Symptoms and Treatment for Sleep Apnea - Step To Health

Symptoms and Treatment for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a lot more common than you might think. In today's article, we'll talk about the symptoms and treatments for sleep apnea. 
Symptoms and Treatment for Sleep Apnea

Last update: 02 May, 2019

Do you know anyone who suffers from sleep apnea? There are a lot of people who have this respiratory condition that keeps them from enjoying a good night’s sleep. Therefore, they tend to suffer from excessive exhaustion during the day due to lack of restful sleep. Keep reading to discover the symptoms and treatment for sleep apnea.

About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea causes those who suffer from it stop breathing at times while they’re sleeping. This is something very noticeable, since those who have this condition snore very loudly and, suddenly, stop doing it. Then, they’ve stopped breathing.

Apnea usually starts when the person enters the REM phase of sleep.Experts don’t exactly understand why, but the pharynx collapses and prevents air from passing through. This can happen several times in the same night. In the most severe cases, people may even suffer two apneas each hour.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is very annoying.

As we already said, snoring is one of the main symptoms of sleep apnea. People who suffer from this condition often begin to snore very loudly as soon as they fall asleep.

Then, when a person with sleep apnea is asleep, there is a sudden silence, followed by a gasp that is nothing more than an attempt to breathe again. When this happens, the person will wake up or they’ll no longer be in the deep sleep s/he was previously in. 

Other possible symptoms include:

  • Dry mouth: This is usually caused by the snoring.
  • Headache: Apneas usually have this side effect, because when you stop breathing, you can’t oxygenate your brain well.
  • Fatigue: This condition keeps those who suffer from it from getting good, quality sleep. As a result, they tend to be very tired throughout the day.

People who suffer from sleep apnea may even have problems with their work performance. Sometimes, they may even fall asleep in inconvenient places.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea

If a person displays most of the above symptoms, s/he needs to go see a doctor. The doctor will perform a series of specific tests to determine whether or not he suffers from this disorder. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor will establish the best treatment for each individual case.

In addition to your doctor’s recommendations, the following tips will help with the treatment of sleep apnea.

1. Eliminate bad habits.

This is the first treatment for sleep apnea. The person has to eliminate any bad habits and add certain good habits into his daily routine that will improve his/her health.

This method doesn’t require any medications or aggressive methods. It’s best for people who only suffer from mild sleep apnea.

Some habits that help treat sleep apnea are cutting out tobacco, adding more physical exercise to your routine and diet changes to help you lose weight. In many cases, this treatment usually works to improve sleep apnea.

2. Wear a face mask.

This man is wearing a mask.

This next treatment option is generally the most common for patients who suffer with this condition. It involves wearing a mask (known as a CPAP) so those with sleep apnea wear so they can sleep well.

This mask exerts pressure on the upper airway to keep it from getting blocked. Additionally, it will keep the person from snoring and usually has no side effects.

3. Undergo surgery.

This last treatment option for sleep apnea is only used in very specific cases. For example, if the person suffers from polyps, doctors may recommend surgery because then they may not be able to use the mask to treat the problem.

Additionally, this treatment may be necessary if there’s a lesion in the upper airway. However, the most common treatment method is the CPAP mask.

There’s No Cure for Sleep Apnea

Currently, there is still no cure for this disease. In fact, the treatments for it are only intended to fight or reduce its symptoms. However, if treatment is stopped, the sleep apnea with return, because you can’t get rid of it.

These treatments are meant to improve people’s quality of life, since they will be able to sleep much better and feel more energized during the day. In addition, the people you live with will also be grateful for these treatments. This is not only because the snoring will stop, but also because they won’t constantly be afraid when you stop breathing.

Does anyone you know suffer from sleep apnea? How have you been able to live with it if you’re the one who has it?

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Although many people don't really care, it's important to get enough rest to have a good quality of life. Learn how below!

  • Ryan, S. (2016). Obstructive Sleep Apnea. In International Encyclopedia of Public Health.
  • Punjabi, N. M. (2008). The Epidemiology of Adult Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society.
  • Somers, V. K., White, D. P., Amin, R., Abraham, W. T., Costa, F., Culebras, A., … Young, T. (2008). Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Disease. An American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Foundation Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association Council for High Blood Pressure Research Professional Education Committee, Council on Clinical Cardiology, Stroke Council, and Council on Cardiovascular Nursing In Collaboration With the National Heart, Lung. Journal of the American College of Cardiology.