Snore? Sleep apnea treatments go beyond CPAP

Snoring can be more than annoying for your partner. It can be a sign of a serious health issue. There are various treatments to help you and your partner get some sleep.

“It becomes hard to operate. You have to be up at six, seven o’clock because the kids are up and you’re unable to do that,” said Manish Amin.

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He decided to talk to his doctor about a doing a sleep study.

“An overnight sleep test can detect whether you have obstructive sleep apnea, which is when your breathing pauses during sleep because something blocks your airway, like your tongue or relaxed throat muscles,” said Consumer Reports’ Kevin Loria.

If not treated, obstructive sleep apnea can cause daytime sleepiness, strain the heart, and increase the risk of anxiety, diabetes, high blood pressure and even stroke.

The primary treatment is the CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, machine.

The user is fitted with a mask that connects to a pump that pushes air into the airway, holding it open during sleep. CPAP does significantly decrease sleep interruptions. But, users have complaints.

“It requires daily cleaning, so it’s another thing to add to the daily routine,” Amin said.

If the full-face mask isn’t for you, the nasal pillow or nasal mask are options.

Yet another is a custom-made dental device.

“They’re designed to move the jaw and shift the tongue toward the front of the mouth to keep the airway open. This can be used with CPAP,” Loria said.

Then, there are devices like Inspire, which is implanted in the upper chest like a pacemaker. The device stabilizes the throat during sleep to keep the airway open. There’s no hose or mask, so it may seem much more convenient. It’s not an easy fix because it does require surgery.

Losing weight, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol can all help ease obstructive sleep apnea symptoms such as snoring. Sleep issues can be serious. The first step to restful sleep is to talk to your doctor.

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