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Sleep Apnea Treatments

Daytime sleepiness and snoring are just two symptoms which many people erroneously believe they must accept, but the cause of these could be a chronic breathing condition called sleep apnea. There are two types of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea treatments depend upon the type, but the most common, and easily treated, is obstructive sleep apnea. This occurs when the muscles of the throat relax. This causes tissues at the back of the throat to sag and block the airway. When this happens, the patient will stop breathing for at least ten seconds, up to a minute. For sleep apnea treatment to be required, usually, the patient must have several episodes of these cessions of at least once a week. In severe cases, the physician might consider surgery, but only as a last resort.


One of the most effective non-surgical sleep apnea treatment is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines. These prevent obstruction of the airway by forcing air, via a mask, non-stop down the throat of the patient as he sleeps. There are many factors which affect how well these units help to alleviate sleep apnea symptoms. One of the most important of these is patient compliance with the treatment. One missed night of not using the CPAP machines can bring an episode of sleep apnea back. This puts the patient at an increased risk for daytime drowsiness and accidents the very next day.


A patient will not comply with using the CPAP machine sleep apnea treatment if he is uncomfortable with it. Discomfort is often the result of an ill-fitting mask. The patient should find a CPAP masks which fits snuggly over the nose and or mouth. A masks which does not fit correctly can leak air out of the sides. This reduces the pressure of the airflow, and it will lessen the treatment's effectiveness. There are two main types of mask. The most popular, and more comfortable to use is the nasal CPAP masks. These cover just the nose, rather than the entire face. Patients prefer these since they are not as constricting.


Another potential source of discomfort from this sleep apnea treatment which is easily remedied is dryness in the nose and throat experienced by some patients. A simple addition to the CPAP machine to prevent drying of the tissues is a CPAP humidifier. This option forces the air from the unit through a humidifier which moistens the air and eases dryness.  By making the patient more comfortable, he will be more likely to use the unit and prevent the need for surgery.