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Remedies for Sleep Apnea

Posted Feb 22 2010 9:21pm

Apnea means breathing is stopped or reduced.  Sleep apnea is a chronic disorder which is characterized by periods of obstructed breathing during sleep.  The periods generally last 10 seconds or more and can happen hundreds of times each sleep cycle.

sleep apnea

Natural Remedies for Sleep Apnea

There are several ways you can improve your breathing while you sleep.  Some of the ways include:

- Positioning yourself where you are not sleeping on your back and elevating the head of your bed.
- People who are overweight are at increased risk due to fatty deposits around the neck structures, palate and tongue, by losing weight you can reduce these fatty deposits and enlarge the size of your airway.
- Avoid being overtired.  Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.  You need to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
- Avoid the use of sleeping pills and alcohol because these can relax the muscles of the throat and increase periods of apnea.   Avoid alcohol for at least 3 hours before attempting to sleep.

Mechanical Remedies for Sleep Apnea

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is that of mechanical means.  Using a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) or a BiPAP (bi-level positive airway pressure) device is the most successful and more prescribed treatment.  Both of these devices use positive pressure through a mask worn during sleep to maintain an open airway.

BiPAP differs from CPAP in that it blows a higher pressure for inhale and a lower pressure for exhalation; this is used for people who cannot tolerate a continuous, constant high pressure.  A sleep study is required to prescribe and adjust proper pressure for these machines.

Also available on the market is an oral appliance that is custom fit to be worn over the teeth to allow the lower jawbone to be pulled forward.  Pulling the lower jawbone forward opens the airway.

Surgical Remedies for Sleep Apnea

The advantage of surgery is that it can possibly grant a permanent solution for the problem; the disadvantage is that it may not.  With surgery there are other risks such as those with anesthesia and it is not usually considered to be the first option in remedies for sleep apnea.

Surgery is specific to the site that is believed to be the cause of the obstruction.  It is performed to enlarge the airway to prevent collapse and apnea.  There is a multitude of surgical procedures that are used to treat sleep apnea and only your surgeon can determine if this approach would be right for you.

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