Many people who suffer from sleep apnea are unaware of the risks it poses to their health if left untreated. Unfortunately, those who do seek medical treatment do not always benefit from certain methods.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder involving interrupted breathing, choking, gasping, and snoring. It can be caused either by relaxed throat tissue or by issues with brain signaling. Despite the American medical system’s reliance on drug-based treatments, drugs and medications are generally ineffective in treating sleep apnea. Some of the drugs that have been suggested as treatments because of their short-term relief of some sleep apnea symptoms are Fluticasone, Donepezil, Paroxetine, and Fluoxetine (Prozac). However, none of these drugs have demonstrated any substantial relief for sleep apnea, and several can create unpleasant side effects like significant weight gain.
Oral and breathing devices appear to be better treatment options for sleep apnea relief. Oral devices are sometimes suggested to reposition your tongue and lower jaw in mild cases of sleep apnea. Alternatively, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are the most common option for treating moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea. Although these forms of treatment require some adjustment to get used to them, dental devices and CPAP devices can be highly effective at ensuring appropriate breathing during sleep.
Patient compliance, however, is a major obstacle for treating sleep apnea effectively. Studies have indicated that CPAP machines and other devices, although helpful when used correctly, can have low patient compliance because of their awkward structure or extensive requirements. Additionally, although CPAP improves daytime sleepiness and cognitive performance in sleep apnea patients, its effects on prognosis, cardiovascular events, or traffic accidents is unclear.
If you are seeking treatment for sleep apnea, it is important to see your doctor to determine which methods will work best for you and to promote compliance. He or she may suggest other treatments such as surgery or supplemental oxygen and may encourage you to make lifestyle changes like losing weight to alleviate your symptoms.