Sleep Apnea and Snoring Treatment
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that obstructs the airways. The condition is mostly known to patients as snoring during sleep. Most people do not consider snoring at night as a big problem that requires medical intervention. However, sleep apnea can cause a lack of sleep when it becomes severe. The patient usually experiences shortness of breath during sleep. The shortness of breath lasts a few minutes and keeps occurring throughout the night.
Thankfully, sleep apnea can be treated. A sleep specialist is in charge of sleep apnea diagnosis and solutions for such patients. The diagnosis is the best way to find out how severe the snoring is. The evaluation process is based on the level of obstruction a patient encounters as they sleep.
Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
There are some unknown facts about the snoring condition. For one, people think that only a sleep expert can treat or diagnose the condition. However, a dentist in Salt Lake City is also capable of detecting the problem when you schedule an appointment for dental checkups. Many medical specialists can help in the diagnosis of sleep apnea, including ear, nose and throat doctor.
Usually, two tests can be conducted to detect the presence of sleep apnea. The tests are:
- Polysomnography – this is a test that involves special machines to test the presence of sleep apnea. The machine is hooked on the patient to test the state of the lungs, heart, movements of the body parts, as well as the brain. The equipment helps track the breathing patterns of the patient. The monitoring can be done all night when one is sleeping. The advantage of this test is that it can help identify the presence of other sleep disorders or even rule them out as the underlying reasons for lack of sleep.
- Home test – under some unique situations, your sleep doctor or dentist may prescribe an at-home Polysomnography test. For at-home testing, you have to observe the movements of ligaments like hands and feet, as well as to measure the airflow while mastering the breathing patterns.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can manifest in different ways for patients. Most of them have similar signs and symptoms, including the following:
- Snoring – The most apparent and common sign of sleep apnea is snoring. If the people around you always complain of your loud snoring at night, then you may have sleep apnea.
- Shortness of breath – this is particularly evident with attempts to sleep. You may feel like you are suffocating at night, even with plenty of oxygen in the atmosphere. The shortness of breath lasts a short time between different breathing patterns.
- Drooling – children that drool a lot in the night have poor breathability. It could be that their nasal cavity and airway is obstructed too much that the body requires reinforcement. This makes them open the mouth to gain another access point for breathing.
- Lack of sleep – when breathability is low at night, patients have a hard time getting sleep. Once the quality of sleep is compromised, the life of the patient is affected. Patients of sleep apnea may battle other sleep-related problems like fatigue, mood changes, aggressive behavior, to mention a few.
Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea
Depending on the severity of sleep apnea, the treatment options vary. Your doctor will look into the thorough diagnosis of your snoring problem to detect any other underlying issues. Once it is clear that you have sleep apnea, the condition can be treated in some of the following ways:
- Lifestyle changes – the way you live your everyday life affects what happens to you and how your body responds to it. Some of the lifestyle changes include:
- Exercising regularly – to improve blood and oxygen circulation throughout the body.
- Weight loss – obesity and overweight situations increase the risks of sleep apnea.
- Quit smoking
- Reduce intake of alcohol – especially very close to bedtime.
- Change sleeping positions – sleeping on your back can cause a Syrian on your airway. Try sleeping on your side for a change.
- Medication – allergy medication or nasal decongestants can help clear the obstruction in your airway.
- Oral devices – mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea can be managed with a mouthpiece. A dentist will recommend it for patients who would rather improve their quality of sleep by reducing the discomfort of the disorder.
- Surgical treatment – for severe sleep apnea, surgical intervention is the best way to correct the disorder permanently.