Sleep apnea can occur in persons of all age groups and it is more common in men than in women. The exact way in which the sleep disorder affects the individual is that the pause in breathing leads to the build-up of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream, which then prompts the brain to wake the person up to breathe in oxygen. The individual will fall asleep again but the sleep quality would be poor, followed by tiredness and daytime sleepiness.
These are the two types of sleep apnea, with the latter being the rare one.
- Obstructive sleep apnea – In this type, the breathing is stopped due to the blockage of the airway. This happens when the muscle relaxation during sleep cause the soft tissue at the back of the throat to collapse.
- Central sleep apnea – Under this type, the airway is not blocked as such but the unstable respiratory center results in the failure of the brain to signal to the muscles to breathe during sleep.
The breathing disruption brought on by sleep apnea does not happen during the daytime due to the stiffness of muscle in the airway that promotes normal breathing. Sleep apnea is present when:
- The throat muscles relax more than the normal amount
- Larger tongue and tonsils, with a narrower windpipe
- Excess weight that causes an extra layer of fat to form in the throat
- The unusual shape of the head
The persons who are at greater risk of developing sleep apnea are those who are male, overweight, older than forty, have nasal obstruction from certain problems, genetically inclined, and have a large neck size.
Signs and symptoms
Among the many signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, the one that is more frequently observed is that of chronic and loud snoring. This tends to be more when the individual sleeps by lying on the back. Another symptom that is also easily recognizable is feeling extremely sleepy in the daytime and falling asleep quickly when not active. The affected individual is also likely to experience difficulty concentrating, trouble learning, headache, irritation, depression, mood swings, and waking up with a dry mouth.
Treating sleep apnea
The treatment for sleep apnea is focused more on restoring normal breathing during sleep and in relieving the side effects that occur because of the problem. The lack of treatment can result in an increased risk for stroke, heart attack, diabetes, obesity, irregular heartbeat, and heart failure. The recommended treatment methods include behavior therapy to correct habits that can trigger sleep apnea, suitable medications, using devices to keep the air passageway from collapsing during sleep, and surgery too if required.
Treating sleep apnea through Medications
Sleep medications and drugs that can produce muscle relaxation are generally not used for managing sleep medication. However, research has shown that buying Ambien online and consuming it can aid in treating central sleep apnea. Ambien, the brand name of Zolpidem, is typically used for treating insomnia.
According to the research on the sleep medication for central sleep apnea, patients who were administered with the drug over a period of six weeks showed a marked decline in the condition. Sleep apnea is generally characterized by a minimum of five episodes in an hour. The research on Ambien demonstrated results wherein the number of episodes in an hour dropped from around 30 to about 7 per hour. These results are very promising indeed.
Further research is required to determine the suitable dosage of Ambien for the treatment of central sleep apnea. The safety of use is also yet to be fully established. The doctors that do prescribe Ambien for this condition may do by providing an off-label prescription. The drug may not work in curing the sleep disorder but it has definitely opened avenues for exploring this option.
Ambien is taken only under medical supervision as it has mild potential for abuse and addiction. If you wish to try this particular sleeping pill for your sleep apnea, then request the doctor for the same so it can be safely used.
Making lifestyle changes
Lifestyle changes do matter in a major way when getting the sleep apnea treated. Some activities and habits that should change are as follows:
- Avoid drinking alcohol or taking drugs that can make you feel drowsy.
- Taking steps to lose weight to reduce the symptoms, particularly if you are obese or overweight.
- Quitting the habit of smoking if you do as it can affect the nasal passageway.
- Sleeping to the side on the bed rather than lying flat on one’s back.
Using devices to help breathe
There are many devices that can help breathe during sleep by helping to keep the nasal passageways open. One among them is the mouthpiece, which is an oral appliance. The device is usually used by dentists to align the jaw but it can also be custom-made to manage sleep apnea.
A CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is a device that is commonly used for sleep apnea in adults. It is worn like a mask over the nose or mouth to keep the air passageway open. Some devices also gently blow in air to enable breathing better.
Surgically treating sleep apnea
Surgery is only an option for those individuals who are likely to benefit from it. The type of surgery done depends on how exactly it causes the sleep apnea problem. Some persons may require widening of the nasal passageways by shrinking or removing the excess tissue that block normal breathing. Surgery may also be performed in those have nasal blockages. Children may have to get the tonsils removed, though the doctor may decide to wait to see if it shrinks without surgery.