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Sleep Apnea Treatments And How They Can Fit Into Your Life

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects thousands of people every day; it can range in seriousness but is treatable. For some sufferers symptoms simply include snoring and labored or shallow breathing called hypopnea, while for others there are pauses in breathing where the sleeper actually stops altogether. This can be dangerous if breathing doesn’t commence in a timely manner, and there have been different treatments created, with newer technology popping up all the time to improve upon these methods. For a look at a few of the different ways you can treat your sleepers apnea, read on below.

Night Mask

The most common way to prevent the symptoms of sleep apnea is through the use of a mask. This mask helps air flow through the airway and can prevent it from collapsing when you breathe in and out during sleep. Although it isn’t heavy, it can be awkward to wear and many people find it rather uncomfortable, especially when you’re trying to sleep at night. For this reason, finding newer methods of treating this issue has been important to sufferers for quite some time now. Dennis Thompson of Web MD explains: “With CPAP, patients wear a nose and mouth mask attached to an motor, and the mild air pressure maintained by the pump keeps their airway from collapsing -- much in the way that an air pump keeps an inflatable holiday lawn decoration from flopping over.”

Due to the fact that the mask covers both your nose and your mouth, it isn’t exactly the most romantic piece of equipment that you’ll have in the bedroom, which is one of the major turn offs for many users. It can be rather startling at first while families are getting used to seeing you in this during the night, but once you’re all used to it, even the bulkiness will seem less problematic.

Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure

With the need for improvement on the CPAP machine, a newer method of treating your sleep apnea has been found through a tool that goes over only your nose rather than your entire face. It still may leave you sleeping on your back in order to get comfortable, but there will be far less equipment to worry about. The way that this works is by creating expiratory airway pressure in a positive way. advises: “One of the newest treatment options for sleep apnea is an alternative form of CPAP called Provent, a device that fits over the nostrils and is smaller and less intrusive than the traditional CPAP machine.”

Basically, as you breathe in the opening covering your nostrils widens to let air in without any obstruction, but as you exhale it closes over so that there is pressure created in the nostril and the airway is forced to stay open rather than shutting tightly as you exhale and prepare for your next breathe. This is where snoring and shallow breathing often comes into play because normally as you exhale and begin your next inhalation the airway will be sucked closed through pressure that forms and you will find yourself unable to breathe.

New Implant

If you don’t want to wear anything with you to bed and hope to sleep normally as others do then there is a third option for you that involves no masks or face coverings of any kind. This does mean that you’ll need to undergo a small surgical procedure where a device is actually implanted to stimulate your jaw into remaining in the right position to keep your airway open permanently.

Catherine Saint Louis from the Well section of The New York Times writes: “Now scientists may have found an alternative, at least for some patients: a pacemaker-like device implanted in the chest that stimulates a nerve in the jaw, helping to keep part of the upper airway open.”

Of course there are some serious things to consider when thinking about this procedure other than the fact that you’ll need to go under the knife. Any kind of pacemaker style technology with an implant left below the skin means that you’ll have to undergo further procedures in order to replace the battery that is being used. In the end you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons for yourself and decide on which method works best for you.

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