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Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Apnea 

Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Apnea 

A physical airway obstruction produces breathing pauses that characterize sleep apnea. This obstruction could be a larger tongue, huge tonsils or adenoids, a limp soft palate, or even a deviated nasal septum. 

These blockages halt breathing, causing the body to fear and partially wake up to restore regular respiration and need to use sleep apnea machine. These apneic episodes can occur up to 100 times each hour in the most severe instances! Since all these occur when you’re unconscious, how can you tell if you have sleep apnea?

Related: Curing Pediatric Sleep Apnea

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

Your doctor may assess your symptoms, which you can offer with the assistance of someone who shares your bed or household, if possible. A doctor will almost certainly refer you to a sleep disorder facility. A sleep specialist can assist you in determining whether you require additional evaluation.

An evaluation frequently includes monitoring your breathing and other physiological systems while sleeping at a sleep clinic. Home sleep testing may also be an option.

Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Apnea 

The following tests are used to detect sleep apnea:

  • Polysomnography during the night: You are linked to equipment that measures your heart, lung, and brain activity, breathing patterns, arm and leg movements, and blood oxygen levels while you sleep throughout this test.
  • Sleep tests at home: Your doctor may give you simple tests to perform at home to diagnose sleep apnea. These tests often take your heart rate, blood oxygen level, airflow, and breathing patterns into account.

If the results are abnormal, your doctor may be able to recommend treatment without requiring additional testing. However, because portable monitoring equipment does not detect all types of sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend polysomnography even if your initial results are normal.

To investigate the causes of central sleep apnea, you may require a doctor who specializes in the heart (cardiologist) or a specialist who specializes in the nerve system (neurologist). If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist to rule out nasal or throat blockage. 

Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Apnea 

Treating Sleep Apnea

To combat this illness, your doctor may merely recommend lifestyle modifications, such as decreasing weight or quitting smoking, for milder forms of sleep apnea. If you have nasal allergies, your doctor will advise you on how to treat them.

If these methods do not help your symptoms, or if your apnea is moderate to severe, a variety of alternative therapies are available.

Certain devices can aid in the opening of a clogged airway. However, a patient may require surgery in some circumstances.


Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) 

If you have moderate to severe sleep apnea, a machine that supplies air pressure through a mask while you sleep may be beneficial. The air pressure provided by CPAP (SEE-pap) is slightly higher than that of the surrounding air and is just enough to keep your upper airway passages open, preventing apnea and snoring.

Although CPAP is the most frequent and reliable technique for treating sleep apnea, it can be difficult or uncomfortable for some people. Some people abandon the CPAP machine, but most people learn to adjust the tension of the straps on the mask to get a comfortable and secure fit with practice.

Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Apnea 

To locate a comfortable mask, you may need to try many different types to locate a comfortable mask. If you experience troubles, don’t stop using the CPAP machine. Consult your doctor to determine what modifications you need to improve your comfort.

If your weight changes, the CPAP machine’s pressure settings may need to be modified. However, contact your doctor if you are still snoring or if you start snoring again despite treatment. 

Adaptive Servo-Ventilation (ASV)

This newly certified airflow device learns your typical breathing pattern and stores it in a built-in computer. After falling asleep, the machine applies pressure to restore your breathing rhythm and prevent breathing pauses.

In certain cases, ASV appears to be more effective than other forms of positive airway pressure in treating complicated sleep apnea. However, it may not be a good option for patients with severe central sleep apnea and advanced heart failure.

You’ll probably read, hear, or see TV commercials for various sleep apnea treatments. Before attempting any treatment, consult with your doctor.

Other Airway Pressure Monitors 

If using a CPAP machine proves to be an issue for you, you may be able to utilize a different type of airway pressure device that regulates the pressure automatically while you sleep (auto-CPAP). Some units provide bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP). Oral appliances produce more pressure when inhaling and less pressure when exhaling. Wearing an oral appliance designed to keep your throat open is another possibility. Although CPAP is more reliable than oral equipment, oral appliances may be easier to use. Some help to open your throat by pushing your jaw forward, which can help with snoring and moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

Your dentist can provide you with various equipment, or you can check out some of the equipment listed here. You may need to experiment with many gadgets before finding one that works.

Once you’ve found the proper fit, you’ll need to see your dentist frequently during the first year and then regularly to check that the fit is still good and reassess your indications and symptoms.


Surgery is normally reserved for when all other therapies have failed. Before considering surgery, you should try other therapy options for at least three months. However, it is a good first option for a small percentage of people who have particular jaw structure abnormalities.

Surgical alternatives could include:

  • Tissue extraction
  • Shrinkage of tissue
  • Repositioning of the jaw
  • Implants
  • Stimulation of the nerves
  • Tracheostomy
  • Surgical removal of swollen tonsils or adenoids
  • Bariatric (weight-loss) surgery

Nasal Masks 

With this device, the air pressure is supplied through the nose mask. It could be beneficial if:

  1. Your doctor has advised you to use a high air pressure setting.
  2. In your sleep, you move a lot.

Home Remedies and Lifestyle Adjustment

Self-care may help you deal with obstructive sleep apnea and potentially central sleep apnea in some circumstances. Consider the following suggestions:

  • Exercise: Even without losing weight, regular exercise can help alleviate the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Most days of the week, try to get 30 minutes of moderate activity, such as a brisk walk.
  • Avoid alcohol, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills: These loosen the muscles in the back of your throat, making breathing difficult.
  • Get rid of unwanted weight: Even a small weight decrease may help reduce throat congestion. Sleep apnea may disappear in some situations if you return to a healthy weight, but it may reoccur if you gain weight.
  • Sleep on your side or abdomen: When you sleep on your back, your tongue and soft palate might lay against the back of your throat, obstructing your airway. Attach a tennis ball to the back of your pajama top to prevent rolling onto your back while sleeping. There are also commercially available devices that vibrate when you sleep on your back.
  • Avoid smoking: If you smoke, search for resources to assist you in quitting.
  • Avoid medicines that make you sleepy.
  • Do not drink four to six hours before going to bed.
  • Avoid driving if you are drowsy.
Curing Pediatric Sleep Apnea

Curing Pediatric Sleep Apnea

Pediatric sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes children to stop breathing while sleeping. Children are affected by two types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea (central apnea).

Much like adults, children also suffer from sleep apnea with similar if not more consequences than their adult counterparts. Before considering the cure for these children, let’s briefly overview sleep apnea treatment.

Distinguishing Pediatric Sleep Apnea

Pediatric Sleep apnea is of two types. A blockage in the back of the throat or nose causes obstructive sleep apnea. The other type, central apnea, happens when the section of the brain that controls breathing malfunctions. It does not provide regular signals to the breathing muscles to breathe.

The frequency of snoring is one distinction between the two types of apnea. Snoring is common in people with central apnea but more common in people with obstructive sleep apnea. This is because snoring is associated with airway blockage.

Sleep apnea, snoring, or another type of nighttime breathing issue affects between 7% and 11% of youngsters. Approximately 90% of them may go undetected.

Obstructive sleep apnea is far more common in both children and adults than central apnea. It usually begins between the ages of 2 and 8 years old. According to a 2014 study, 1 to 5% of children suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

Curing Pediatric Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea Symptoms in Children

Aside from snoring differences, the symptoms of obstructive and central apnea may be similar.

Common symptoms of sleep apnea in children include:

  • A lot of snoring
  • Coughing or choking while sleeping causes breathing interruptions.
  • Sleep terrors caused by inhaling through the mouth
  • Bedwetting
  • Sleeping in unusual positions

However, sleep apnea symptoms do not simply occur at night. If your child experiences a disturbed night’s sleep as a result of this disorder, they may experience exhaustion, difficulty falling asleep, and difficulties getting up in the morning.

Infants and young children with sleep apnea, particularly those with central apnea, may not snort. In this age group, restless or interrupted sleep is sometimes the only indicator of sleep apnea.

Consequences of Untreated Sleep Apnea in Children

Sleep apnea, if left untreated, causes protracted periods of disrupted sleep, resulting in chronic daytime weariness.

A child with untreated sleep apnea may struggle to pay attention at school. This might lead to learning difficulties and low academic performance.

Some children develop hyperactivity, which leads to a misdiagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Studies have demonstrated that sleep-disordered breathing can generate symptoms comparable to those seen in ADHD and that treating sleep apnea, if present, can significantly reduce these symptoms.

Untreated sleep apnea causes growth delays, cognitive disabilities, and heart difficulties in more severe cases. Children with untreated sleep apnea may struggle socially as well. These consequences are likely to improve if sleep apnea is adequately treated.

Untreated sleep apnea can also lead to excessive blood pressure, putting people at risk of stroke and heart attack. It may also be linked to childhood obesity.

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea in Children

If you suspect your child has sleep apnea, consult a doctor. Your pediatrician may recommend a sleep specialist.

The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms, perform a physical examination, and, if necessary, schedule a sleep study to diagnose sleep apnea correctly.

Sleep research

Your youngster will spend the night in a hospital or sleep clinic for the sleep study. A sleep technician wears test sensor and measures the following parameters during the night:

  • Breathing patterns and brain wave activity
  • Oxygen saturation, heart rate, muscle activity

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) 

If your child’s doctor suspects that he or she has a heart condition, an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) may be scheduled in addition to the sleep study. The electrical activity in your child’s heart is recorded throughout this test.

Note: Consult a doctor if your child matches the criteria for sleep apnea and exhibits hyperactivity or indicators of behavioral issues.

Curing Pediatric Sleep Apnea

Treating Sleep Apnea in Children

There are no standardized criteria for treating pediatric sleep apnea. A doctor may choose not to treat mild sleep apnea without symptoms, at least not straight away.

Some children outgrow sleep apnea, so their doctor may keep an eye on their condition to see if it improves. They must balance the advantages of doing so against the potential of long-term problems from untreated sleep apnea.

Initial therapies for children with obstructive sleep apnea include diet and surgery. Initial therapies for children with central apnea include diet and treatment of underlying problems. Other options include;

Changes in Lifestyle

Your child’s doctor may recommend physical activity and diet to address sleep apnea if he or she is obese.


When swollen tonsils or adenoids cause obstructive sleep apnea, both the tonsils and adenoids are usually removed surgically to open up your child’s airway.

According to a 2016 study, adenoid removal was just as beneficial as tonsil and adenoid removal for a child who was under the age of seven, did not have childhood obesity, had moderate, rather than severe, obstructive sleep apnea, and had tiny tonsils.

CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Therapy

Your child may require continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy if his or her sleep apnea is severe or does not improve with initial treatment.

CPAP therapy involves your child sleeping with a mask that covers their nose and mouth. The mask is linked to a CPAP machine, which supplies a constant flow of air to keep their airway open. CPAP can alleviate the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea but cannot cure it. 

Mouth Appliances

Oral appliances are also available for children with obstructive sleep apnea to wear while sleeping. These devices are intended to hold the jaw forward, maintain the tongue in place, and keep the airway open. CPAP is generally more effective, but youngsters tolerate oral appliances better and are more likely to use them every night.

Oral appliances do not benefit every child, but they may be an option for older children who have stopped growing facial bones.

Device for Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation (NIPPV)

A noninvasive positive pressure ventilation device (NIPPV) may be more effective for children with central apnea. These gadgets allow you to program a backup breathing rate. This ensures that a youngster takes a certain number of breaths every minute, even if the brain does not send a signal to do so.

Apnea Detectors

Infants with central apnea can benefit from apnea alarms. When an apnea episode occurs, the alarm goes off. This awakens the infant and brings the apneic episode to an end. If the infant outgrows sleep apnea, you can turn off the alert. Outside of a hospital environment, apnea alarms are almost never suggested.

Other resources:
Side effects of CPAP masks therapy
How Resmed Airsense 10 CPAP Machine Can Help Treat Your Sleep Apnea Symptoms
How to Avoid Rainout, Water, and Moisture in Tubing And Masks of Your CPAP Machine

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