Sleep apnea is a serious illness, but fortunately, treatment options such as oral appliance therapy can greatly reduce symptoms and allow patients to live full, productive lives. But can sleep apnea ever be completely cured? Is it feasible for someone with sleep apnea to get rid of it?
The Fundamentals of Sleep Apnea
The pauses in breathing that characterize sleep apnea symptoms are produced by a physical obstruction in the airway, which could be a larger tongue, huge tonsils or adenoids, a limp soft palate, or even a deviated nasal septum. These apneic episodes can occur up to 100 times each hour in the most severe instances! These blockages induce a halt of breathing, causing the body to fear and partially wake up to restore regular respiration. Learn more types, symptoms, and causes of sleepa apnea.
Can Sleep Apnea Be Cured Permanently?
Because anatomical factors cause obstructive sleep apnea, answering the question of a permanent “treatment” is difficult.
Sleep apnea can be treated indefinitely using a CPAP machine or an oral appliance. A CPAP is worn at night and operates using air pressure to open the airway. Although CPAP is an effective treatment for sleep apnea, many patients find it difficult or impossible to tolerate.
Another effective treatment that is often considered more comfortable for patients is oral appliance therapy, which looks like a mouthguard or retainer and projects the jaw forward during sleep to expand the airway. To obtain the intended results for the patient, you must wear both CPAP and oral equipment each night.
However, they can reduce a patient’s score on the apnea-hypopnea index (which evaluates the number of pauses in breathing per hour) to fewer than five, which doctors believe to imply total remission of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea surgery can transform a person’s anatomy, effectively “curing” the illness, at least in principle. However, success rates vary greatly, and the illness often returns, leaving patients unsatisfied.
Oral appliances and CPAP are the more dependable options overall. However, surgery may be necessary for severe instances, circumstances where no other treatment has worked, or at the patient’s choice.
Among the surgical options for treating sleep apnea are:
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) – entails removing and/or rearranging various tissues in the mouth and throat in order to enlarge the airway, such as clipping the soft palate and uvula.
This is the most common operation for sleep apnea; however, it is frequently combined with additional procedures such as tonsillectomies (to remove the tonsils) and adenoidectomies (to remove the adenoids) (to remove the adenoids, the glands in the roof of the mouth).
Septoplasty and Turbinate Reduction – These procedures open the nasal channel to allow more air to enter.
Genioglossus Advancement – This procedure includes moving the base of the tongue forward in order to make the entire tongue stiffer and less likely to collapse into the airway when sleeping.
Weight Loss; A Step Towards the Treatment of Sleep Apnea
Weight loss can benefit all obstructive sleep apnea patients, regardless of severity. In one study, a 10% weight loss predicted a 26% drop in AHI (or the apnea-hypopnea index, which measures the severity of sleep apnea).
Overweight people are more likely to have excess tissue in the back of their throat, which contributes to obstructive sleep apnea and by dropping weight, a person can effectively transform their anatomy, leading symptoms to be dramatically decreased, albeit not entirely eliminated in most cases.
The difficulty for anyone suffering from sleep apnea is that the disease can make weight reduction extremely difficult. It not only exhausts the patient, resulting in a lack of enthusiasm to exercise but it has also been demonstrated to alter eating patterns.
To break free from this pattern, many patients begin not only a diet and exercise regimen but also adequate sleep apnea treatment, so they have the energy and motivation to sustain new, healthy behaviors.
Sleep Apnea Lifestyle Solutions
Wearing a CPAP mask at night is a traditional treatment for sleep apnea. Although effective, some people find this strategy to be unsettling. Some home cures may provide the same advantages. Here are six non-traditional therapies for sleep apnea.
1. Keep a healthy weight
Doctors frequently advise persons suffering from sleep apnea to lose weight. Obesity, particularly in the upper body, might increase the risk of airway obstruction and nasal channel narrowing. These obstacles can cause you to stop breathing abruptly or for an extended period of time while sleeping.
Maintaining a healthy weight can help keep your airways open and lessen sleep apnea symptoms. According to Trusted Source, modest weight loss in patients with obesity can eliminate the need for upper airway surgery or long-term CPAP therapy.
In some circumstances, losing weight helps cure sleep apnea. However, if you regain your weight, the issue may reappear.
2. Experiment with yoga
Regular exercise can boost your energy, strengthen your heart, and help you sleep better. Yoga can help you strengthen your respiratory strength and increase your oxygen flow.
Sleep apnea is connected with low blood oxygen saturation. Yoga’s varied breathing routines help boost your oxygen levels. As a result, yoga minimizes the number of sleep disruptions you may have.
3. Change your sleeping position
Altering your sleep position, albeit being a minor alteration, can minimize sleep apnea symptoms and enhance your night’s sleep. According to a 2006 study, more than half of obstructive sleep apnea cases are position-dependent.
According to research, sleeping on your back, often known as the supine posture, can aggravate symptoms. Sleeping on one’s side can help some individuals’ breathing return to normal.
Discuss your body alignment and sleep apnea symptoms with your doctor to determine your treatment choices.
4. Make use of a humidifier
Humidifiers are air-conditioning devices that add moisture to the air. The body and respiratory system might be irritated by dry air. A humidifier can help open your airways, reduce congestion, and promote cleaner breathing.
For additional advantages, consider adding lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus oil to a humidifier. These three essential oils are well-known for their anti-inflammatory and relaxing properties.
When cleaning your humidifier, follow the manufacturer’s directions. Molds and germs can live in them.
5. Avoid drinking and smoking
Changes in your lifestyle can enhance your health and encourage improved sleeping patterns. To decrease sleep apnea consequences, consider stopping smoking and minimizing your alcohol use.
Alcohol relaxes the muscles in your throat that govern your breathing. This might result in snoring and a disrupted sleep pattern. It can also cause inflammation in your airways, obstructing airflow.
Tobacco usage, like alcohol, can cause inflammation and swelling in your airways. This can aggravate your snoring and sleep apnea.
Smoking was discovered as a risk factor for developing sleep apnea in a 2012 study by Trusted Source. The study noted that people with sleep apnea might be predisposed to smoking, so treating sleep apnea may aid in smoking cessation.
6. Make use of oral appliances
Oral appliances, which adjust your jaw or tongue to keep your airway open while you sleep, can help with sleep apnea.
Mandibular advancement devices and tongue stabilizing devices are the two major categories. These reduce the obstruction at the back of your throat by pushing your lower jaw or tongue forward.
A 2015 guideline recommends oral appliances for adults with sleep apnea who cannot tolerate a CPAP device. This guideline prefers custom-fit appliances to over-the-counter choices because they allow for fine-tuned jaw placement, resulting in greater sleep quality.
Some sleep apnea home remedies and lifestyle adjustments can help to alleviate symptoms. Traditional remedies, on the other hand, should not be overlooked. Prescribed drugs and, in rare cases, surgery is part of the treatment options for this illness.
Before exploring alternative treatments, discuss your alternatives with your doctor. Seek quick medical assistance if your symptoms worsen.