Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can severely compromise long-term health and wellness. For this reason, reliable treatment is critical. While there may be lifestyle modifications that can alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea, such as losing weight and sleeping with the head slightly elevated, medical treatment may be an immediate necessity. CPAP has historically been one of the leading medical therapies for sleep apnea. It continues to be recommended due to a proven track record of results.
Why Sleep Apnea Must be Treated
To have sleep apnea, whether obstructive, central, or mixed, means that you stop breathing at some point during sleep. Most people with sleep apnea stop breathing up to dozens of times per hour. The lack of deep sleep causes immediate symptoms such as persistent daytime exhaustion and inability to think clearly. Because the brain and bodily organs do not receive sufficient oxygen during apnea episodes, there is also a steep risk of long-term health conditions, including:
- Type II diabetes
- Liver problems
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
How CPAP Helps
The direct cause of sleep apnea is the closure of the airway. This often occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat relax and press inward. CPAP therapy utilizes a machine that exerts Continuous Positive Airway Pressure to sustain breathing throughout all levels of sleep. The CPAP machine delivers air through the nasal passages into the throat consistently so closure cannot occur.
Benefits of CPAP Therapy
There is no denying that wearing a CPAP mask takes some getting used to. However, the benefits of appropriate therapy far outweigh the challenges. Once sleep apnea is under control, quality sleep is restored and symptoms such as snoring decrease. Consequently, people who obtain treatment for sleep apnea report feeling more alert and energized during the day. Secondary health concerns such as anxiety and depression also often diminish once the body has returned to stasis with regular sleep patterns.
CPAP Therapy is useful, but it is not your only choice for treating sleep apnea. At the St. Louis Sinus Center, patients have multiple options for improving the quality of sleep after a sleep apnea diagnosis. To confirm if your symptoms are, in fact, caused by sleep apnea then contact us at (314) 473-5433.