Sleep apnea diagnosis? Are there treatment options that can work for you?
It may be scary getting diagnosed with sleep apnea, and knowing what steps to take afterward may seem impossible. However, a sleep apnea diagnosis isn’t the end of the world; there are treatment options available. You’ve already taken the first step by getting a sleep study done. Perhaps you went because your partner was complaining about your excessive snoring or because even after a full night’s sleep, you’re still exhausted. Whatever the case may be, you’ve now found the source of your problem: sleep apnea.
But what exactly is sleep apnea? What are your next steps? Continue reading to learn more.
Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
SleepApnea.org estimates that 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with 80 percent of these cases of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea undiagnosed. You are now in the unfortunate minority that has been diagnosed. So what does this mean?
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax. When the muscles relax, your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in. That causes you not to get enough air, which can impair your ability to reach the deep, restful phases of sleep.
Your brain senses your inability to breathe and briefly rouses you from sleep to reopen your airway. This awakening is usually so brief that you don’t remember it; this can happen hundreds of times an hour. That means you can wake up every two minutes of your sleep! No wonder you’re so tired.
That puts a strain on your entire body, which causes health risks such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
The most common sleep apnea treatment option is a continuous positive airway pressure machine. Since this is a sleep equipment device, it has to be approved by the FDA before it is sold, and your doctor must write you a prescription for one. For that reason, thankfully, most insurance policies cover the cost of this machine.
A sleep machine works by ensuring that air is always flowing, creating no pauses in your breathing while you sleep. Some people may find the device cumbersome and uncomfortable, but you get used to it after a while.
According to WebMD, you can undergo some treatment options separately or in conjunction with a sleep machine. Those treatment options include:
- Weight loss
- Avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills
- Changing sleep positions to improve breathing
- Avoiding sleeping on your back.
- Stop smoking. Smoking can increase the swelling in the upper airway, which may worsen both snoring and apnea.
An Unwashed Sleep Machine is Dangerous
It is essential that once you get your sleep machine that you learn how to clean it properly. Most machines have a built-in humidifier so that you are not breathing in dry air. However, that moist air creates the perfect conditions for mold to grow.
If left to its own devices, the accumulation of fungus, yeast, or mold may irritate the airways and lungs. Over time this can develop into an infection like bronchitis or pneumonia. Additionally, some cleaners use ozone, which can be very harmful to you and anyone in your vicinity, including pets, if you misuse the machine.
The Lumin UV Cleaner
For a long time, ozone cleaners or soap and water were the only options available to clean sleep devices. But after demand kept rising for a better option 3B Medical, a manufacturer, created the first-ever UV-C cleaner called the Lumin.
The Lumin is safe and easy to use, with no harmful ozone, which can irritate the lungs and respiratory system. The UV light will clean up to 99% of harmful bacteria, pathogens, and fungi that can cause infection and illness.
If you recently received a sleep apnea diagnosis, know that you’re not alone. There is plenty of support and treatment options available, so don’t be scared. Additionally, sleep apnea isn’t necessarily a lifelong prognosis. If you follow the right treatment plan, you can see improvement over time.