Can Sleep Apnea Be Permanently Treated or Cured?

Can Sleep Apnea Be Permanently Treated or Cured?

May 25, 2021

The term ‘cure’ evokes the idea of a final resolution of a health problem, but when it comes to sleep apnea, ‘cure’ is relative. This is because sleep apnea is a lifetime condition and therefore you cannot get rid of it permanently. You can, however, reduce the symptoms like snoring and other associated problems.

Sleep apnea is when breathing stops and starts when you are sleeping, which disrupts the oxygen supply to the brain. Sleep apnea is dived into; obstructive, central, and complex sleep apnea.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea

OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea and it occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax. This narrows the airways, making it hard to breathe and get enough air. The brain will sense the disruption of oxygen flow and force you to awaken to open up the airways. This happens several times during the night, and you may not remember the occurrence. However, you will have tiredness in the morning because of it.

The obstruction of the airways also causes snoring, choking, and gasping of air.

Apart from having poor sleep quality, you will have daytime drowsiness, forgetfulness, headaches, and feeling grumpy.

  • Central sleep apnea

Central sleep apnea is also pausing in breathing when you are sleeping. Unlike the OSA, the disruption in breathing is caused by a lack of respiratory muscle activation by the brain. You may wake up suddenly with shortness of breath or have difficulty staying asleep.

  • Complex sleep apnea

This syndrome is when you have both obstructive and central sleep apneas.

Who is at Risk of Developing Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea affects all people, but several factors increase the risk in some people than others:

  • Excess weight
  • Thick neck circumference and narrow airway
  • Age
  • Smoking and the use of alcohol and sedatives
  • Nasal congestion
  • High blood pressure and diabetes can also increase the risk of sleep apnea

How Can You Manage Sleep Apnea?

As mentioned above, sleep apnea is a chronic condition, meaning you can manage it with lifestyle changes and other treatments. The Houston sleep apnea treatment may include:

  1. Lifestyle changes

Mild sleep apnea conditions can be treated and handled with lifestyle adjustments like:

  • Weight loss. Slimming down may get rid of the fat deposits around the neck that obstruct breathing.
  • Avoiding taking alcohol or sedatives. These medications decrease muscle tone in the throat which interferes with airflow.
  • Changing sleep positions (sleeping on the side) can help open the airways.
  • Stop smoking
  • Treating allergies

If these adjustments do not reduce the symptoms, then our Greenway dentist can recommend other treatments.

  1. Continuous positive airway pressure

The use of CPAP is ideal for people with moderate sleep apnea. The appliance helps to keep the airways open to allow the flow of air, which prevents snoring. Wearing the CPAP machine the first time will feel uncomfortable, but with time you will adjust to the tension.

  1. Other airway appliances

Some people may find the CPAP cumbersome and may benefit from using the other oral airways appliances. These oral appliances move the jaws forward, which opens the throat and relieves snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea. The dentist will give you different devices to try on to get the right fit.

  1. Surgery

Surgery is only recommended when these other treatments have failed or if you have jaw structure problems. Some of the surgeries that can be done include tissue removal that involves the removal of the tonsils, adenoids, and tissue at the top of the mouth.

The dentist may also perform a jaw repositioning procedure that is done to enlarge the space between the tongue and the soft palate.

Other surgeries like tissue shrinkage, nerve stimulation and tracheostomy (creating a new air passageway) can be done.

Final Thoughts

Sleep apnea can lead to other health complications like daytime fatigue, heart problems, and high blood pressure among others. Fortunately, these problems can be prevented if treatment is started early, so visit Greenway Dental Center for Esthetic and Implant Dentistry for assessment and treatment.