Should I Consider A CPAP Device For Mild Sleep Apnea Treatment?
Do you snore loudly while sleeping? Do you feel tired even after a full night’s sleep? Do you wake up with a dry mouth and even a banging headache? If your answers to these questions are yes, then you might have mild sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which your breathing repeatedly stops and starts repeatedly. It is a serious sleep disorder that can lead to serious health problems if left untreated. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to hypertension, heart failure, enlargement of the muscle tissue of the heart(cardiomyopathy), stroke, heart failure, heart attack, diabetes. Untreated sleep apnea can also lead to unproductivity at school or work.
Types Of Sleep Apnea
There are two major types of sleep apnea. These include:
1) Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
This is the most common form of sleep apnea. It occurs when the throat muscles relax. People with obstructive sleep apnea experience repetitive episodes of complete or partial upper airway blockage during sleep. It involves cessation and a significant decrease in airflow even in the presence of breathing effort. It is associated with excessive daytime sleepiness.
Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Insomnia. This is the inability of the patient to get a sound sleep. It is often characterized by frequent arousals, restless sleep, and turning and tossing through the night.
- Loud habitual snoring.
- Nocturia. This is having to wake up frequently in the night to urinate. It can be caused by high fluid intake, bladder obstruction, and sleep disorders.
- Gasping and choking jolts that are capable of waking the patient from sleep.
These obstructive sleep apnea symptoms occur at night when the patient is asleep. Daytime obstructive sleep apnea symptoms include:
- Morning Tiredness. Waking up from sleep should be refreshing and make you feel energized. Waking up tired can be a daytime symptom of obstructive sleep apnea.
- Hypertension. Obstructive sleep apnea can cause an increase in the patient’s blood pressure.
- Morning headache.
- Dry or sore throat. This can occur from the patient’s consistent struggle for breath.
- Frequent personality and mood changes. This is characterized by depression, anxiety, etc.
- Sleepiness during activities that require alertness in the daytime.
- Sexual dysfunction (impotence and decreased libido).
Obstructive sleep apnea can be in three stages namely mild, moderate and severe. This is based on how many times your breathing stops while asleep. When your sleep is interrupted five to fifteen times per hour, a sleep apnea clinic near you can diagnose you with mild sleep apnea.
2) Central Sleep Apnea.
With central sleep apnea, your airway is not blocked. Rather, your brain fails to send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing while you are asleep. This is due to instability in the respiratory control center. Central sleep apnea originates from the central nervous system. This is mostly caused by underlying medical conditions, recent ascent to high altitudes, and frequent narcotic use. It is more difficult to treat than obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Treatment.
You can be diagnosed with sleep apnea through an evaluation based on your signs, symptoms, and sleep history. Also, series of tests can be conducted to diagnose sleep apnea. These tests include nocturnal polysomnography and home sleep tests.
To treat mild sleep apnea, your doctor might only recommend lifestyle changes including weight loss and quitting smoking and tobacco use. For nasal allergies, your doctor might recommend medication for your allergies.
However, if these methods do not work, or improve your signs and symptoms, certain devices can be of help in opening up a blocked airway. The most common devices used in sleep apnea treatment are called CPAP devices.
CPAP is an abbreviation for continuous positive airway pressure. A CPAP device is a machine that delivers air pressure through a mask while you are asleep. A CPAP device delivers an air pressure that is greater than that of your surroundings. This makes the air pressure enough to keep your upper airway passages open, preventing apnea, and snoring. A CPAP device is a very effective and the most common type of treatment device for sleep apnea.
Other sleep apnea treatment devices include oral appliances that help to keep your throat open, supplemental oxygen, and Adaptive servo-ventilation(ASV).
Untreated sleep apnea can be dangerous and life-threatening. Therefore, make sure to see a medical professional as soon as you see telltale signs of any type of sleep apnea.