Whilst sleep apnea is a very serious and progressive disorder, it is also highly treatable in a variety of different ways. How sleep apnea is treated depends entirely on the cause and type of sleep apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is by nature an obstruction within the airways which inhibits breathing during sleep. For this type of sleep apnea cures may be available to some people, it all depends on what is causing the obstruction.
In the case of the clinically obese, the tissues of the airways can bulk out due to fat tissue, causing the air passage to become narrower making it harder for air to pass through. If an obese person lost as much of their weight as possible, their air passages would be much more open and they would breathe much easier.
Quitting smoking or drinking can also help some suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Smoking inflames the tissues of the airways causing narrowing, whilst alcohol is a depressant causing the muscles and tissues of the airways to relax and close.
One of the most bizarre treatments for some Obstructive Sleep Apnea sufferers is playing the Australian instrument the didgeridoo. Because of how the didgeridoo is played, over time the throat muscles and tissues tone up so aren’t so prone to collapsing during sleep. As strange as this treatment may be, it really is worth a shot as studies show it can drastically improve or even cure Obstructive Sleep Apnea in some.
Surgery may also be used to treat some Obstructive Sleep Apnea sufferers by surgically removing or reducing the obstruction thus widening the airways. Commonly, the tonsils or adenoids aren’t helping matters so are removed. Devices are also sometimes used which can force the lower jaw forward during sleep, thus opening the airways, whilst some devices may hold the tongue in place to prevent it from flopping back over the airways during sleep.
For other people, there are mechanical treatments such as sleeping whilst hooked up to a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) system. This device works simply by keeping the airways open with air pressure.
Another tip for people suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea is to lie on your side during sleep. By lying on your back, the tissues of the throat and the tongue tend to collapse backwards causing obstruction. Lying on your side this doesn’t happen so much. Remembering this whilst you are awake and reading is one thing, but you are still likely to end up lying on your back at some point during sleep. For this there is another bizarre yet extremely effective tactic you can employ. If you have pyjama trousers with back pockets you can put a tennis ball inside each pocket. Now, if during the course of sleep you attempt to lie on your back, you will find this uncomfortable and instinctively manoeuvre to lie on your side again.
If you don’t have these kinds of pyjamas, you can always modify some you do have to accommodate a tennis ball or two.
If the cause of obstruction can be identified, then the suitable form of treatment can be provided.
Central Sleep Apnea isn’t a physical obstruction, but a glitch in the brains signals which result in the lungs not been given the instruction to breathe from time to time. A person may go for seconds or even a few minutes without drawing breath. Unfortunately, as this is a neurological issue, there is no permanent fix CPAP may sometimes be used to treat Central Sleep Apnea, although depending on the individual, a person will usually be put on a course of prescribed drugs which they may respond extremely well to.