Can You Get Rid of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a very serious yet common condition that many suffer from, yet it also remains undiagnosed and untreated in many adults. Experts estimate the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea to be approximately 4% to 9% in middle-aged adults. But can you successfully treat sleep apnea and eliminate your symptoms? Read on to learn what it is, causes and treatment options.

Reach out to the top sleep apnea specialist in New York and learn how Dr. Shukla can get you on the path to a restful and healthy night’s sleep.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Also known as obstructive sleep apnea, this condition happens when breathing repeatedly stops for 10 seconds or more during sleep. This causes a decreased flow of oxygen to the blood and can cause people to awaken during sleep throughout the night.

There are a variety of causes for sleep apnea. The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea in adults is obesity, as it affects the soft tissue in the mouth and throat. The throat and tongue muscles are more relaxed when we sleep, and excessive soft tissue can cause the airway to become blocked.

There are other causes of obstructive sleep apnea, many of them hereditary. Anatomical features such as a narrow throat, thick neck and a round head can contribute as well. Other contributing factors include hypothyroidism, allergies and a deviated septum that causes congestion in the upper airways. Other factors also include smoking, excessive alcohol use and the use of other sedatives.

If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can cause serious health issues including cardiovascular disease and even premature death. If you have any warning signs such as loud snoring and repeatedly waking up at night, you should talk to your doctor.

The Obesity Factor

Experts estimate that more than half of the people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea are overweight or considered obese. This is defined as someone with a body mass index (BMI) of 25-30 or above. Men with a neck circumference of 17 inches and women with a neck circumference of 15 inches have a significantly increased risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea. Getting your weight under control is obviously going to help eliminate sleep apnea symptoms.

Effective Treatment Options

The American College of Physicians emphasizes that it really comes down to lifestyle modifications, especially weight loss, when you are looking to treat obstructive sleep apnea. Researchers spend considerable time looking at various sleep apnea treatment options and determined that current therapies are effective options that work.

Losing weight is the biggest positive change you can make in treating obstructive sleep apnea, according the experts from the ACP. They state that, “losing just 10% of body weight can have a big effect on sleep apnea symptoms. In some cases, losing a significant amount of weight can even cure the condition.”

Because weight loss is difficult and doesn’t necessarily happen overnight, many people use a CPAP machine which fits over the nose and mouth and blows air into the airways to keep them open at night when you sleep.

The ACP recommends the only sure remedy to sleep apnea is losing weight or surgery to remove the excess tissue from the palate or throat. Of course, you need to make sure you have been properly diagnosed with sleep apnea and really explore your options with a qualified medical professional.

Sleep Apnea Specialist in New York

If you find yourself waking up frequently in the night and struggling with daytime sleepiness, you might suffer from a more serious sleep disorder like obstructive sleep apnea. If you think you might have a more serious sleep issue, contact the premier sleep apnea specialist in New York, Dr. Shukla, at Sleep MD NYC for a consultation. Don’t let poor sleep habits or a more serious health issue keep you from getting the rest you need.

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