If you have read Sleep Apnea- Causes and Symptoms, you will know whether you might be suffering from sleep apnea or not. However, before going to a doctor to confirm or reject the possibility of sleep apnea, you must do certain things to make it easier for the doctor and for yourself about diagnosing the sleep disorder.
Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
You have to note down your sleeping condition for a few days. For this, you may maintain your sleep diary by writing every day about how well did you sleep the previous night? How many times did you wake up? Try to remember any incident of breathing problem that might have occurred during sleep (or waking up from sleep). Note all that seems inconvenient or abnormal. Also keep a record of your snoring by taking help of your sleeping partner. Do you snore always or not? How loud is your snoring? Get answers of these and any other such questions. You can even record your snoring sound with the help of audio recorder. If you take all these information to the doctor, solution to your sleep problems can be easily achieved. If, based on your sleep report, doctor feels that you might be suffering from sleep apnea, you will be sent to the sleep clinic- also called sleep lab or sleep center- for a night or two for “polysomnogram” (or “PSG” – a sleep study). Sleep tests in a sleep clinic will help in diagnosing sleep apnea by testing how frequently you stop breathing.
Minor Sleep Apnea Cures- Home Remedies for Sleep Apnea
If you are diagnosed with minor sleep apnea, the doctor will suggest some behavioral changes (lifestyle changes) and some home remedies for sleep apnea that may include
- Losing weight
- Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, sedatives, or any other drug or other thing that relax the muscles of your throat and encourage snoring.
- Sleeping on your sides. Special pillows might be suggested to be used as tools for sleeping on your sides. Special techniques such as ‘tennis ball trick’ might also be suggested where you can sew a tennis ball in the back of your pajama top that will keep you on your sides while sleeping.
- Keeping your head at an elevated position by using pillows that are 4 -6 inches higher than the normal pillows. This strategy prevents snoring and makes breathing easier.
- Maintaining regular sleep hours.
- Using nasal dilator, nasal strips or saline nasal spray for keeping the nasal passages open and decongested.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
If, on the hand, you have got a serious kind of obstructive sleep apnea that causes you to stop breathing for multiple times at night, you will be subjected to special sleep apnea treatments.
Special Oral Appliances- patients of sleep apnea need to keep their air passage open. So, many form-fitting dental mouthpieces are used to cure sleep apnea. These oral appliances help advance the position of the tongue and soft palate to keep the patient’s air passage open,. After getting the oral appliances fitted, one must regularly visit the dentist in every six months to ensure whether everything is all right or not.
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty Surgery- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is the traditional surgical treatment for sleep apnea. The excess tissues in the throat are tightened and trimmed to avoid their relaxed position that also causes breathlessness apart from snoring.
Laser Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP)- In this type of surgery to treat snoring, a small hand-held laser beam is used to shorten the soft palate and remove the patient’s uvula. This enlarges the airway and reduces vibration. This may need more than one session to control snoring. However, laser surgery is not usually advised for occasional or light snoring. Generally it is also not advised for sleep apnea.
Somnoplasty- or Radiofrequency Tissue Ablation involves using of a low-intensity radiofrequency signal to remove part of the soft palate to reduce snoring. It is done using local anesthesia. It is comparatively a newer technique for treating sleep apnea.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure(CPAP)- In this treatment, the patient wears a pressurized mask over the nose while sleeping. The mask is attached to a small pump that forces air through the patient’s airway to keep it open. CPAP treats snoring and prevents sleep apnea. Although many patients find it uncomfortable, CPAP is the most preferred method of treating obstructive sleep apnea.
Now when you know all about sleep apnea causes, symptoms and treatment, measure the degree of seriousness of your sleep problem but let the doctors decide what is the most suitable treatment for your type of sleep apnea? If that treatment causes you some discomfort, try to tolerate it for the first few days after which it will naturally convert into your habit. After all, nothing is valuable than you life- breath right, while sleeping too, and save your life!