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 Is It Possible To Get Rid Of Sleep Apnea?

The American College of Physicians has announced new guidelines in terms of the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, some of which are for management and others for possibly getting rid of it entirely. Obstructive sleep apnea is a physical disorder in which airways get blocked during sleep, which can interrupt your breathing, possibly many dozens of times in just one night. Suffering from sleep apnea doesn't just make you tired during the day, but also puts you at elevated risk levels for other various conditions, such as high blood pressure and stroke.

For the most part, the only real way to get rid of sleep apnea is through weight loss. This typically works out well for anyone that's anywhere from overweight to obese. The connection between extra weight and having sleep apnea is well-documented. Overweight individuals tend to have a lot of excess tissue located in the backs of their throats. When they're asleep, that tissue can fall down right over the airway, blocking air from going into the lungs when the person sleeps.

Weight loss is certainly not easy, but it does yield tangible results in many patients. Not only can sleep apnea be improved, but heart disease and other issues might go away. Shedding just 10 percent of your body weight can have a tremendous impact on your symptoms of sleep apnea. In some circumstances, losing a lot of weight can outright cure this condition. Unfortunately, that's not an option for folks who are already at a healthy BMI but still have sleep apnea.

CPAP is an acronym for continuous positive airway pressure. CPAP machines are typically the initial treatment offering for sleep apnea cases, given the difficulties in weight loss. This is a device or mask that goes over the mouth and nose and blow air into the airways to keep them flowing and breathing at night. However, the clunky mask isn't something everyone is willing to stick with, as half of the patients who try it don't wind up sticking with it. Also, it's a treatment but not a cure, so if you're looking for a way to get rid of sleep apnea, it might be because you're already on CPAP and tired of wearing it at night or not willing to. Likewise, oral devices can be manufactured by dental professionals that keep the back of the throat open at night, albeit with less effectiveness than CPAP machines.

If weight loss isn't an option or just unsuccessful, then the only other attempt at a cure is surgical removal of the extraneous tissue from the throat or palate. It has side effects, though, so it's often used as a last resort, although it is an option if you have no other options.

Before anything can happen, the sleep apnea has to be confirmed though. If you have issues like daytime sleepiness and nighttime snoring, your doctor might refer you to a specialist for a sleep study. That can be done in a sleep lab or with a monitoring device at home. Once the sleep apnea is confirmed and the severity measured, then treatment options can be reviewed. CPAP machines and oral appliances have reasonable levels of success for treatment, but weight loss and surgical removal of throat tissue are often the only cures.

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