Is Sleep Apnea Permanent?
Sleep apnea can take a major toll on your body. From making you fatigued during the day to putting you at risk for certain health complications, this condition isn’t one people can easily live with.
So, does sleep apnea have a cure, or are treatments such as CPAP and oral appliances the only solution? Read on to learn how sleep apnea can be treated and potentially cured.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that causes repetitive lapses in breathing while you sleep. These pauses occur when your throat muscles relax and allow your tongue to fall into your airway, thus cutting off your oxygen.
Patients with this condition wake up frequently throughout the night to catch their breath. Most don’t even realize it happens, and just wonder why they’re so tired during the day. Sleep disorders such as this may be brushed off as a bad night’s rest or developing cold, so many don’t receive the treatment they need.
This not only increases their chances of developing health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, but it can also make for miserable sleep quality. A cure for sleep apnea would benefit millions of people in the United States, and could even encourage others to seek a diagnosis if there’s a readily available cure.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
People who snore loudly may not think a thing of it until they begin to experience mood swings or extreme fatigue during the day. This is how you can tell if your snoring is harmful or not, and it’s oftentimes how people discover they may have sleep apnea.
The most common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud and habitual snoring
- Dry mouth
- Depression symptoms
- Headaches upon waking
- Irritability and moodiness
- Fatigue throughout the day
- Memory problems
You may not be the only one suffering from this disorder. One’s partner may also experience poor sleep quality because of sleep apnea symptoms. They may be kept awake from their partner’s loud snoring or frequent waking. This could lead to strains on relationships in the form of frequent arguments and decreased intimacy.
These symptoms can interfere with one’s daily life, making it difficult to stay awake or pay attention. Sleep apnea mostly affects older men, but it can develop regardless of age or sex. While people may experience this sleep disorder differently, they can all agree that it isn’t something that’s easily tolerated.
Who’s At Risk For Sleep Apnea?
This sleep disorder affects about two to nine percent of adults in the United States, though many cases go undiagnosed. For children, many of their sleep apnea symptoms are misdiagnosed as ADHD, making it impossible for them to get the care they need.
Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous disorder that should be caught as soon as possible. Common causes and risks of sleep apnea include:
- Certain facial features (large tonsils, narrow airway, etc.)
- Frequent use of tobacco, sedatives, or alcohol
- Nasal congestion
- Old age
Some of these risks can be eliminated, but some are unavoidable. Because there are so many common causes of this disorder, a cure for sleep apnea is in high demand. This is especially true for patients already experiencing health complications or are more vulnerable to them.
Possible Sleep Apnea Cures
There’s only a couple of treatments for sleep apnea that can eliminate it. However, they’re not effective for everyone, and may not produce lifelong results.
One’s weight impacts their risk of developing sleep apnea, as research has shown a correlation between high BMI (Body Mass Index) and obstructed airways.
Because losing weight is typically a gradual process that can be impacted by several factors (lifestyle, health conditions, etc.), it isn’t always an instant “cure.” Additionally, losing weight can be difficult when one is obese.
While surgical weight loss methods do exist and have also been shown to help reduce symptoms of sleep apnea, they’re often a costly and potentially dangerous option. Many patients may be ineligible for these surgeries, as well.
However, there have been some cases in which weight loss has delivered a “cure” for one’s sleep apnea. Everyone’s body is different, so it will require different methods to reduce or eliminate certain health conditions.
Aside from weight loss surgery, other operations can be performed that may reduce one’s sleep apnea symptoms. Most of these surgeries shrink or remove extra tissues surrounding one’s airways to increase its diameter. This will then allow for better breathing at night, eliminating sleep apnea.
Some surgeries that can help achieve a wider airway include:
- Nasal passage surgery
- Pillar procedure
- Relocation pharyngoplasty
These are just a few of the many surgical options available to help reduce or eliminate sleep apnea symptoms. However, the reason so many exist is that not every treatment will work for every patient.
The prime reason there’s no “cure” for sleep apnea is the fact that this sleep disorder affects everyone differently. As such, everyone will require a different “cure” or treatment to alleviate their symptoms.
Visit North Texas Sleep Solutions for Sleep Apnea Treatment
Most patients with sleep apnea receive lifelong treatments rather than cures. At North Texas Sleep Solutions, we offer various treatments for sleep apnea that can help reduce your symptoms.
Dr. Lauck will be able to find the treatment that will work best for you. To schedule an appointment at our Keller office, contact us at (817) 431-6764 or fill out a contact form. We’ll help get you the treatment you need so you can go back to living your life without interference.