Sleep apnea is common in adults and rare among children. It is a kind of sleep disorder that is characterized by reduction of breathing. Apnea is a period of time which breathing markedly stops. Studies show that apnea occurs when there is 4% drop of oxygen in the blood, a direct result of the decrease in the transfer of oxygen in the blood when breathing stops.
Doctors may want you to change your lifestyle such as losing weight or quitting smoking when your apnea is mild but if it’s moderate to severe, a number of methods are available. Below are treatments that you can take note:
- Therapies or non-surgical treatment:
- Oral appliances – wearing an oral appliance which is designed to keep your mouth open. Some devices are designed to open your throat wherein your jaw is brought forward; and it’s also easy to use.
- Expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) – it’s the most recent treatment approved by Food and Drug Administration. It’s a small single-use tool that is placed over each nostril before bed time. The device is a valve that lets air move in freely.
- Adjustable airway pressure device – while you’re sleeping, this device will automatically adjust the pressure. It will deliver more pressure when you inhale and less when you exhale.
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) – it’s a machine that deliversair pressure through the use of mask over your nose while you’re asleep. CPAP is the most reliable and common way of treating sleep apnea but some patients find it uncomfortable.
- Surgery is the last option after some treatments are found unsuccessful. Below are the different ways of surgery treatments that can be considered:
- Jaw repositioning – in this process, your jaw is move forward and the procedure is called maxillomandibular advancement.
- Tissue removal – the doctor will remove tissues from the top of your throat and from the rear of your mouth. This procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic in the hospital.
- Implants – this procedure might be an option for those with milder sleep apnea, and the device being implanted is a plastic rod into the soft palate while you are under local anaesthetic.
- Tracheostomy or creating a new air passage way – this procedure is the last option when all other treatments fail, and you have life-threatening, severe sleep apnea. Your surgeon will make an opening in your neck and insert an apparatus which is metal or plastic tube to breathe.
Sleep apnea may be prevented through different non-surgical treatments but if these treatments fail, surgery is recommended.