- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Sinus Problems And Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OTC): Throat Exercises, Breathing, Obesity Cure And More
Sleep apnea is a condition that affects more than twenty million americans and is considered to be a serious sleeping disorder. It is characterized by a sudden stop in breathing which continues for several seconds to several minutes. A person with sleep apnea may awaken 100 or more times during the night. Side effects associated with sleep apnea include poor quality sleep, poor concentration during the day and emotional disorders. In many cases people with sleep apnea are unable to enter into REM sleep. Without REM sleep dreams do not occur which leads to serious emotional disorders. Periods of apnea stress the heart and may lead to cardiac damage. Sleep apnea has been linked to hypertension, stroke, heart attacks.
The standard treatment is the use of a breathing machine designed to keep airways open during sleep. The machine uses a method known as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) which prevents airways from closing and cutting off the supply of oxygen. The machines works well but is expensive and there have been complaints of uncomfortable side effects such as congestion.
The best way to treat sleep apnea is to decrease symptoms or eliminate them all together. Making lifestyle changes which include eliminating factors that promote sleep apnea and adding those which will promote easy breathing is the ideal solution.
What Causes Breathing Passage Ways to Close?
Sleep apnea also known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when throat muscles become to relaxed due to poor muscle tone. When this happens, the uvula and tongue can fall into a position that blocks the airway passage to the lungs. Snoring is often an indication of sleep apnea but many snorers do not have the condition.
Causes and Treatments for Sleep Apnea
Overweight and Obesity - Many people who are overweight or obese suffer from OSA. When sleeping on the back, fat deposits in the mouth and throat can limit breathing, increasing the possibility of sleep apnea. A study conducted at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden revealed that weight loss cured fifty percent of sleep apnea cases in overweight or obese individuals.
Allergies and sinus problems - These conditions can limited breathing by narrowing or blocking airway passages. Over the counter drugs are not the best way to treat these allergies and sinus problems because they only mask the problem. The best way to treat these conditions is by making lifestyle changes that will eliminate allergies and sinus problems.
Smoking, Alcohol and Sedatives - Smoking increases the risk of sleep apnea because it causes congestion in upper bronchial passages. Studies have shown that quitting smoking greatly decreases the risk of sleep apnea. Drinking alcohol or taking sedatives at bedtime should also be avoided as they have been found to depress the nervous system, relax muscles increasing the possibility of breathing stoppage.
One free method found effective at decreasing or eliminating OSA in some individuals is throat exercises. Research suggests that building muscle around the airways is effective at preventing them from collapsing during the night. A study was published recently in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. In the study participants were split into two groups. One group did 30 minutes of breathing exercises while the other did 30 minutes of throat exercise. After 3 months the group that engaged in throat exercises reduced the severity of their condition greatly.
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