Can Obstructive Sleep Apnea Be Cured?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has relatively simple causes but, unfortunately, no cure. OSA is generally a chronic health problem characterized by a person experiencing abrupt, short breathing pauses while asleep. In addition, breathing stoppages are often accompanied by loud snoring. OSA happens when muscles and other soft tissues at the back of your throat become too relaxed during sleep. They then fall over your airway, making you snore, gasp and wake up when you can't breathe.
Some people experience complete blockage of their airways, which forces them to wake up within seconds of being unable to breath. Others experience only partial blockage of their airways. Partial blockage OSA is more serious than complete blockage OSA because blood oxygen levels fall dramatically while you are struggling to wake up. People with partial OSA may take up to 20 to 25 seconds to become fully awake.
Causes of Partial or Complete OSA
- Having larger than average tonsils
- Having a large tongue that falls over airways during sleep
- Being overweight
- Jaw abnormalities
Overweight people frequently have OSA when fatty deposits develop within upper airway walls. These deposits decrease muscle control of soft tissues that fall over the airway during sleep. Additionally, research has shown that obesity combined with large neck circumferences and hip-to-waist ratios tend to raise the risk of OSA in certain individuals.
In some cases, OSA may be the result of the upper jaw being longer than the lower jaw. Significantly uneven jaw sizes allow your throat tissues and/or tongue to fall back over your throat and obstruct your breathing while you sleep. Dentists use acrylic alignment devices that patients wear at night to help move the lower jaw more forward and to stop the tongue from laying over your airway.
Losing Weight to Reduce Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
If your doctor has determined your sleep apnea is due to being overweight, then it would be in the best interest of your overall health and well-being to begin a serious regimen of dieting and exercise. A study published by the American Thoracic Society found that "losing weight may be the most effective method for reducing symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea and associated disorders".
Since untreated sleep apnea can promote chronic disorders stemming from lack of oxygen and lack of restorative sleep, losing weight can also help reduce your risk of diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease.
What are Customized Treatment Options for Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
We at Medigas Manitoba understand how difficult it can be to lose weight, but even mild weight-loss can dramatically improve symptoms. Fortunately, there is an extremely effective treatment for OSA that will also help you lose weight by giving you a better sleep - we offer customized Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure machine treatment designed to address the specific cause of your sleep apnea.
Medigas offers a wide variety of CPAP machines that help you get a good night's sleep every night. CPAP machines generate a gentle stream of air that flows into a flexible tube attached to a comfortable mask you wear over your nose and mouth at night. This airstream keeps your airway open so you don't wake yourself up and your body and brain continue receiving oxygen.
Different styles of CPAP masks are available from Medigas Manitoba. Customizing a mask to address your needs involves learning about your breathing habits, the severity of your obstructive sleep apnea symptoms and if you feel the mask fits your face comfortably.
For example, men with beards or mustaches would benefit from a more snug-fitting nasal pillow mask. Simple nasal masks are cushioned and designed to provide a high pressure stream of air throughout the night. They are also recommended for people who are fidgety sleepers.
Obstructive sleep apnea is treatable and should not reduce your quality of life. Call us today to speak to a Medigas Manitoba representative who will take time to discuss your OSA and find the right customized treatment for you. If you suspect you have OSA but aren't sure, feel free to take sleep apnea questionnaire to determine if you are at risk for OSA: the questionnaire can be found here: Home Sleep Apnea Testing