Treatment for Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea means that your breathing often is blocked or partly blocked during sleep. The problem can be mild to severe, based on how often your lungs don't get enough air. This may happen from 5 to more than 50 times an hour.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptoms of sleep apnea that you may notice are:

  • Not feeling rested after a night's sleep.
  • Feeling sleepy during the day.
  • Waking up with a headache.

Your bed partner may notice that while you sleep:

  • You stop breathing.
  • You often snore loudly.
  • You gasp or choke.
  • You toss and turn.

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

Your doctor will probably examine you and ask about your past health. He or she may also ask you or your sleep partner about your snoring and sleep behavior and how tired you feel during the day. Your doctor may suggest a sleep study. A sleep study usually takes place at a sleep center, where you will spend the night. Sleep studies find out how often you stop breathing or have too little air flowing into your lungs during sleep.

How is it treated?

You may be able to treat mild sleep apnea by making changes in how you live and the way you sleep. For example:

  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Sleep on your side and not your back.
  • Avoid alcohol and medicines such as sedatives before bed.

Oral Breathing Devices

If lifestyle changes don't help sleep apnea, you may be able to use an oral breathing device or other types of devices. These devices help keep your airway open while you sleep.

Sleep apnea is often treated with a machine that helps you breathe while you sleep. This treatment is called continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP (say "SEE-pap"). Sometimes medicine that helps you stay awake during the day may be used along with CPAP.

How We Can Help

Mercy Medical Supply provides a wide range of CPAP and BiPAP products to meet your needs. We have trained Respiratory Therapists on staff to answer your questions and assist you in fitting your CPAP or BiPAP device.

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