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Getting Your Zzzzz's: 3 Treatment Options For Your Sleep Apnea

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Stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on your ability to sleep, but your difficulty sleeping may stem from a possible medical condition. Characterized by periodic episodes of breathing loss while asleep, apnea can be a serious, life-threating condition. Sleep apnea affects an estimated 18 million Americans, but the causes of each apnea case may be different. Utilizing a sleep study, your doctor can determine the best treatment option for your specific needs.

In many cases, doctors will suggest surgical procedures to open up a patient's airway in hopes of reducing the episodes of breathing loss. Unfortunately, these invasive surgical procedures have many risks and require a great deal of recovery time. Thankfully, there are numerous non-invasive treatment options available. Using one or more of these treatment options, you can treat your sleep apnea and finally get some Zzzz's.

Weight Loss

Living a healthy lifestyle complete with a well-balanced diet and exercise plan is essential for your underlying health and wellness. However, following a healthy lifestyle to lose weight is also beneficial for your sleep apnea.

While surprising to hear, a weight reduction of only 5 to 10 percent can greatly improve your sleep apnea. Of course, losing weight can be challenging. Here are a few useful tips to begin your weight loss journey:

  1. Do Not Diet – Following fad diets may seem like an easy way to lose a few pounds quickly, but these diets are not effective for permanent weight loss. Work with a nutritionist to design a meal plan based on your likes and needs. Reduce your intake of sugar and white flour, but add more vegetables and lean proteins to your meals. Instead of drinking soda with your meals, drink water. This will reduce your intake of sugar, but also ensure you are properly hydrated.
  2. Make Exercise Fun – Walking on a treadmill or visiting a local gym may seem fun at first, but it can make exercise a tedious chore. To get sufficient exercise, get moving in a more exciting, fun, and enjoyable manner. Consider taking a boxing or dancing class each week. Start up a new hobby such as extreme Frisbee or biking on nearby trails. Design your exercise plan around your interests to make exercise enjoyable.

Visit your Dentist

Visiting a dentist clinic like Schererville Family Dentistry, PC regularly for cleanings and exams is imperative for your underlying oral health and the overall look of your smile. However, your dentist can also help treat your sleep apnea using OAT.

OAT, or Oral Appliance Therapy, is an effective option for treating your apnea since it helps your airway remain open. The therapy involves wearing a plastic or acrylic device in your mouth while sleeping. The device is similar to a sport's guard for the mouth or a retainer.

Once your dentist customizes the oral appliance to fit your mouth, it will stop the tongue and tissues inside your mouth from collapsing while asleep. This will ensure your throat stays open while sleeping, which prevents the episodes of breathing loss.

Consult your doctor before visiting your dentist for sleep apnea treatment. It is important to note that OAT is more effective when used with CPAP therapy.

CPAP Therapy

CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is a prescription given by your doctor for sleep apnea treatment. CPAP therapy forces air into your airway while you are asleep, which keeps the airway open to prevent breathing loss. In most cases, a CPAP prescription will include the following:

  • CPAP machine
  • Tubing to connect the machine to mask
  • Mask – Your doctor will determine the type of mask necessary for your sleep apnea.

CPAP therapy is a great option for treating your sleep apnea, but the mask can be uncomfortable to wear while sleeping. Be sure to have patience when you first receive your CPAP machine, since it will take some time to adjust.

Living with sleep apnea is possible, but treating the condition is key to getting a good night's rest. Using these options, you can treat your apnea without dangerous surgical procedures.