You’ve just gotten a diagnosis of sleep apnea. It certainly explains your daytime drowsiness and lack of energy. Now it’s time to be proactive to change the situation because sleep apnea can cause other health problems.
Here at Doueck Dental & Sleep Medicine, we see many patients with sleep apnea and offer them workable solutions. The following are steps you can take to get control of this condition and get your mojo back.
Understand your condition
What type of sleep apnea do you have? Obstructive, central, or complex sleep apnea? Ask for a copy of your sleep apnea report. It contains important information on your overnight sleep test and serves as a baseline for the future so that you can note improvement if you ever need to be retested. If you have questions, we can explain the specifics of the report to you.
Know the options for sleep apnea treatment
The two most commonly accepted treatments for sleep apnea are the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and oral appliances.
Using a CPAP machine requires you to use a mask that covers your mouth and nose or just your nose. Straps around your head hold the mask in place, and another attachment goes to the CPAP machine. It has a motor that blows air into your lungs all night as you sleep.
Dr. Doueck and Dr. Kassab are experts in treating sleep apnea, so they ensure that you receive the most appropriate treatment, whether it’s CPAP, an oral appliance, or combination therapy.
Seek prompt treatment for sleep apnea to avoid health complications
Aside from falling asleep during the day when you shouldn’t, research shows that sleep apnea is associated with numerous serious health conditions that can lead to death, including:
- Heart disease
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
When you can’t catch your breath at night, your body goes into overdrive to ensure your brain gets enough oxygen. Your blood pressure shoots up, and over time, can eventually damage your heart. Once your blood pressure goes up at night, your body has a hard time shutting down the signals that indicate you’re in oxygen distress, so it can stay elevated.
These possible health consequences of untreated sleep apnea provide a wake-up call to seek assistance promptly. Treatment helps lower blood pressure and reduces cardiac risk.
Make lifestyle changes if you have sleep apnea
Some modifications in your daily habits can actually help reduce the severity of your sleep apnea.
Maintain a healthy weight
A major cause of obstructive sleep apnea is being overweight or obese. And if sleep apnea isn’t treated, it can lead to weight gain, as sleep deprivation is associated with adding on the pounds.
Smoking makes sleep apnea worse. It irritates your throat and everything around it, causing swelling that in turn, closes the airway so you can’t catch your breath.
Consume less alcohol
Alcohol is a depressant. It relaxes your muscles, including the ones in your throat. If you lie down after consuming a lot of alcohol, your airway could be partially blocked.
Trying sleeping on your side
Sleeping on your back really makes your tongue muscles relax; your tongue may then obstruct your airway. If you’re not normally a side sleeper, use a pillow against your back or a therapeutic device to help you sleep on your side.
If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, or think you may be suffering with it, your best “next step” is to contact Doueck Dental & Sleep Medicine. Call our office in New York City or book an appointment online.