Sleep apnea, which is also known as sleep apnea of undetermined origin, is a disorder that affects the body’s ability to properly regulate your breathing during sleep. When your body is unable to take in adequate oxygen as you sleep, you may wake up during the night with severe symptoms of sleep apnea. If this condition is left untreated, you may even find yourself requiring overnight hospitalization.
Sleep apnea can be caused by a number of factors. Some of the more common causes are the following: obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, poor circulation, abnormal throat anatomy, and obstructive sleep apnea. Although it can affect anyone at any age, it tends to show itself as it gets older. However, there are several treatment options available for those suffering from sleep apnea.
A doctor will likely want to do a complete physical exam before diagnosing you, and will then monitor your daytime sleepiness and snoring, among other things. Other tests, such as ones that help diagnose allergies, may also be performed.
Treatment for sleep apnea can be either medically or non-medically based. However, this type of treatment varies depending on the cause of the condition. If you have experienced a recent diagnosis of the condition, you may be put on medication to control the onset of the condition.
This is especially true if the problem has been caused by a recent heart attack or a prior medical condition, such as hypertension. Your doctor may also prescribe antihistamines or decongestants to help prevent the throat tissues from becoming inflamed during sleep.
To help you fall asleep at night, your doctor may also prescribe mild sedatives, such as Midazolam or Halcion. These are non-habit forming drugs that have no effect on sleeping patterns or snoring.
Sleep apnea may also require medication to help keep your breathing regular throughout the night. There are a number of medications that may help reduce snoring and help you sleep through the night, but some may be habit-forming, so you may be better off to talk to your doctor about alternate medications.
Prescription drugs may be prescribed to treat sleep apnea. Your doctor may first want to conduct an overnight sleep study to check for any abnormalities, and then will most likely prescribe oral medications to address the cause of the condition.
There are two different types of medications that may be prescribed to treat sleep apnea. One type works by keeping the tissue from swelling in the throat area, which allows for proper oxygen flow during sleep. The other type helps strengthen the jaw and neck muscles to prevent them from collapsing during sleep.
Another type of treatment that may be given to address the cause of the condition is oral appliances. The oral appliance is made of a hard rubber that fits around the upper and lower jaw. It also contains removable parts, such as the chin strap and the facial mask.
Some people find that the use of a mouthpiece can help them sleep through the night. These pieces of plastic, plastic coated with rubber, or other materials fit over the upper and lower teeth to prevent the muscles in the mouth from relaxing during sleep. They also keep the airway open during sleep to help patients avoid waking up during the night.