Approximately 42 million American adults have sleep-disordered breathing, better known to most as sleep apnea. There are a lot questions and uncertainties surrounding sleep apnea, and new information is always being discovered. On top of that, many sleep apnea sufferers do not even know they have this disorder! But if you or someone you know does have sleep apnea, here are some answers to common questions heard around our medical supply store in Tampa Bay, Florida. Keep reading to expand your knowledge and better understand this disruptive sleep disorder.
- How is sleep apnea treated?
Thanks to devices available at any medical supply store, sleep apnea is highly treatable. The most popular treatment method entails the use of a CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure). This medical device is a home oxygen system that keeps your airway open and allows for ongoing oxygen delivery throughout the night. There are three different mask types to choose, so you can pick the one that fits you most comfortably. CPAP supplies can be found at most medical supply facilities, including Matrix Medical, a medical supply store in Tampa Bay.
- What are the negative effects of sleep apnea?
When sleep apnea is left untreated, it can cause serious problems with your overall quality of life. You won’t be able to get a restful sleep; instead, you may wake up more than 50 times each night — and you may not even realize it! These brief moments of waking are called micro-arousals and usually last no more than three seconds each. However, these micro-arousals also keep you from getting the deep and restful REM sleep your body needs to function properly. This can lead to memory problems, mood disturbances, trouble concentrating, heavy fatigue, heart problems, and more. Contrary to popular belief, this is much more serious than simply feeling tired. Prolonged fatigue increases your risk of getting into an auto accident.
- Are there treatment options for sleep apnea other than a CPAP machine?
If you are unable to get a restful sleep even after using a CPAP machine, there are alternative treatment options. If you can’t get comfortable with a CPAP mask or take the mask off in your sleep, you should visit a medical supply store and try a different type of mask if you haven’t already. You may find one that is less invasive and allows you to sleep more comfortably. If a mask just isn’t working for you, another option is to visit a dentist who specializes in the condition and get a custom made oral appliance to pull the jaw forward and allow for regular breathing. Not all dentists specialize in Dental Sleep Medicine, but your physician should be able to provide you with a recommendation for alternative sleep apnea treatments if you ask.
Ultimately, whether you have it yourself or know someone who does (such as a snoring spouse), sleep apnea can be a frustrating and debilitating disorder when left untreated. Knowing this information can help you make an informed decision about treatment. If you have any more questions about sleep apnea, talk to your physician or a medical supply facilities associate today.