Managing Sleep Apnea: Understanding the Causes and Finding Solutions
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who struggle with sleep apnea, you know firsthand how this condition can disrupt your life. The constant fatigue, morning headaches, and difficulty concentrating can leave you feeling exhausted and unable to perform daily tasks. At times, it may even feel as though you are fighting an uphill battle against your own body.
However, by working with a compassionate and experienced healthcare provider like Dr. Doneskey, you can gain a better understanding of the common causes of sleep apnea and find effective solutions to manage the condition. With his support, you can improve your sleep quality and take back control of your life.
5 Common Causes of Sleep Apnea
One of the most common causes of sleep apnea is obesity. When you carry excess weight, it can put pressure on your airway, causing it to narrow and making it harder for air to flow through. This leads to interrupted breathing and snoring, which are typical symptoms of sleep apnea. Dr. Doneskey recommends that patients with sleep apnea try to lose weight through diet and exercise to improve their symptoms.
Drinking alcohol before bedtime can also contribute to sleep apnea. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in the throat and can cause the airway to collapse, leading to breathing problems. If you’re a Bellevue, WA, resident who has sleep apnea, it’s essential to avoid alcohol before bedtime to reduce your symptoms.
Smoking is a significant contributor to sleep apnea. The toxins in cigarettes can cause inflammation and swelling in the airway, leading to breathing difficulties. Additionally, smoking can also lead to lung damage and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which are both risk factors for sleep apnea. Dr. Doneskey recommends that patients quit smoking to improve their overall health and reduce their risk of developing sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea can also be caused by genetic factors. If you have a family history of sleep apnea, you’re at a higher risk of developing the condition. Patients with a family history of sleep apnea should inform Dr. Doneskey so they can be monitored and treated if necessary.
Your sleeping position can also contribute to sleep apnea. Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue and soft palate to collapse, obstructing your airway and leading to breathing difficulties. Dr. Doneskey recommends that patients with apnea try to sleep on their side to improve their symptoms.
Solutions to Causes of Sleep Apnea
There are several solutions to manage and prevent sleep apnea. These include:
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)– A CPAP machine delivers a constant flow of air through a mask, keeping the airway open and reducing apnea symptoms. Dr. Doneskey can prescribe a CPAP machine for patients with sleep apnea.
- Weight Loss– Losing weight can help reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. Patients can work with Dr. Doneskey to develop a diet and exercise plan to help them lose weight and improve their overall health.
- Dental Appliances– Dental appliances can help keep the airway open by positioning the jaw in a way that prevents it from collapsing. Dr. Doneskey can recommend a dental appliance for patients who have mild to moderate apnea.
Surgery– In severe cases of apnea, surgery may be necessary to remove excess tissue from the airway and open it up. Dr. Doneskey can refer Bellevue, WA, patients to a qualified surgeon if necessary.