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How To Prevent Sleep Apnea

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Elevate Your Head Of The Bed

Doctor explains how to prevent sleep apnea

Sleeping with the head of the bed at an angle, like 60 degrees trusted source, may help reduce apnea episodes. For people who have difficulty sleeping on their back but find it easier to lie down and rest while supine, this solution could be just what they need! You can do wonders in achieving these positions by using pillows or purchasing a body wedge for yourself.

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Change your sleeping position: Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue and soft palate to position themselves against the back of your throat, blocking your airway. Therefore, experts suggest side or stomach sleeping.

Try nasal decongestants: Nasal obstruction and sleep apnea are linked, research suggests. Decongestants or antihistamines may be helpful in relieving congestion, but you should speak with your physician before using a decongestant on a regular basis.

Surgery: If none of the other treatment methods are effective, there are a few surgery options. The first is a surgery to open up the airwaylike a tonsillectomy or jaw advancement surgerybut only for people with obvious signs of anatomical airway obstruction, says Dr. Won. There is also the option of implanting an upper airway stimulator, which is like a pacemaker for the tongue thats implanted in the chest wall. This stimulates the tongue during sleep so it doesnt collapse onto and obstruct the airway, she says.

Can Sleep Apnea Be Prevented Or Avoided

There are things you can do to prevent sleep apnea. The following steps help many people:

  • Stop all use of alcohol or sleep medicines. These relax the muscles in the back of your throat, making it harder for you to breathe.
  • If you smoke, quit smoking.
  • If you are overweight, lose weight.
  • Sleep on your side instead of on your back.

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How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed

Your doctor can diagnose sleep apnea. He or she may ask you if you feel tired or sleepy during the day. Your doctor may also want to know about your bedtime habits and how well you sleep. Your doctor may ask you to go to a sleep disorder center for a sleep study. Tests done at the sleep disorder center may reveal which kind of sleep apnea you have. You may also need to take some equipment home with you to do a sleep study there.

Change Your Sleeping Position

Anti Snoring Tongue Retaining Breathing Device Sleep Apnea Stop Snore ...

Sleep positional therapy is a good sleep apnea prevention tool that places your body in the optimal sleeping position.

Sleeping on your side can help keep airways open during the night, but if you habitually roll to your back maintaining this position can be challenging. Some sleepers use wedge pillows to prevent them from rolling over. Others might place a few tennis balls in a fanny pack on their lower back. Eventually, you may not need these tools to keep you on your side.

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Central Sleep Apnea Happens When The Brain Is Involved

Central sleep apnea is less common than obstructive sleep apnea. It can also be trickier to diagnose and treat. Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by a mechanical problem that blocks the airway, central sleep apnea occurs because the brain is not sending the proper messages to the muscles that control breathing. Central sleep apnea is caused by a neurological reason, explains Dr. Capasso.

What Are The Causes Of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a persons airway becomes blocked during sleep. Multiple factors have been found to increase the risk of blockage and OSA:

  • Anatomical characteristics. The size and positioning of a persons neck, jaw, tongue, tonsils, and other tissue near the back of the throat can directly affect airflow.
  • Obesity. Being overweight is a leading cause of OSA and may be an underlying risk factor in up to 60% of cases. Obesity contributes to anatomical narrowing of the airway, and research has found that a 10% increase in weight can equate to a six-fold increase in OSA risk.

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  • Sleeping on your back. This sleeping position makes it easier for tissue to collapse around the airway and cause blockages.
  • Nasal congestion. People whose ability to breathe through the nose is reduced because of congestion are more likely to experience OSA.
  • Hormone abnormalities. Hormone conditions like hypothyroidism and acromegaly may increase the risk of OSA by causing swelling of tissue near the airway and/or contributing to a persons risk of obesity.

In CSA, breathing is affected in a different way than in OSA. Instead of an obstruction causing breathing lapses, the problem arises in how the brain communicates with the muscles responsible for respiration. In particular, the brain stem fails to adequately perceive the levels of carbon dioxide in the body, leading to breathing that is slower and shallower than it should be.

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Severe Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

The AASM has established guidelines for the treatment of sleep apnea. Continuous positive airway pressure therapy is considered the treatment of choice for all forms of sleep apnea. The machine works by delivering air to your upper airway through a mask. This keeps the tissues from collapsing and causing obstruction, according to UC San Diego Health.

Surgery is typically considered as a treatment option only when a person cannot tolerate airway pressure devices. The Adult OSA Task Force of the AASM, assembled to create clinical guidelines for the treatment of sleep apnea, notes that upper airway surgeries for sleep apnea include:

  • Nasal airway procedures
  • Tonsil and adenoid removal
  • Palate and uvula reduction
  • Tongue reduction
  • Tongue advancement

Obesity is a major cause of obstructive sleep apnea. When sleep apnea occurs in the context of morbid obesity, doctors may consider bariatric surgery as an adjuvant therapy, according to the AASM.

Maxillomandibular advancement is a special type of surgery for people whose lower jaw is set far back from their upper jaw, which is a condition called retrognathia. The AASM considers this to be a global airway procedure.

American Sleep Apnea Association

how to treat and stop sleep apnea naturally

We envision a world in which most people suffering from sleep apnea are diagnosed, aware, educated and treated. This serious syndrome, when left untreated has a large influence on quality of life and multiple life-threatening implications. Yet it is highly treatable. Unfortunately it is estimated that more than 80% of people suffering from sleep apnea are undiagnosed. To help those living with sleep apnea, we work relentlessly to promote

  • better awareness in the general public and among health professionals and,
  • affordable, convenient and highly effective diagnoses and treatments.
  • Read Also: Sleep Deprivation Stomach Ache

    What Raises The Risk Of Central Sleep Apnea

    • Age: As you get older, normal changes in how your brain controls breathing during sleep may raise your risk of sleep apnea.
    • Family history and genetics: Your genes can affect how your brain controls your breathing during sleep. Genetic conditions such as congenital central hypoventilation syndrome can raise your risk.
    • Lifestyle habits: Drinking alcohol and smoking can affect how your brain controls sleep or the muscles involved in breathing.
    • Opioid use: Opioid use disorder or long-term use of prescribed opioid-based pain medicines can cause problems with how your brain controls sleep.
    • Health conditions: Some conditions that affect how your brain controls your airway and chest muscles can raise your risk. These include heart failure, stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , and myasthenia gravis. Also, your hormone levels can affect how your brain controls your breathing.
    • Premature birth: Babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy have a higher risk of breathing problems during sleep. In most cases, the risk gets lower as the baby gets older.

    Severe Sleep Apnea Treatment: Everything You Need To Know

    Those with sleep apnea experience breathing interruptions during sleep. In severe cases, these breathing stoppages can happen hundreds of times a night. The toll this takes on the body is enormous, with health consequences that include depression, chronic fatigue, heart disease, diabetes, and sudden death, according to Mayo Clinic. Here is what you need to know about severe sleep apnea and the available treatment options.

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    Lower The Cpap Air Pressure

    If you fixed your mask leaks, and you stopped opening your mouth during sleep, but you still wake up with dry mouth in the morning, then you don’t have any other solution than to lower your CPAP air pressure.

    Actually, many readers of this website have CPAP dry mouth and high air pressure.

    There are different reasons for why you have a higher pressure than necessary.

    Maybe your sleep doctor wanted to be sure your airways will remain open while you sleep, or the results from your sleep study are a bit exaggerated. Or, maybe you lost some weight since starting CPAP therapy, and now you need the pressure adjusted.

    What can you do in this case?

    • try a second sleep study – not everyone can afford this, but if you can, try another sleep study mentioning to the sleep technician that you need a lower air pressure. In other words, you have to find out what is the lowest pressure your body needs to sleep without apnea episodes.
    • ask your doctor to lower your CPAP pressure – he may reduce it by increments, to test the quality of your sleep the following night.
    • adjust CPAP pressure by yourself – if you don’t have access to a doctor, you may want to try to lower the pressure by yourself. Before doing this, you need to know how to track your sleep to check if you have apnea episodes or hypopneas. Use your CPAP software or a portable pulse oximeter to reveal your sleep quality.

    Help Yourself Sleep Better

    Pin on Sleep apnea awareness

    While you may not have a lot of control over the anatomy of your airway, things like your weight, alcohol consumption, and smoking habits are all firmly within your grasp. Watching your weight and keeping alcohol and smoking to a minimum can reduce your chances of developing sleep apnea.

    However, if you believe that you or a loved one already have obstructive sleep apnea, its absolutely necessary to seek treatment. Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that affects your energy and quality of life, and adherence to treatment is necessary for helping you breathe at night and ease negative symptoms. Dr. Jeff Rodgers is a sleep apnea dentist in Atlanta who has helped thousands of patients overcome sleep apnea and snoring using custom-made oral appliances. If youre tired of feeling tired, we invite you toschedule a FREE consultation with Sleep Better Georgia. Dr. Rodgers will help you get to the root of your sleep problems, provide tips you can use at home, and, if needed, supply you with your own sleep appliance that will help you start getting better rest the very first night.

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    Home Sleep Apnea Test

    Some patients with many risk factors for sleep apnea and no other medical disorders may be candidates for a home sleep apnea test. This type of sleep study lets you sleep in your own home while a small monitor collects data as you sleep. The testing equipment is less complicated than what is used in an in-lab sleep study. You will be shown how to hook up the testing equipment yourself. After your home sleep apnea test, you can take the device back to your medical provider or send it by mail.

    Other apps and sleep tracking devices may claim to be able to detect sleep apnea, but their results can be unreliable. Be sure to discuss these devices with your medical provider.

    After your sleep study or home sleep apnea test, you will schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss the results. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, your medical provider will discuss your treatment options with you.

    Elite Rest Slim Sleeper Latex

    • Price: $
    • Type: Latex memory foam
    • Good for: Stomach sleepers

    If you have mild sleep apnea and youre looking to relieve symptoms by sleeping on your stomach, a soft pillow may help prevent neck discomfort.

    This super slim pillow may be comfy if you tend to sleep with your arm under your pillow. Stomach sleepers who prefer a low-profile pillow say the Slim Sleeper provides just enough head elevation to keep their spine aligned.

    However, its not as great for those who need extra neck support and want a fluffy pillow.

    • Type: Adjustable foam
    • Good for: Any sleeping style

    Changing sleeping positions might make all the difference for those with mild sleep apnea. The Polysleep Pillow is filled with multiple removable foam layers , so it can accommodate any sleeping position. You can customize the firmness level by removing or adding foam to fit your preference.

    Reviewers explain that it can take some time to find the right combo of foam layers, but the result is ultimately very comfortable.

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    Body Weight And Snoring

    Snoring is on the same spectrum of sleep disordered breathing as sleep apnea. While most people who have obstructive sleep apnea snore, most people who snore do not have sleep apnea. There is correlation between body weight, snoring and sleep apnea. In general, snoring and sleep apnea are associated with excess body weight. As BMI increases, there is increased association with decreased airway diameter. The decrease in airway diameter increased the turbulence and airway resistance that is associated with the snore noise.

    So, one way to reduce the risk of snoring and sleep apnea is to normalize body weight if overweight. By normalizing weight, airway diameter is improved, which reduces airway resistance and snoring. A normal-weight person will not likely improve snoring if weight is decreased.

    Oral Or Dental Appliances

    How to Stop Snoring: Sleep Apnea CPAP Solutions Prevent Aid Cure Anti Device Treatment OSA Reduce

    Another home remedy for sleep apnea is wearing an oral device that holds the tongue or jaw in a certain position to help facilitate better breathing.

    However, in most cases, an oral device will require a prescription, and a dental professional who has training in sleep medicine will need to fit it.

    Doctors have identified several factors that contribute to obstructive sleep apnea. These include:

    • being aged 40 years and older
    • being overweight
    • having a family history of sleep apnea
    • heavy alcohol consumption
    • having a large tongue, tonsils, or uvula
    • having a small jaw

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    Invest In The Right Pillow

    When it comes to pillows, you may be surprised that they come in every shape, style, pressure, loft and firmness. While there isnt one brand of pillow that works best for sleep apnea, finding the option that works best for you depends on your personal preference and sleep position.

    For side sleepers, look for a thicker pillow that aligns your neck and takes pressure off your shoulders. For back sleepers, shop for a thinner pillow. For stomach sleepers, look for even thinner pillows. The goal is to keep your spine in its natural alignment.

    If your CPAP mask is being dislodged by your pillow at night, consider a CPAP pillow. These pillows are specifically designed to accommodate CPAP masks, Dr. Knobbe said. They have indented areas on both edges of the pillow which leaves space for your mask.

    In addition to your pillow, you may want to consider a new mattress as well. Keep in mind that mattresses need to be replaced every five to eight years. In general, back sleepers do well on firmer mattresses, while side sleepers may need a softer mattress to alleviate pressure points at the shoulders and hips, Dr. Knobbe said.

    What Happens When You Stop Breathing

    When you stop breathing, your heart rate also tends to drop the longer your body is deprived of oxygen. Then, your involuntary reflexes cause you to startle awake at the end of that period of not breathing. When this occurs, your heart rate tends to accelerate quickly and your blood pressure rises.

    These are changes that take place acutely when you stop breathing. However, your body starts to experience chronic effects if you experience frequent apnea. Data suggests increased risk, particularly when you stop breathing roughly 30 times or more per hour. But there is likely a risk at even lower frequency rates.

    For example, your blood pressure tends to go up, your heart walls thicken due to increased workload and the structure of your heart changes. It tends to become stiffer and less flexible because there are more fibrous cells growing in between the muscle cells.

    All of those things increase the risk that you can have either atrial or ventricular arrhythmias. They also tend to reduce the function of the heart so that its less efficient at pumping blood.

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    How Is Sleep Apnea Treated

    Another common treatment method is with a MRD , also known as oral appliance therapy. The patient will be fitted for a device similar to a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer that prevents airways from collapsing during sleep by sliding the jaw forward or holding the tongue in place. Positional therapy is used to help treat people who primarily have sleep apnea when sleeping on their backs. One option is to wear a device around the waist or back that forces the person to sleep on their side. Another possibility is to wear a small device on the back of the neck that gently vibrates when a person starts to sleep on their back. This vibration notifies the body to change positions without waking the person. Lifestyle changes can help treat sleep apnea. This would include weight loss for those who are obese or overweight, quitting smoking, and drinking less alcohol. These changes help keep the airway passages open and wide.

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