Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder whereby breathing is obstructed with stops and starts. If you snore too long and often feel tired after a full night’s rest, that right there is a sign of sleep apnea. There exist three main types of sleep apnea, namely;
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This is a common form of sleep apnea that happens when the throat muscles relax.
- Central sleep apnea happens when the brain fails to send proper signals to the muscle in charge of breath control.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome also referred to as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, occurs when a person experiences both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
If you feel you’ve got sleep apnea, consult your doctor immediately. But can HBOT also help with sleep apnea? Is it recommended or it’ll worsen the condition? Well, this article covers all that needs to be known. But before that, let’s know what causes sleep apnea as well as the possible risk factors.
WHAT REALLY CAUSES SLEEP APNEA?
Sleep apnea is a form of disorder that occurs when there’s a collapse between any parts from the tip of your nose to the lungs. This makes sleeping difficult as it disrupts breathing. It generally occurs due to a person’s anatomy, as an enlarged turbinate, at the nose may cause the disruption. Also, a floppy soft palate, a big tongue, and big adenoids or tonsils may disrupt air passage at the throat region.
In a situation where the snoring becomes too much, it will lead to vibration in the airways and possible damage. This, however, fosters swelling, which makes the airway somewhat narrow. At this point, your nerve receptors lose their functionality and become less responsive, while the muscles lack the ability to keep sufficient tone to assist the airway.
Other possible causes of sleep apnea include;
- Bad sleeping posture
- When you always sleep on your back
- The tongue tends to fall back into the airway leading to a blockage
- Excessive intake of alcohol, especially a few moments before you sleep.
- Weight gain, especially when it leads to an accumulation of fat on the neck, leading to a fat neck.
Rapid weight gain or obesity is the most notable risk factor for sleep apnea. Losing some pounds here can improve sleep and reduce the severity of sleep apnea symptoms. Studies have shown that overweighed people who shads off some pounds tend to experience a reduction in the size of their tongue. This thereby reduces the airway complications imposed by obstructive sleep apnea. But what happens when skinny people also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea? Well, I guess weight is not the issue here, and situations like this in thin people are more difficult to tackle. But with constant treatments, they’re sure gonna have positive results at the end of the day.
CAN OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA GO AWAY NATURALLY?
Unfortunately, obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic condition that doesn’t go away like that. But there are various methods to improve your quality of sleep. The most recommended is using HBOT with hyperbaric oxygen chambers. Obstructive sleep apnea may be treated successfully for kids, but it may include many processes. However, the most notable option for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea include the following;
- Orthodontic therapy; helps expand the hard palate, an operation known as rapid maxillary expansion.
- Treatments for notable allergies.
- Removal and getting rid of adenoids and tonsils.
Surgical options exist for teenagers and adults, with jaw advancement surgery being the best among others. Also known as maxilla-mandibular advancement, this surgical procedure can be highly effective, relieving the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. This is a major jaw surgery that’s keen to restructuring the jaw bones, fixing them in place with titanium screws and plate. This changes the facial profile of a patient, thereby improving their airways.
Aside from this, other surgeries that can be used to change the anatomy exists, but there aren’t as effective as jaw advancement surgery. These surgeries include;
- Septoplasty aims to repair deviated sputum.
- Tongue surgery and movement of the tongue anchors (also called hyoid advancement)
- Soft palate surgery like the uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. (UPPP)
- Radiofrequency ablation which seeks to relieve nasal congestion and obstructions.
HOW CAN I REDUCE THE RISK FACTORS OF SLEEP APNEA?
There are various medications and lifestyle changes that may be beneficial to your sleep apnea. Quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, and carrying out regular exercise can help you stay active.
Some breathing exercises can help boost your airway muscle tone. Research even shows the positive effects of circular breathing techniques in playing the didgeridoo, or tongue-strengthening exercise known as myofunctional therapy. However, there isn’t any legal backing for the effectiveness of these techniques, so more research is needed. To help keep the nasal passage open, you should treat allergies with nasal steroids.
CAN HBOT HELP WITH SLEEP APNEA?
Research carried out by Medline.gov, it clearly shows that hyperbaric oxygen therapy significantly boosts the level of oxygen saturation in patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. However, this therapy may increase the duration of apnea-hypopnea events.
The importance of hyper baric oxygen therapy can never be overstated, as it’s got full effects even in our sleep. Sleep apnea is caused by a collapse between parts from the nose’s tip to your lungs. When pure oxygen is passed at high pressure into the body, the bloodstream experience a high intake of oxygen. This also helps improve sleep as well as provides solutions to various tissues.
There’s currently no perfect care for sleep apnea, but surgical treatments in children often give positive results. Because adults live with permanent airway anatomy, the effect of sleep apnea would require various therapies and approaches. Surgery, CPAD treatments, and medications are the available options. However, lifestyle changes like avoiding alcohol and shedding some pounds can help reduce it.
If you’re worried about your breathing during sleep, try to consult a board-certified sleep specialist. He will assist you in getting over this condition and prescribe the perfect treatment for you. Have a formal sleep study to note any irregularity in your sleep.