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Sleep Apnea Devices

Aug 17, 2007
Fortunately for sleep apnea sufferers there are solutions. In fact, there are more sleep apnea devices available now than ever before. In this article, we're going to explore some of these devices, how they work, and the benefits they provide.

Sleep apnea is defined as "a common sleep disorder characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep." These interruptions of sleep are referred to as apneas. They generally span a period of ten seconds or more and can take place any number of times throughout the course of a night. Those who suffer from this condition often wake throughout the night as a result of their struggles to catch their breath. Often, they will have no recollection of these events.

The CPAP Machine

The most common of the sleep apnea devices is the CPAP machine. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a form of therapy that creates a steady stream of air flow into the lungs in order to make it possible for "uninterrupted breathing and unobstructed airways during sleep."

This is accomplished with the use of a CPAP machine and a mask worn over the face. The CPAP machine pumps a consistent flow of air into the mask, which keeps your throat open throughout the night. The result is a reduction of snoring, which is often one of the most common signs of this condition.

A CPAP sleep apnea device should be used whenever you sleep, even for naps. And while a CPAP device will generally reduce the number of apneas throughout the night, it does not cure this condition. It simply allows for a better night's sleep, with more REM sleep. The lack of REM sleep can be one of this condition's most destructive results.

Some people have difficulty with CPAP devices. They find them too noisy or too uncomfortable, or in some cases they wake up with a dry, stuffy nose every morning (there are sleep apnea devices equipped with a heated humidifier that can minimize this last problem).

The Oral Appliance

The next of the most common device for this condition is the oral appliance. Originally, oral appliances were designed to decrease the incidence of snoring and they did an excellent job. However, with improvements in their design they've also become helpful for those who suffer from mild to moderate forms of sleep apnea.

There are a variety of oral devices available. Two of the most popular include the splint and the mandibular advancement device (MAD). The splint keeps the tongue in a particular position throughout the night. By so doing, it allows the air passage to remain open and clear.

The mandibular advancement device (MAD) looks similar to the sports mouth guards that athletes wear for protection. This apparatus forces the lower jaw in a backward direction, which allows for plenty of room for air flow. This encourages you to sleep on your back. It also improves the flow of air into and out of the lungs (although this is less the case for those who suffer from severe forms of this condition).

The oral appliance and the CPAP machine are two of the most common sleep apnea devices. They are also two of the most effective devices. If you've been diagnosed with sleep apnea, ask your doctor about the best treatments for you in your particular situation.
About the Author
David Silva is the webmaster for Sleep Apnea Insights , a website dedicated to sharing information about sleep apnea, sleep apnea devices , its treatments, and more.
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