Sleep apnea is a prevalent sleep disorder affecting millions of individuals worldwide. With sleep apnea, lack of oxygen disrupts your sleep throughout the night. There are several types of sleep apnea, but the most common is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This occurs when the soft tissues of the throat and tongue block the airway. Over time, it can lead to various health issues, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. One of the most common questions people have about sleep apnea is, “Does it go away?”
Understanding Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that requires ongoing management to prevent complications and enhance the quality of life. It does not resolve spontaneously. However, there are numerous treatment options that can effectively manage the symptoms and promote overall well-being.
CPAP therapy is one of the most effective treatments for sleep apnea. It involves wearing a mask over the nose and/or mouth during sleep, which delivers a continuous flow of air to keep the airway open. CPAP therapy has demonstrated significant success in reducing symptoms such as snoring and interrupted breathing. However, some people find CPAP therapy to be uncomfortable or inconvenient. Luckily, there are other options available.
For individuals who consistently find CPAP therapy uncomfortable or challenging to use, oral appliance therapy (OAT) is an alternative option. This treatment involves wearing a custom-fitted oral appliance during sleep. This device repositions the jaw and tongue to maintain an open airway. Oral appliances are comfortable, easy to use, and particularly beneficial for frequent travelers or those who find CPAP therapy cumbersome. In addition to physical devices, there are other ways to treat sleep apnea or manage your symptoms.
Alongside medical interventions, certain lifestyle modifications can help manage sleep apnea symptoms. Losing weight, quitting smoking, and avoiding alcohol are all beneficial ways to reduce the severity of sleep apnea.
Working closely with your dentist or healthcare provider, you can develop a comprehensive treatment plan incorporating necessary lifestyle adjustments and additional treatments.
The Importance of Ongoing Treatment
It is crucial to understand that sleep apnea is a serious condition requiring continuous management. Left untreated, it can lead to various health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea, it is essential to consult your dentist or primary care physician promptly to discuss treatment options.
In fact, sleep apnea can affect your entire body. For example, sleep apnea can diminish your immune system. Your immune system is responsible for keeping you healthy and fighting off infections. Because sleep apnea stresses your body, it reduces the efficiency of your immune system.
Additionally, you can eventually notice a decline in your cognitive function because you are unable to get proper rest at night.
Sleep apnea does not resolve on its own. However, with the available treatment options, you can effectively manage the symptoms and improve your overall health.