Sleep is such a crucial part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Even then, very few people understand the importance of sleep, until they have a disorder that continuously Disrupts their sleeping patterns.
One of the most common types of sleep disorder that people suffer from is sleep apnea. It can affect anyone, and be a cause of many other health problems unless properly treated.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
It is a sleeping disorder linked with poor breathability or lack of thereof, during sleep. Technically, patients with sleep apnea stop breathing for a couple of seconds or minutes when they are sleeping. The short episodes of poor breathability, therefore, affect their quality of sleep, while causing other health problems in the body.
Sleep apnea can potentially be a life-threatening disorder, because of how repeatedly the breathing stops as you sleep. The main problem is usually how hard it can be to detect sleep apnea, especially if it is mild. Even though there are different types of sleep apnea, the most common one is obstructive sleep apnea.
What Are the Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea?
To prevent this disorder from threatening your life, you must be attentive to identify the warning signs. Some of the common ones are:
- Loud snoring – many of the people who snore at night are teased for it. However, it may just be the sign you should consider to detect sleep apnea.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness – is usually an indicator that you did not sleep well at night. If you always need to find a reason to sleep during the day, get checked for sleep apnea.
- Abrupt gasping and choking while you sleep – it is usually an attempt for your body to get more air when enough isn’t being supplied when you sleep. These signs can also be accompanied by dry mouth if you have been gasping and choking for a long time during the night.
- Morning headaches and sore throat – the insufficiency of oxygen will put a strain on your entire body, which is why you are likely to wake up with a headache almost every morning. If you also have a sore throat on several of those occasions, it may just be the indicator you need to get tested for sleep apnea.
- Irritability and mood changes – during the day, you may experience a shift in your moods, with an increased sense of irritability. It may even come with a difficulty concentrating when it matters the most.
Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is not a novel disease. It can be diagnosed by many doctors, including a dentist. This means that the treatment options available are plenty so that there are choices for everyone. The top treatment alternatives for this sleeping disorder are:
- Lifestyle changes – some of the reasons you are having a hard time breathing when you sleep may be caused by your choices in life. A doctor may recommend adjusting some routines to include changes in your diet, as well as an increased exercise level. Some of the things you may need to change include:
- Quit smoking
- Lose weight – for obese and overweight patients
- Eat healthily
- Exercise more often
- Reduce consumption of alcohol
- Adjust your sleeping position
- Mouthpiece – it is an oral device designed to help keep your throat open when you sleep. The goal is to improve airflow. The oral appliance is often recommended for patients with mild and moderate sleep apnea.
- Surgery – there is a particular surgical procedure that can remove certain tissues in your mouth, including tissue from the back of your mouth, top of your throat, adenoids, and tonsils. The procedure should help reduce your snoring at night, and drastically improve your breathability.
When Should You Seek Treatment?
Sleep apnea treatment is available for a reason. As soon as you determine one or more of the warning signs enlisted above, make an effort to see your doctor. The sooner you get treatment, the better your chances of regaining normalcy in your sleeping patterns. Besides, some of the consequences of sleep apnea can be as extreme as causing heart problems and even leading to a stroke.