Sleep Disorders - Treatment Guide

"God bless the inventor of sleep, 
  The cloak that covers all men's thoughts, 
      The food that cures all hunger . . . 
The balancing weight that levels 
The shepherd with the king and
     The simple with the wise. "         
~Miguel De Cervantes, Don Quixote

With the proper guidance and compliance, treatments for sleep disorders are effective. With up to 80% of people who have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), Snoring, Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), Narcolepsy, Parasomnias, and Insomnia find a relief and regain restful nights sleep with a treatment.

Your physician can help direct you to the appropriate treatment. The following is a list of treatment options that may help: 

Weight Loss:
Losing weight helps obese people as well as their partners sleep better by easing sleep apnea symptoms.  A new study confirms that weight loss can significantly improve and potentially eliminate sleep apnea symptoms in obese people.  Researchers found that people with severe sleep apnea who lost the recommended amount of weight, which is 10% to 15%, were three times more likely to experience a complete remission of sleep apnea symptoms compared with people who didnt lose weight.  

An increased in body weight can worsen and interrupt the proper breathing patterns during sleep. In general, a 10% -15% loss of body weight can lead to a 50% improvement in snoring or OSA. Weight loss must be gradual and should be done under the proper guidance of a physician. Weight loss is recommended for all patients with severe snoring problems or OSA.  Any medical decisions should be made in follow-up visits with the physician.

Avoidance of Alcoholic Beverages & Certain Sleeping Medications:
Alcoholic beverages and certain types of sleeping medications may relax the throat muscles more than other body muscles and may dramatically worsen snoring or OSA. However, but may be used under certain circumstances after other treatments have been started.
Medication Therapy:

People with mild snoring or OSA may experience an improvement certain medications. Even among patients whose sleep test shows only a mild problem, some do not respond well to certain medicines, while others may have unwanted side effects. A nasal decongestant or an antihistamine may also be prescribed.

CPAP Machine:
Continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP) uses a machine to help a person who has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) breathe more easily during sleep. A CPAP machine increases air pressure in your throat so that your airway does not collapse when you breathe in. When you use CPAP, your bed partner may sleep better, too. It is effective for alleviating severe snoring and symptoms of Sleep Apnea in over 90% of cases. The entire unit is portable, convenient to use when traveling. CPAP machine continues to be the best choice of treatment for most patient with moderate or severe OSA, and it may also be effective in some patients with milder form of snoring or OSA.

Dental Appliance:
The dental appliance is a small plastic device, similar to an orthodontic retainer or an athletic mouth guard. It is worn each night during sleep. It works by either thrusting the mandible (the lower jaw) forward or pulling the tongue forward, increasing the breathing space behind the tongue.  Generally, dental appliances can improve the condition by 50% or more in some patients, it varies. After the patients use of dental appliance, a repeat sleep test is usually recommended to determine the level of effectiveness of it in treating snoring or OSA.

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP or UP3):
This surgical procedure, usually performed by an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) physician or an Otorhinolaryngologist, involves a removal of excess tissue from the interior of a patients throat, creating a larger air passageway.

Laser-Assisted Surgery:
New techniques include using a laser as an "electronic scalpel" instead of using a conventional steel scalpel to remove excess throat tissue. Laser-assisted surgeries may be performed in a physicians office or an outpatient setting rather than in a hospital surgical suite. 

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