How Can I Treat Sleep Apnoea
Treatment of sleep apnoea will depend on the severity of your symptoms and condition and the root cause of your sleep apnoea. Diagnosis will identify just how severe your sleep apnoea is and will usually be classified as mild, moderate, severe or very severe, and there are a variety of treatment plans that cover the spectrum of severity.
Before you are treated however, you need a diagnosis as to whether or not you have sleep apnoea. The quicker you can get a diagnosis, the sooner treatment can start and the sooner your quality of life will improve. NHS waiting times for sleep studies can be lengthy and so some people opt to conduct a private in home study like ours. This type of test negates the need to stay overnight in a sleep clinic and delivers a diagnosis faster, which you can then take to your GP to begin discussions about any treatment needed.
Mild sleep apnoea can sometimes be treated by making lifestyle changes like losing weight, giving up smoking and reducing your alcohol intake. Some people might try these changes first but then look to invest in an oral mandibular device, which is a gum shield-like device that holds your airways open while you sleep. You will need to be professionally fitted for one of these devices to get the best results and your dentist will be able to advise you appropriately.
Many people with severe or very severe sleep apnoea will need to use a device called a CPAP machine. You'll be given this for free on the NHS if you need it. A CPAP machine gently pumps air into a mask you wear over your mouth or nose while you sleep, and this keeps your airways open and prevents you from stopping breathing which can be harmful and lead to serious complications. Using a CPAP machine may feel strange or awkward at first, but you should try to keep using it. It works best if you use it every night and you will find it:
- improves your breathing while you sleep by stopping your airways getting too narrow
- improves the quality of your sleep and help you feel less tired
- reduces the risk of problems linked to sleep apnoea, such as high blood pressure
Tell your doctor if you find it uncomfortable or hard to use.
If all else fails, you might need to talk to your GP about a surgical procedure to help your breathing, such as removing large tonsils for example. Always consult your GP about your condition.