Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea around. It is also a very difficult condition for a person to deal with.
Sleep apnea affects an individual’s entire life, as well as their ability to function in the right manner.
Of course anyone that is affected by the condition wants fast, effective treatment, and fortunately, there are many of them available.
Oftentimes it is actually figuring out that sleep apnea is the culprit is the most difficult part of the entire equation.
A Look at Obstructive Sleep Apnea
A few important facts about obstructive sleep apnea:
– Obstructive sleep apnea affects millions of people in the US. It is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions in the world, and many of those sufferers are unaware they are affected.
– Both children and adults can be affected by obstructive sleep apnea. It is very common in children ages 6 to 12.
– Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea vary in children and adults. Children with the condition oftentimes experience bedwetting, trouble concentrating and behavior problems while adults experience symptoms ranging from irritability to depression.
– Long-term consequences of sleep apnea are also of concern. Research has shown that individuals affected by obstructive sleep apnea are also at a greater risk for stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and a number of other conditions.
– Children and adults who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea causes the individual to stop breathing at various intervals through the night. For those with severe obstructive sleep apnea, those episodes can occur as frequently as 5 to 10 times per hour.
Other people will have the period where they stop breathing at least one time in a period of eight hours of sleep.
So many people have obstructive sleep apnea and do not realize their airways are being restricted and that they are suffering with any problem.
For this reason it is imperative that you are looking for the signs and symptoms of the condition in order to talk to the doctor and get the right help and the right treatment.
The Right Treatment
If you suspect that sleep apnea is bothering you, speaking to the doctor at once is critical. Only the doctor can diagnose sleep apnea, and this is usually done only after a sleep study have been conducted.
Treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea vary according to the severity of the condition. In almost all cases, lifestyle changes will be recommended to be made by the doctor.
If you are not living the healthiest lifestyle, this certainly can cause more problems in relation to obstructive sleep apnea.
Lifestyle changes include adding more physical activity to your life, eating a better diet and eating better portions of food.
You should aim for no less than 30 minutes of exercise of physical activity each day. Doing this will improve the airways and free the flow of air so obstruction is less likely to occur at night.
It will also help you feel better and increase the amount of energy that you have. When you make changes to the diet, you are also helping your body to be more powerful against obstructive sleep apnea.
Your diet should include plenty of lean meats and fresh fruits and vegetables. Chicken and fish are good sources of meat, and there is a variety of fruits and vegetables that can be enjoyed.
Look for fresh, in season fruits and vegetables, and remember to keep your plate as colorful as you possibly can.
Medical Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
There are a number of treatments that your medical professional can offer in addition to the lifestyle changes.
The doctor will make the decision of treating your condition based upon your symptoms as well as the severity of the condition.
Removal of the tonsils is usually one of the first treatment choices the doctor will consider. For most patients, particularly children, it is highly beneficial in eliminating the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.
There are medical appliances that can be used to help improve the quality of life when sleep apnea is present.
These appliances include palates for the mouth, and are typically used for those who are affected by medical problems.
The help of a specialist should be sought if you are bothered by sleep apnea. Your general doctor can make the referral to a doctor who specializes in Ear, Nose and Throat treatment. He is the best source of information and help for sleep apnea.
The specialist will perform what is known as a polysomnograpy to determine if sleep apnea is present. This tool can diagnose the condition, as well as determine the severity that you are suffering.
To complete this, an overnight stay inside of a medical sleep facility is required. This stay will monitor your sleep while you are there.
Once the night is over, an Apnea sleep index score will be given. There currently are no formal guidelines to follow in terms of the treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, but most specialists recommend that people with a score of 5 or greater be treated as quickly as possible.
When the number is between 5 and 10, or more than 10 if the child is younger than 12 years old, treatment for the condition should be started as soon as possible.
Positive airway inclusion is another option that is available for treatment. This can be done before or after the removal of the tonsils, but in most cases it is used only when that option did not provide the results hoped for.
Get Help Quickly
The bottom line is clear: Sleep Apnea is a serious condition, and it is affecting many people.
If you are not thriving in your life, or have a child that is experiencing problems, do not cross obstructive sleep apnea off of the list of possible causes. It is a condition that is easily treatable once it has been diagnosed.