, your deviated septum is set in-line hence making a clear airway.
- Tracheostomy; this involves placing a tube into your wind pipe and can be plugged during the day hence giving you a chance to speak and breathe normally through your nose or mouth. It is only used in very rare occasions and emergency situations.
- Genioglossus advancement; this procedure involves pushing your neck outwards hence avoiding any fall back that might cause excessive snoring. The surgeon will make cuts at the lower jaw where your tongue is attached to.
And finally the position of your sleep can have a big impact in terms of you risk of snoring.
7. Positional Therapy
This is a therapy session that helps you practice your positioning when you are asleep. Most people usually have sleep Apnea when they sleep on their back. Through this therapy, you are able to sleep on your side even when in deep sleep. That way, you can maintain a steady flow of air in your lungs.
So in conclusion some things you can implement yourself starting right now reducing weight if you are over the recommended weight for your height BMI. Stop smoking if you are a smoker, don’t eat meals late at night, and eliminate alcohol and caffeine before bed and being aware of sleep position in bed.
If you find controlling or eliminating some or all of these a hassle then it’s about finding a suitable device that improves or indeed solves you condition. Choose from the list mentioned above and select what’s best in terms of budget and the severity of your condition. If unsure ask your specialist about the various options outlined and what might be the best solution for your needs.
If you found this information useful please share it with others. If you have any questions or comments please visit our blog or the Snorfocus Forum where you can comment and find solutions and give advice to other people on topics around sleep and snoring!