Sleep Apnea Cures
Are there really any cures for sleep apnea? Whether or not there are sleep apnea cures available
for you depend a great deal on the type and severity of your sleep
First there are two main types of sleep apnea, central sleep
apnea (CSA) and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). You can find more information about the different
types of sleep apnea here, but basically CSA is caused by
a central nervous system disorder that interrupts the normal signal
from the brain that tells the body to breath.
OSA, on the other hand, is caused by an actual obstruction to
the airway. The obstruction can be caused by many factors including
weight, shape of head, neck and jaw, size of tongue and tonsils,
etc. (There is also a third type of sleep apnea, complex sleep
apnea, that is a combination of both CSA and OSA.
Sleep apnea cures are more readily available for mild
sleep apnea. Other cures for sleep apnea are really treatments
that alleviate the symptoms and allow for easier breathing.
Simple and Natural Sleep Apnea Cures
If your symptoms are mild there are several things you
can do that can make a big difference.
LOSE WEIGHT — Since one of the primary
factors in developing sleep apnea is obesity the best thing
you can do to cure sleep apnea is to lose weight. Of course
this has many other benefits and will also help to put less
strain on your heart, reduce blood pressure and reduce the
risk of developing diabetes (all of which have been linked
to sleep apnea).
QUIT SMOKING — You know you should
anyway, but if you are suffering from sleep apnea you now
have one more good reason to quit smoking.
SLEEP ON YOUR SIDE — Sleeping on your
side, rather than your back will help because when you lay
on your back it is easier for your tongue and soft palate
to obstruct the airway. This is easier said than done because
many who go to sleep on their side roll onto their backs after
they are asleep. One solution is to sew a tennis ball into
the back of your pajama top.
AVOID ALCOHOL AND SEDATIVES — Taking
either alcohol or sedatives (including sleeping pills) can
contribute to sleep apnea by relaxing the throat muscles.
If possible avoid them for several hours before going to bed.
KEEP NASAL PASSAGES OPEN — Using nasal
strips or saline sprays to help keep the nasal passages clear
can provide some benefit. However, they may have drawbacks
as the strips can irritate the skin and sprays that contain
antihistamines should not be used long term without the approval
of your doctor.
Sleep Apnea Cures Through Surgery
Cures for sleep apnea that is more severe may require surgery.
There are various procedures that can be performed depending on
the cause of your sleep apnea.
It should be said, however, that surgery is not a guaranteed
sleep apnea cure. In some cases it may completely resolve the
situation and in others can help dramatically. However, surgery
is not without its risks and there is the possibility for infection
and even that the condition could be worse than before the sleep
Different surgical procedures that may provide relief
of sleep apnea symptoms are:
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) — This procedure may involve removing the uvula, soft pallet,
tonsils, adenoids and even part of the back of the tongue.
This is usually only done after continuous positive airway
pressure therapy (CPAP) has not been effective. It can alleviete
the symptoms but CPAP may still be necessary after surgery.
(In children often removing the tonsils and adenoids is sufficient.)
Maxillomandibular advancement — Another
procedure involves shifting the upper and lower jaw forward
to provide more room at the back of the throat. This can provide
excellent results, however, some facial changes will occur.
Genioglossus advancment (tongue advancement) may also be performed
along with this surgery.
Tracheostomy — As a last resort some
sleep apnea patients opt for a tracheostomy. In a tracheostomy
an opening is made in the throat and a breathing tube is inserted.
While the tube is covered during the day it is opened and
used at night for breathing as this does not require the patient
to breathe through the obstructed areas in the throat.
There are other treatments available but are they sleep
apnea cures? Rather than cures for sleep apnea some may simply help
to alleviate the symptoms and allow the patient to have as restful
a sleep as possible.
Marc MacDonald is an independent sleep apnea researcher who says he has found alternative treatments. His book is called, Cure Your Sleep Apnea Without CPAP.
Examples of other sleep apnea treatments are CPAP and BiPAP sleep
apnea masks, sleep apnea or
snoring mouthpiece, sleep
apnea pillow and supplemental oxygen.