What is the Best Way to Treat Sleep Apnea?

What is the Best Way to Treat Sleep Apnea?

July 1, 2022

If you wake up gasping for air during sleep or your sleep partner has mentioned that you snore regularly, you might have sleep apnea. If not treated, sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that can lead to serious health complications like heart problems, blood pressure, diabetes, respiratory problems, and memory issues.

Untreated sleep apnea causes accidents, poor school performance, and work-related injuries. While sleep apnea can affect anyone, it’s most common among overweight and older men.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that interrupts normal breathing during sleep. The common type of  sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, when the throat muscles relax and collapse, causing sleep apnea. Breathing usually resumes with a loud gasp.

There’s also central sleep apnea, which happens when the brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. It’s linked to a malfunctioning central nervous system. The last and rarest type of sleep apnea is complex sleep apnea syndrome.

Regardless of which type of apnea you have, these sleep apnea episodes often happen numerous times. It can interfere with your sleep and reduce oxygen flow to the vital organs, causing heart rhythm irregularities. For this reason, you should consult your doctor or dentist if you think you might have sleep apnea.

What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Sometimes the signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apnea can overlap. Therefore, it can be difficult to diagnose which type you have. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Morning headaches
  • Awakening with a sore throat or dry mouth
  • Episodes where breathing stops during sleep – mostly reported by another person
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Irritability
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulties concentrating

Whether you have mild, moderate, or severe sleep apnea, it’s essential to seek sleep apnea treatment near you to improve sleep quality and ensure sufficient oxygen flow to vital organs.

Risk Factors

Specific factors that can increase your risk of apnea include:

  • Being male
  • Excess weight or obesity
  • Having a thick neck
  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Nasal congestion
  • Use of antidepressants, sedatives, or tranquilizers
  • Underlying medical conditions like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and Parkinson’s disease
  • Use of narcotic pain medications like methadone

How is Sleep Apnea Treated?

Your dentist or doctor can recommend the following treatments:

Conservative treatments. Patients with mild symptoms should improve their lifestyles. It can include:

  • Losing weight for overweight or obese individuals
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Exercising to keep fit and improve blood flow in the body
  • Avoiding tobacco products and excessive use of alcohol products
  • Avoiding antidepressants and certain sleeping pills
  • Changing sleeping positions. Sleeping on the side is recommended.
  • Elevating your face with a pillow when sleeping
  • Nasal sprays or breathing strips for sinus problems or nasal congestion

Mechanical Therapy. Your dentist can recommend positive Airway Pressure (PAP) therapy. CPAP is the most commonly used PAP device. You have a mask to wear over the mouth or nose. The CPAP machine then blows air through the nose and mouth.

The air pressure is usually higher than that in your room environment. The continuous air pressure helps prevent the airway tissues from collapsing when sleeping. While the machine might feel uncomfortable initially, you’ll get used to it. Other types of mechanical therapy include Bi-Level PAP, Auto CPAP or Auto Bi-Level PAP, and Adaptive Servo-Ventilation (ASV).

Mandibular Advancement Devices. For moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea, your dentist can recommend oral devices like tongue suppressers or nightguards. The tongue suppresser prevents the tongue from relaxing too much and closing the airway. Dental appliances like nightguards help align your jaw to keep your airway open.Surgery. If the conservative and mechanical therapies don’t help, your dentist or doctor can recommend surgery. Common surgical procedures for sleep apnea include:

  • Somnoplasty
  • Tonsillectomy
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
  • Mandibular/maxillary advancement surgery
  • Nasal surgery

Schedule an Appointment Today

For more information about sleep apnea treatment in Calgary, AB, contact Sunridge Dental Clinic to book an appointment with our dentist in Northeast Calgary, AB.

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