Professor Terry O’Brien… Royal Melbourne Hospital says there has been some evidence from other studies that patients with epilepsy may have an increased incidence of sleep-disordered breathing…
Doctors recruited 87 patients with epilepsy and monitored them in a sleep unit. They found 25 per cent had significant sleep-disordered breathing that was severe enough to require treatment…
Thirty-six-year-old Daniel Goldstein had always had strange sleeping habits, which included rocking back and forth during the night while he slept. Eventually, he was diagnosed with epilepsy but it was hard to stop seizures…
Since being treated for sleep apnoea, Mr Goldstein has also been able to reduce his epilepsy medications. Mr Goldstein was also given a CPAP machine which he says helps him soundly throughout the night.
[Extract] Sophie Scott. (2 Jun 2013). Doctors find key link between epilepsy and obstructive sleep apnoea. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-02/link-between-epilepsy-and-obstructive-sleep-apnoea/4728076. [accessed 24 Jun 2018]
For milder cases of obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes:
- Lose weight if you’re overweight.
- Exercise regularly.
- Drink alcohol moderately, if at all, and don’t drink several hours before bedtime.
- Quit smoking.
- Use a nasal decongestant or allergy medications.
- Don’t sleep on your back…
- Mouthpiece (oral device). Though positive airway pressure is often an effective treatment, oral appliances are an alternative for some people with mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea. These devices may reduce your sleepiness and improve your quality of life.
These devices are designed to keep your throat open. Some devices keep your airway open by bringing your jaw forward, which can sometimes relieve snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Other devices hold your tongue in a different position.
If you and your doctor decide to explore this option, you’ll need to see a dentist experienced in dental sleep medicine appliances for the fitting and follow-up therapy. A number of devices are available. Close follow-up is needed to ensure successful treatment.
Surgery or other Procedures
Surgery is usually considered only if other therapies haven’t been effective or haven’t been appropriate options for you. Surgical options may include:
- Surgical removal of tissue. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is a procedure in which your doctor removes tissue from the back of your mouth and top of your throat. Your tonsils and adenoids may be removed as well. UPPP usually is performed in a hospital and requires a general anesthetic.
Doctors sometimes remove tissue from the back of the throat with a laser (laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty) or with radiofrequency energy (radiofrequency ablation) to treat snoring. These procedures don’t treat obstructive sleep apnea, but they may reduce snoring.
Lifestyle and home remedies
In many cases, self-care may be the most appropriate way for you to deal with obstructive sleep apnea…
- Keep your nasal passages open while you sleep. If you have congestion, use a saline nasal spray to help keep your nasal passages open. Talk to your doctor about using nasal decongestants or antihistamines, because some medications may only be recommended for short-term use.
[Extract] Mayo Clinic Staff. (no date, accessed 24 Jun 2018). Obstructive sleep apnea. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obstructive-sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/syc-20352090. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER).