Get Some Zzzz: 3 Non-Surgical Treatments For Sleep Apnea

From physical strength and emotional well-being, sleep is an imperative part of your life. Unfortunately, a large number of Americans do not get a sufficient amount of sleep each night due to various disorders. Characterized by frequent episodes of breathing loss while asleep, sleep apnea is a dangerous condition that affects an estimated 18 million Americans. Using an overnight sleep study, your doctor can determine if you are suffering with apnea. In addition, the testing ensures your doctor administers the right treatment for your specific case.

Surgery is an effective option for many sleep apnea patients. However, these invasive procedures require long periods of recovery. If you have sleep apnea, consider using one of these non-surgical treatment options for a safe, healthy night's sleep.

PAP Therapy

Dangerous breathing pauses while you sleep occur when your throat is closed. PAP therapy helps your throat remain open during sleep to prevent any breathing loss.

PAP, or Positive Airway Pressure, is the most common sleep apnea treatment. Using a specialized machine with nasal or full-face mask to force air directly into your airway, your throat is able to remain open you sleep.

Every patient is different and may require a specific form of PAP therapy for their apnea. For patients who need a continuous supply of air, CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, is effective. BiPAP therapy offers a variety of flow throughout the night. Check out sites like fore more CPAP information.

Dental Treatment

While surprising to hear, your dentist can help treat your sleep apnea, as well. OAT, or Oral Appliance Therapy, is a good option for patients who struggle sleeping while using PAP therapy.

OAT involves wearing a customized plastic device that is similar to a sport's guard or retainer. The oral appliance prevents the tongue and tissues in the back of your throat from collapsing while asleep. This helps the throat remain open while sleeping to prevent apnea-related pauses in your breathing.

Wearing an oral appliance while sleeping offers the following benefits:

  • Comfortable – Oral devices are comfortable to wear and only require seconds to pop in and out of your mouth.
  • Easy to Maintain – To keep your oral appliance clean, soak in a solution containing ½ cup of water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Rinse before wearing.
  • Convenient – Transporting these small devices is simple. Place in a container before traveling.
  • Non-Permanent – Not only is Oral Appliance Therapy non-invasive, but it is also a non-permanent option.

In some cases, your doctor may recommend combining the oral device with PAP therapy.

Diet and Exercise

Following a healthy diet and exercise plan is important for your health. In addition, it may also cure your sleep apnea. Reducing your overall body weight by just 5 percent can significantly improve your condition. Of course, losing the weight is not an easy task. Use the following tips to get you started on a healthy, weight-loss journey:

  • Avoid Fads – Fad diets may help you lose weight quickly, but they are not ideal for long-term success. Follow a well-rounded diet consisting of vegetables and lean meats.
  • Hydrate – Be sure to drink enough water each day. Men require an estimated 13 cups of water each day while women require 9 cups.
  • Exercise – If you are obese, you may not have much experience with exercise. Fortunately, walking is a great place to start your weight loss journey. Visit a park, go to a gym, or walk around your neighborhood for a few minutes each day. Increase the distance and time each day to increase strength and boost your metabolism.

A sleep apnea diagnosis may frighten you and your family, but understanding and treatment is necessary for living with the disorder.  Using this guide, you can treat your sleep apnea without invasive surgical procedures.