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    Managing sleep apnea

    Oct 06, 2016 · by Peter O · no comments

    Sleep apnea is a common disorder where the passage way is blocked leading to pauses while breathing. It can cause shallow breathing too which affects the breathing pattern of the patient.  These breathing pauses can last for seconds or minutes and occur for more than 30 times in an hour. The body resumes normal breathing with a snort or chocking sound.

    While in this state of breathing, the patient does not gather much sleep leading to tiredness during the day. Sleep apnea is a common disorder and a leading cause of daytime sleepiness. Due to the disrupt sleep pattern, varying from light to deep sleep, the patient is often lethargic and unmotivated during the day.

    The anatomy of a sleep apnea episode is more complicated than a loud snort or snoring. It is an intricate process that disrupts one’s sleep. The airflow stops and the level of oxygen drops in the blood. The brain responds to this disruption by disrupting sleep to normalize breathing.  At this point, the patient gasps or snores loudly to kick-start breathing.

    Types of sleep apnea

    There are several types of sleep apnea. The most common is the obstructive sleep apnea where the airway is blocked. The blockage then leads to sleep pauses and shallow breathing.  It is common with overweight people and children suffering from tonsillitis.

    Central sleep apneais a kind of the sleep disorder that happens when the brain does not send the correct signals to the muscles that control breathing. Unlike the obstructive sleep apnea which occurs because the airway is blocked, this type is caused by brain malfunction. It is less common than obstructive sleep apnea.

    Complex sleep apnea syndrome

    It is also known as mixed sleep apnea. It combines the symptoms of both central and obstructive sleep apnea.

    How to cure sleep apnea

    Since there are varied forms of the disorder, it is prudent to care for each type differently. Visit your doctor to find out more on ways to manage the condition. Overall, here are tips to manage sleep apnea for better rest.

    • Lifestyle changes

    The best way to manage sleep apnea is to make vital lifestyle changes. Being overweight is cited as one of the leading causes of sleep apnea. It therefore comes as no shocker that the way to manage sleep apnea is to live a healthy life by cutting excess weight. This is best done by regularly exercising to maintain a healthy body weight as well as maintaining physical fitness. A brisk walk or exercising for about 30 minutes is enough practice daily to lead a healthy lifestyle. Quitting smoking and limiting the intake of alcohol has also been known to help control sleep apnea. Also, reduce your intake of medications such as sleeping pills and tranquilizers that can obstruct the airway. When such irritants are reduced, the airway is left open for healthier breathing.

    • Airway management

    The leading type of sleep apnea is the obstructive sleep apnea, hence airway management is an important aspect of managing the condition. A patient can use continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP machine) which helps the patient breathe easier. Airway management may also refer to sleeping in the right posture to encourage breathing. Sleeping on the back is discouraged for sleep apnea patients. Train your body to rest on the side for an open airway.

    • Surgery

    Surgery may be an option to those who seek to open their airway rather than use a machine. There are several types of surgeries done to improve breathing such as tonsillectomy, palatoplasty and adenoidectomy.

    You might want to check with your doctor if you think that you may have sleep apnea. The disorder is manageable so you can enjoy a full night’s rest and more productive days.

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