Sleep apnea in general is derived from the Greek word “apnea” which means “without breath”. It is defined as an involuntary cessation of breath while an individual is asleep. The most common form of sleep apnea is, Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It is characterized by audibly loud snoring because of blockage in the airways. In more severe cases, snorting or choking sounds may occur before breathing initializes again during these bouts of apnea. Science has shown that obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue and muscles around the soft palate which extends all the way back to the tongue are relaxed to the point where the airway collapses resulting in blockage.
Although snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, it is important to note that not all people who snore are actual sufferers of OSA. It is always best to have your local medical practitioner assess your symptoms to properly identify obstructive sleep apnea in an individual. With that being said, individuals who experience daytime fatigue or restless sleeps could be suffering from a sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea.
Other symptoms include but are not confined to, headaches, waking up abruptly in the middle of the night, sweating during sleep. Some symptoms are more often witnessed by a partner or family member, for example, bouts of choking or gasping for air during sleep and of course loud snoring. Mood swings, behavioural changes and being easily irritable are some of the other symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Collectively, these symptoms can affect fine motor skills and bring about dangerous situation when driving due to lack of focus and concentration. Individuals who are diagnosed with this form of sleep apnea, can also experience lack of concentration and memory loss in everday activities.
Conventional treatment for obstructive sleep apnea can range from antidepressant drugs for individuals who are diagnosed with a mild version of obstructive sleep apnea to surgery for the more extreme cases. Using a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine is another common form of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea sufferers. This device increases air pressure in the airyway to prevent the collapsing or blockage that eventuates in apnea sufferers. The CPAP machine is used at night when a person sleeps and consist of a mask that covers the nose and mouth or a mask that covers only the nose which is called a nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP).
Studies have shown that CPAP decreases that lack of energy during the day for sufferers and helps to moderate severe sleep apnea in its various forms, it is not without flaws. People usually find the CPAP mask uncomfortable and difficult to get used to. Irritation to the eyes and the face as a whole can result in certain people. The leaking of air around the mask resulting from improper fit s a major concern for most people. CPAP machines can be helpful for some, but for others it is can be an absolute nightmare due to poor patient compliance.
Alternative solutions have been shown to work just as well if not better than their conventional counterparts. Natural solutions to obstructive sleep apnea can certainly help if an individual is looking for alternative ways to cure their sleep apnea.