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What Is a CPAP and When Do You Need One
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Tags: sleep apnea, sleep disorders, sleep problems

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Sleep apnea is a condition that can affect adults as well as children. The condition occurs when breathing patterns are disrupted while sleeping, and the condition may be classified more specifically as obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea or complex sleep apnea syndrome. If you struggle with sleep apnea, you may find relief with any of these four treatment methods.

Weight Loss

Being overweight can make breathing while sleeping more difficult, and losing weight may put an end to your sleep apnea. Extra body weight can restrict airflow through the breathing passageway, and losing even just a few pounds can make a big difference. To lose weight, it’s best to engage in a mix of cardio and strength-training exercises for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Cutting out refined sugars, excessive fats and high-calorie foods from your diet can also help you slim down to a healthier weight.

Of course, not all weight gain is due to personal choices, but often it is affected by hormonal imbalances. If you are experiencing rapid weight gain that is not easily explainable by diet or a sedentary lifestyle, then you should reach out to a thyroid specialist and make sure that your body is regulating your hormones correctly.

Sleep Aids

Certain products have been created to help people who have sleep apnea. Special mouthpieces have been developed to be worn while sleeping to help keep the breathing passageway open. Machines that are designed to deliver continuous positive airway pressure, which are also known as CPAP machines, include attached masks that can be worn to provide extra air pressure to prevent breathing obstructions. This is especially effective because it helps increase your body’s oxygen supply. Sleep apnea happens when your oxygen is cut off during the night and it wakes you up just enough to disrupt your sleep, but often not enough for you to remember it in the morning. With a CPAP, you are given a steady flow of oxygen that allows you to remain in deep sleep. This is one of the more common treatments for sleep apnea and is considered highly effective.

Allergy Treatment

Some cases of sleep apnea are linked to allergies, and having any allergies that are causing breathing difficulties treated may offer you relief. Oral medications and nasal sprays are often prescribed to allergy sufferers to alleviate symptoms and promote better breathing. Using an air purifier in your bedroom can help limit the allergens in the air that you might be inhaling while you sleep. Zippered hypoallergenic mattress and pillow covers can also reduce the allergens that are causing your sleep apnea. You should also be washing your pillow covers and bed sheets regularly to prevent the buildup of dander, which can further irritate allergies. If your allergies are extreme and you can’t find relief through over the counter treatments, seek an allergist who can help you look into immunotherapy shots. These shots work to help teach your body to no longer react to your allergens, effectively eliminating your allergies over time.

Surgery

A surgical procedure may be a last resort if other treatment methods have failed. If excessive tissue in your mouth or throat is interfering with your breathing while you sleep, surgery may be performed to reduce the tissue size or remove the tissue entirely. If tonsil problems are causing your sleep apnea, a tonsillectomy can be performed. The jaw may also need to be repositioned through a surgical procedure to allow for better breathing. In cases of severe sleep apnea, a tracheostomy might need to be performed to open a new passageway for air. This is especially useful for those who have obstructions that prevent even a CPAP from being effective. It’s also important to note that these obstructions can make it difficult to get enough oxygen during the day as well, causing excessive daytime sleepiness that prevent exercise and other activities. That’s why it’s essential to get obstructions treated whenever they are impeding your oxygen intake, day or night.

If you have sleep apnea, you may find hope in the promising treatments that are available today. Treating your sleep apnea will allow you to enjoy better sleep without the breathing disruptions that might be keeping you up at night. With better sleep, you’ll find yourself more energized during the day and better able to function fully.




By Lizzie Weakley
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