Can Sleep Apnea Be Treated Without CPAP?

Natural sleep apnea treatments do work for many people

Sleep apnea (pronounced apnia), is sometimes dismissed as “just snoring”. It is a dangerous and rather common condition where the sufferer can literally stop breathing when asleep. This can happen repeatedly, sometimes hundreds of times, during the night.

Often sleep apnea sufferers can stop breathing for up to a minute which is quite alarming when you’re lying next to them listening! Although awareness of the disorder is gradually filtering through, it remains largely un-diagnosed, which is a shame because there are several natural sleep apnea treatments now available.

If you know someone who seems to constantly sleepy during the day, send them off to the doctors without delay. You’ll be doing them, and probably yourself a huge favor.It could be your partner or even a work colleague.

Sleep apnea can affect any age group and both males or females, but is mostly found in overweight males over forty.  Even if sleep apnea is not the cause, at least you’ll be helping them to stop snoring.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

This is the most common form of the disorder, others being central sleep apnea and a combination of the two.

Central sleep apnea

This is quite rare and is caused by the central nervous system failing to send the body a signal to breathe. It is mainly found in premature infants whose brain has not yet fully developed.

So let’s concentrate on obstructive sleep apnea…

This form of the disease can be inherited and is caused by an obstruction in the trachea. The tongue and muscles at the back of the throat relax which blocks the airway. Enlarged tonsils or adenoids can have the same effect.

The sleeper’s carbon dioxide level builds up and his oxygen level drops which send a message to the central nervous system. This partially wakes up the sufferer and causes him to gasp for breath.

If this happens several times in one night, the quality of sleep is severely affected. This leads to daytime sleepiness, reduced concentration, danger in operating machinery or vehicles, irritability, depression, impaired memory and inability to focus. The lack of oxygen may lead to high blood pressure, stroke and abnormal heart rhythm.

Sleep apnea, therefore, is a dangerous disorder. How do you know if you are affected? If you snore (someone will have told you by now!) and feel sleepy during the day, its worth getting checked out.

There are tests available in sleep laboratories, or the ENT section of large hospitals. A polysomnography measures bodily functions during sleep and can determine the severity of OSA.

There are now test devices which can be used at home as well currently being researched, ask your doctor if you can’t get to a sleep centre or laboratory.

Ok so you now know what’s been causing all your tiredness and low moods? Great! Now what? Well there are several options, behavioral, mechanical and surgical.

If sleep apnea can be prevented by merely adjusting your lifestyle this would be the best and simplest method to adopt …

Some natural sleep apnea treatments to try…

Try loosing a few kilos (if you are overweight!). Cut down on alcohol, especially before bed, sleep on you side rather than on your back and don’t smoke (you don’t do that do you?)

The CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device is probably the most reliable of the mechanical devices. The device has a mask which is fitted to the nose and mouth and blows air at a low pressure through the nasal passages. The pressure is adjusted so it is just enough to keep the airways open.

There are some possible side effects such as drying of the nasal passages and skin irritation but it will stop the OSA. The problem is it must be used all the time during sleep so its important to find one with a comfortable mask.

CPAP problems

There are many individuals who simply can’t use CPAP, mainly due to being kept awake by the discomfort or the noise. It’s also quite difficult to turn on your side while using the machine. Natural sleep apnea treatments are available and they do work. Case studies are provided by people who have beaten sleep apnea with these remedies.

Surgery is also a valid option but it has the associated risks and is not always guaranteed to work. Removal of excess tissues in the airway such as tonsils, adenoids or uvula may solve the problem or it may not. However it may be recommended if the other options are not suitable for you.

There is also a procedure where a tube is surgically inserted into the throat (tracheotomy) but this is usually used as a last resort.

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