Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Treatment:
During sleep, our muscle tone ordinarily relaxes. The human throat airway structure is composed of a series of collapsible tissue walls which, in some cases, can result in a certain level of obstruction due to the relaxation of the throat area muscle tone. This condition often results in snoring but more importantly, a severe obstructive sleep apnea condition can result in low blood oxygen saturation (hypoxemia), sleep deprivation, and other complication which the most dangerous of all being “Cor pulmonale” – a severe form of congestive heart failure. In addition, OSA is known to increase the risk of Cardiovascular disease, stroke, arrhythmias, high blood pressure, and sleep-deprived accidents.
People with low muscle tone and soft tissue in the throat area as well as those who have structural features resulting in a narrower airway are more likely to develop OSA than others. In addition, elderly people tend to develop OSA more than younger individuals and men are more likely to suffer sleep apnea than women and children.
Obesity, smoking, alcohol, drug abuse, and allergies are known to increase the risk of OSA as well as diabetes, including borderline diabetes.
OSA symptoms include restless sleep, irritability, loud snoring, concentration issues, and general fatigue during the daytime. The diagnosis of OSA is usually done in a sleep clinic using various diagnostic tests.
Some of the potential treatments for this condition include:
- Losing weight
- Avoiding alcohol, sleeping pills, and tranquilizers
- Quitting smoking
- Sleeping in a 30-degree upper body elevation
- Sleeping on the side of the body
- Various dental devices such as Mandibular advancement splints
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines
It is important to mention that snoring, at any decibel level, does not necessarily indicate the presence of an OSA condition. Even the loudest snoring can be caused by many reasons other than OSA.
One of the symptoms that could indicate the presence of an OSA condition is when a person repeatedly stops breathing completely during his sleep for a period of approximately 10 seconds followed by a deep gasp when breathing starts again. Other indicators include micrognathia, morning headaches, irritability, mood swings, depression, memory difficulties, and decreased libido.