Typical Obstructive Sleep Apnea

There are many different options today in sleep apnea treatment. Doctors know more about the condition and the different types of sleep apnea so that they can better recommend a cure it. Obstructive sleep apnea is the type where there is an obstruction to the breathing passage for the person that has it. With obstructive sleep apnea, the tissues in the nose, mouth and throat fall into the airway and block it for one reason or another. With obstructive sleep apnea, the person will usually have to be kept sleeping on his side instead of his back since this allows the tissues to remain in place so that they do not block the airway any more. The tonsils can often become enlarged and also block the passageway. They might not seem to be a problem in the daytime, but when the person lies down on his back, the tonsils press on the airway and obstruct it.

Escalation of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea can be escalated by several other factors besides the tissues in the mouth, nose and throat. If the person drinks alcohol on a regular basis, the muscles that keep the airway open are relaxed and less able to keep the air passages clear when the tissue tries to fall into it. If the person is on sedatives of any kind, or if he is on antidepressant medication, anxiety medication, or even some medications for allergies, the obstructive sleep apnea can be escalated. If the person has gained a lot of weight, he can also be more prone to sleep apnea since there is more tissue that can fall into the airway and obstruct it.

In order to treat obstructive sleep apnea, doctors will usually look for the least obtrusive way to do so unless the person is in danger of his life if a cure is not found quickly. There are some dental devices that can be used to lift the jaw and help to keep the airway open during the night. There are also some devices that do not allow people to turn onto their backs in the night. Some of these are pillows that block the person from turning onto his back, and some of these are harnesses or pajama tops that have something in the back of them that prevent the person from turning over. In more extreme cases, the person might have to have surgery to remove some of the extra tissue in obstructive sleep apnea. There are also some continuous airflow devices that require the person to wear a mask so that the air can press on the tissues and keep the airway open during the night.