Sleep apnea is a disorder in which the patient momentarily but repeatedly stops breathing while sleeping. There are two types: central and obstructive. Central sleep apnea is caused by the brain’s failure to control breathing properly while the patient is sleeping.
Obstructive sleep apnea is by far the more common type. In obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles at the back of the throat don’t keep soft tissues from collapsing into the airway. Consequently, the patient can’t breathe. Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include chronic snoring, disrupted sleep, daytime sleepiness, irritability, and trouble concentrating. Untreated obstructive apnea can lead to conditions like high blood pressure, depression, or heart disease.
How can sleep apnea be treated?
There are a variety of treatments for obstructive sleep apnea in Surrey. After examining the patient, the doctor will describe the treatments they believe to be the most beneficial. As obesity can contribute to obstructive sleep apnea or make it worse, the doctor will often recommend diet and exercise to help the patient lose weight.
Some patients are more likely to experience sleep apnea if they sleep on their back. A treatment called “positional therapy” will help such patients to sleep on their side. The patient will wear a device that encourages them to remain on their side.
Common treatments for sleep apnea include CPAP machines and oral appliances. CPAP is an acronym for “Constant Positive Airway Pressure,” and it is a device that forces a steady stream of air down the patient’s airway.
Oral appliances are often recommended to patients who can’t tolerate the CPAP machine. They look like mouthguards or retainers. Depending on the type used, they keep the airway open either by keeping the tongue from flopping backward or by moving the lower jaw forward.