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Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep apnea is a common disorder that causes your breathing to stop or get very shallow. It affects approximately 18 million Americans. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour. You literally stop breathing in your sleep.
And recent news has surfaced that people with heart pacemakers and sleep apnea are at much greater risk for a dangerous heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation, a new study suggests.
Symptoms may include:
- Restless sleep
- Awakening with choking, gasping, or smothering
- Morning headaches, dry mouth, or sore throat
- Waking frequently to urinate
- Awakening unrested, groggy
- Low energy, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment
There are a variety of treatments for sleep apnea, depending on an individual’s medical history and the severity of the disorder. Most treatment regimens begin with lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol and medications that relax the central nervous system (for example, sedatives and muscle relaxants), losing weight, and quitting smoking.
Some people are helped by special pillows or devices that keep them from sleeping on their backs, or oral appliances to keep the airway open during sleep. And because more men are believed to suffer from sleep apnea, often its the bed partner who may notice signs initially.
If sleep apnea is a problem for you or a loved one, don’t hesitate to consult a physician for treatment options. Sleep apnea does not have to undermine your health.
Content for this article provided by the National Library of Medicine.