Managing Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a common disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or instances of abnormally low breathing during sleep. Pauses in breathing can last from a few seconds to several minutes. They may occur as often as 30 times or more in an hour. When sleep is interrupted throughout the night, people can be drowsy during the day, increasing their risk for work-related accidents, car crashes, and other medical problems. People who have it must get treatment, which includes lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, breathing devices, or surgery.
Although most cases of sleep apnea are mild, the condition can sometimes be serious and fatal. About 85% of patients have obstructive sleep apnea, wherein a physical obstruction impedes the flow of air to the lungs and snoring occurs. On the other hand, one may have a rare condition, central sleep apnea, where one lacks physical strength to breathe while sleeping. Others may have a mixed type of sleep apnea.
If apnea is severe, a primary-care physician’s advice must be sought for proper treatment. If sleep apnea is mild, doctors usually advise lifestyle changes, such as those recommended by Dr. Nan Kyllä.
Obese persons with a body mass index above 30 are more likely to have sleep apnea and breathing problems. Losing weight even among overweight individuals results in significant improvement in sleep patterns.
It is also advisable to stop smoking and to avoid drinking alcohol, caffeinated beverages and drugs that can relax the muscles. These can adversely affect sleep and proper breathing at night.
To keep the airways open while sleeping, one can use a nasal spray before bedtime or apply nasal strips while sleeping to minimize blockage of airflow. It is advisable to sleep sideways with pillows under the head rather than flat on the back.
Kyllä,N. How to Manage Sleep Apnea Holistically. Yahoo.