What is the best health tool for sleep apnea?

My father falls asleep and doesn’t breath for ten seconds or so before he comes to again. I’m very worried that he has sleep apnea and am worried about how this will affect his health. He isn’t interested in any uncomfortable machines, as he puts it. Do you know any other tools that could work that are more comfortable?

– Stacey in Connecticut

Stacey,

You may be surprised to learn that one out of five individuals suffer from sleep apnea. If this condition is left untreated it does have the potential to be life threatening. It would be in his best interest to get him officially diagnosed by a doctor right away.

Common risk factors of sleep apnea are:

  • Overweight
  • Males are at higher risk than females
  • Over the age of forty
  • Large neck size (larger than 17 inches (men) larger than 16 inches (women))
  • Large tonsils
  • Family history

Some health tips that can help reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Increase exercise
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid alcohol or sleep aide sedatives before bed
  • Try to keep a regular time to go to sleep
  • Elevate your head while sleeping
  • Humidifier may reduce snoring
  • Keep sinuses clear
  • Avoid sleeping on back

The CPAP machine is probably the “uncomfortable” machine that your father has heard of and is complaining about. There are other surgical procedures that treat sleep apnea. Here are an outline of some of the common treatments:

  • Somnoplasty: This procedure reduces the area of soft tissue present in the upper airway. It is considered to be minimally invasive.
  • Nasal surgery: The correction of a deviated septum or other obstructions can help cure sleep apnea.
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP): This sleep surgery removes soft tissue on the back of the throat and palate. In doing so the airway is increased to reduce obstructions.
  • Mandibular maxillar advancement surgery: This surgical procedure is pretty invasive. It address facial problems or throat obstructions that are causing sleep apnea..

One treatment that your father may be very interested in is a dental appliance to treat his sleep apnea. This is a non-surgical procedure and the appliances are made to be very comfortable. One popular brand is the SomnoDent appliance. It is a mouth piece that is worn overnight. It repositions the jaw into a more favorable position to help keep the breathing passage open while an individual is sleeping.

Good luck in getting your father into a doctor and getting a proper diagnosis.

This post is sponsored by Phoenix dentist Arthur Chal Esthetic and Reconstructive Dentistry.

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