Sleep apnea is a common breathing disorder that, when untreated, can have severe health and safety consequences for you and people around you.
Marina Abramskey, a Registered Respiratory Therapist at CanSleep Services, says that sleep apnea can go undetected for many years. “People adapt to their symptoms of feeling tired and fatigued during the day and often attribute it to other events going on in their lives,” Abramskey said.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea. It is caused by blockages in the airway, especially when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses. However, not all types of sleep apnea present the same dangers. Abramskey said those with severe sleep apnea are two times more likely to suffer from a heart attack or a stroke than someone without it, and are three times more likely to get into a car accident.
While there is no cure for sleep apnea, there are several different kinds of effective treatments. The most popular and effective one is using Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices. Abramskey said CPAP devices are non-invasive, have no side effects, and can be used by anyone. “Millions of people use it worldwide,” Abramskey added. “It restores your energy levels, can reduce blood pressure and add years to your life.”
Other forms of treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea include using an oral appliance. Specially designed oral appliances, engineered by CanSleep’s sleep dentist, advance the jaw forward, providing an opening at the back of the airway. Depending on the factors causing the obstruction, Abramskey also suggested different forms of surgery that can treat OSA.
CanSleep Services also suggests lifestyle changes that can remedy OSA and other types of sleep apnea. With the help of a Registered Holistic Nurse, CanSleep can improve the quality of patients’ lives in all areas that affect sleep and overall wellbeing. Abramskey says avoiding alcohol and smoking can help inflamed or irritated airways, whereas diet and exercise can help in weight loss, potentially decreasing the amount of tissue around the upper airway.
Though, sometimes, it can be as simple as the position you sleep in. “Most people’s sleep apnea is worse on their backs, so sleeping on their side may help with the severity of sleep apnea,” Abramskey explained.