Sleep apnea – a sleep disorder that interrupts your sleep due to lack of oxygen – is hard to diagnose because it occurs while the patient is asleep. Usually, it’s the person that sleeps next to the patient that ends up beginning the diagnosis process because they are the ones witnessing the signs of your sleep disorder first-hand. However, in order for a doctor to properly diagnose the severity of your disorder, you’ll need to undergo a sleep study – completed overnight, while you’re asleep, to monitor the oxygen levels throughout your body. How is sleep apnea treated? Depending on the severity of your condition, the disorder can be treated several different ways.
Mild Lifestyle Changes
For mild disorders, your doctor may recommend a few lifestyle changes revolving around your diet, exercise, and unhealthy habits in order to help your sleep apnea dissipate. This sleep disorder is caused by the relaxation of your throat muscles while you sleep – making it more difficult for your airway to stay open and your brain to get oxygen. So, the idea behind a lifestyle change is that a healthier body is more likely to be able to continue contracting your muscles (and opening your airway) while you sleep.
A continuous positive airway pressure machine is used for moderate to severe cases of sleep apnea, in order to push oxygen into the body continuously throughout the night. This encourages the airway to stay open using minimal pressure in order to let you sleep comfortably, without interruption.
For extremely severe cases of this sleep disorder, your dentist may recommend that you undergo oral surgery in order to remove soft tissues from the back of your throat. Removal of these tissues will help to keep your airway open so your muscles won’t have to work as hard – making it easier for your body to continue to breathe throughout the night.