Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Permanent or Temporary?
Every individual must catch on a peaceful night of sleep for ensuring good health. But, not many people are this lucky. In the present times, rest has become a luxury. Many people find it hard to sleep because of stress-related issues or sleep disorders.
One condition that keeps people from falling or staying asleep is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The disease interrupts your breathing cycle and keeps you awake at night. If left untreated, it can lead to severe consequences that go beyond simple daytime drowsiness.
So, here is all you need to know about sleep apnea and whether or not you can treat this condition!
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea has become a common problem in children and adults. It is estimated that over 900 million individuals around the world have this sleep disorder, and there might be about 50 million cases of this problem in India alone (Source). In this disorder, the patient’s breathing gets interrupted for several seconds while resting.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a type of sleep apnea in which the muscles that support the soft tissues in the throat, like the soft palate and tongue, temporarily relax. As a result, the airway is narrowed or closed, and the breathing is hindered.
Can sleep apnea go away?
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition, meaning a persistent or otherwise long-term disease. It is a lifestyle disorder but can be managed via CPAP therapy. A CPAP machine treats sleep apnea patients by directly delivering a constant stream of oxygen into the nose and mouth. It opens obstructions and keeps the airway open. Although sleep apnea is generally considered a permanent condition, there are some exceptions that one needs to consider before reaching any conclusion.
Until adolescence, your anatomy tends to change. Therefore, children who have sleep apnea can try tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy to remove tonsils and adenoids. Doing so can benefit their condition. Apart from this, the treatment of allergies and the enlargement of the hard palate through rapid maxillary expansion, an orthodontic therapy, can also treat obstructive sleep apnea during childhood.
Notably, teenagers who have completed adolescence and entered adulthood also have other options. One of them is surgery. The most advanced is jaw advancement therapy which has high success rates. Also known as maxilla mandibular advancement, the treatment is highly effective and has been used to cure sleep apnea in about 80% of people. In this procedure, the jawbones are surgically broken and moved forward. Then, using titanium screws and plates, they are fixed at the new place. The process changes the facial profile and successfully treats obstructive sleep apnea. However, the problem with this type of cure is that its recovery takes several months.
Other options for curing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) include soft palate surgery through uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. Or you can also choose to get your deviated septum repaired by a septoplasty. But before making this decision, you must know that these surgeries are not as effective as those mentioned above.
In addition, patients can also opt for radiofrequency ablation of the nasal turbines to offer relief from nasal congestion and obstruction. Hypoid advancement that means debulking the base of the tongue and moving tongue anchors are other recommended surgical ways of permanently treating obstructive sleep apnea.
For those who want to treat OSA without surgery, making lifestyle changes is a way to improve their condition. For example, people can lose weight if they are obese to fix sleep apnea. It is beneficial because fat or adipose tissue increases the risk of airway collapse, and losing weight can positively affect this risk factor.
One can also include exercising in their daily routine to correct the muscle tone lining to sleep peacefully.
Another recommended option is keeping the nasal passageway open and treating allergies through nasal steroids. Resting on your side to counteract the effects of gravity and preventing the airway from collapsing can also prove helpful. Patients should remember to raise the head of the bed by 30 to 45 degrees for unrestrained breathing when altering sleep position for treating sleep apnea.
What if these treatments do not prove effective?
If you find it difficult to treat your condition using these options, you should try a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Although this option may not cure the disease permanently, it can significantly improve your sleep quality by maintaining constant airflow and preventing the collapse of the airway.
By and large, obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic and permanent condition. But, by undertaking surgeries and making some lifestyle changes, you can treat this condition. However, if none of this works, you can get a CPAP machine for ensuring a peaceful night of sleep.
Disclaimer: The information provided in the article is for informational purposes only. Readers are advised to consult a doctor before undergoing any above-mentioned treatment for sleep apnea.