Experts estimate that nearly 18 million adults in Americans have sleep apnea. This sleep disorder, though common, can often present itself in different forms. As a result, there are also a wide variety of treatments available. However, t he goal of sleep apnea treatment devices is to increase airflow to your lungs. Airflow is blocked when the muscles around the tongue and throat relax to cause a blockage that air can’t get through. For mild sleep apnea, a mouth device or other gadget may be enough. For more severe cases, the CPAP machine is usually recommended. Here is a look at what is available for sleep apnea treatment.
Mouth devices are one of the more common ways to control sleep apnea symptoms.
Mandibular advancement device (MAD). These look like sports-related mouth guards. The device usually snaps over the upper and lower dental arches.The lower jaw is then eased forward which stabilizes the tongue and soft palate and keeps the airway open during sleep.
Tongue retaining devices. These devices work like a splint to hold your tongue in place and keep your airway open while you sleep.
If you are interested in a mouth device, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Bell. Only a qualified and experienced dentist can fit you for an effective dental device for your sleep apnea symptoms.
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, sleeping on your back with your back elevated from the waist up may help keep your airway from collapsing and reduce apnea symptoms. Foam wedges should be used and not soft pillows, according to experts. Some of the pillows to help relieve sleep apnea symptoms are designed to be used alone and some should be used with the CPAP machine. This option can be found online, comes in various styles, and is designed to elevate your upper body.
Sleep apnea pillows that are designed to be used without CPAP position your neck so the airway is more likely to remain open. Pillows to be used with the CPAP are meant to make it more comfortable to use. Some have features that reduce pressure from the mask or keep the mask from rotating out of place. Contact your sleep apnea specialist if you have additional questions about how pillows could help you with your sleep apnea.
About half of patients with sleep apnea experience most of their breathing problems while lying on their back. A simple and inexpensive trick t o keep people from sleeping on their backs, is putting a couple of tennis balls into a tube sock and pinning it to the back of your shirt or pajamas.
A recent study of this unique technique showed it did help some people. Of the 50 people who used the tennis ball method and reported back, 38% said they were still using it after six months. Those who were using it reported better sleep quality, more daytime alertness, and a decrease in the loudness of their snoring.
CPAP machines are probably the most popular treatment option for serious sleep apnea. This particular treatment uses a mask that fits over your nose and mouth. The mask is held in place with straps and blows air to keeps the patient’s airway open while they sleep. Luckily, these devices have become smaller, lighter, and quieter over the years. There are some common side effects, such as nasal congestion, dry mouth, and skin irritation. But all of these can be treated and reduced.
CPAP is highly effective, according to the National Sleep Foundation. But the key to success, as doctors emphasize, is to use the machine every night. The key to using a CPAP is making sure they fit comfortably. Because there are several different models sold, you should be able to find a mask that works for you.
Sleep apnea may be causing you to lose valuable sleep and could also negatively impact your health. Don’t wait to get treatment for your symptoms. Still have questions about the diagnosis, treatments and financing for your sleep apnea? Please feel free to read through the rest of our specially created sleep apnea website or call our office for more information.
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