The human body is amazing. It can resolve many health problems, such as colds, flus, and other sickness, all on its own. However, some medical conditions require proactive treatment. Sleep apnea falls into the latter category. Let’s talk about why it is unlikely to go away on its own and what you can do to reduce or eliminate your symptoms.
Why Sleep Apnea Doesn’t Go Away
In most cases, obstructive sleep apnea is the direct result of an individual’s anatomy. Any factors that contribute to airway obstructions, such as a narrow palate, large tonsils, or a deviated septum, remain fixed if there is no medical intervention. For most patients, sleep apnea is a chronic condition that requires long-term treatment.
Of course, there are a few circumstances where the factors that cause apneas (pauses in breathing) resolve on their own. For example, if you have a cold or other type of infection that is causing congestion in your airway, you may find that after your illness resolves, you no longer snore or stop breathing at night.
Resolving Sleep Apnea: What You Can Do
Here are some things you can do that may provide you with long-term relief from sleep apnea:
Seek Professional Treatment
Medical professionals offer a variety of treatments that can help patients breathe easier at night, including:
- CPAP therapy uses a machine to blow pressurized air into the throat, preventing blockages in the airway. It is a popular option, but many patients find it to be difficult to comply with.
- Oral appliance therapy involves the use of a mouthguard-like device that repositions the jaw in order to keep the airway open. It is quite effective, and it facilitates better breathing without the use of a complex machine.
- Surgery to correct anatomical issues that contribute to sleep apnea. Because surgery is so invasive, it is usually considered a last resort.
Manage Your Weight
Sleep apnea is common in obese individuals because extra fat can contribute to airway obstructions. Of course, you should not resort to any crash diets or fad diets to shed some pounds. Your primary care practitioner or another qualified medical professional may be able to help you design a reasonable plan to lower your BMI. While you are on your weight loss journey, you will most likely need to use an oral appliance or CPAP to fight your sleep apnea. Weight loss can improve your sleep apnea severity but unless you are very mild to begin with, it most likely will not take away your sleep apnea diagnosis.
Adjust Your Daily Habits
Here are a few everyday habits that might help to reduce sleep apnea symptoms:
- Cut back on alcohol and caffeine, especially before bedtime.
- Make sure your bedroom stays clean and is free of common allergens (such as dust and pet dander).
- Sleep on your side rather than on your back.
Sleep apnea is unlikely to suddenly disappear on its own — but you can take steps to fight your condition and enjoy the restful shuteye that you deserve.
Meet the Practice
As someone who has experienced the struggles of sleep apnea firsthand, Dr. Mitch Conditt is passionate about helping patients achieve the high-quality rest that they need for optimal health. He has extensive knowledge and experience in dental sleep medicine and oral appliance therapy. To learn more about Dr. Conditt and how our team may be able to serve you, contact us at 817-527-8500.