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Lifestyle and Sleep Apnea

jogging manAt Sleep Birmingham, we emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle in achieving restful sleep. There is a clear connection between lifestyle and sleep apnea, and our Birmingham, AL, practice excels at identifying the lifestyle changes necessary to help patients alleviate symptoms or overcome this sleep disorder completely.

After pursuing specialized training in sleep apnea, Dr. Bruce Spink added Sleep Birmingham to his dental practice, where he incorporates dentistry and other techniques in his treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). To arrange a personal consultation appointment with Dr. Spink, please contact our office today.

Dr. Spink has helped many to achieve a better quality of life through sleep apnea treatment, and he welcomes new patients.

Lifestyle and Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles relax abnormally and obstruct breathing during sleep. Repeated interruption of breathing makes it difficult to achieve restful sleep, leading to chronic daytime fatigue, headaches and other symptoms. Over time, OSA can increase your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, so sufferers should take all appropriate steps to control the disorder.

Many sleep apnea sufferers are overweight and lead a sedentary lifestyle. Many are smokers. Making lifestyle changes in order to achieve better overall health can make a significant difference in the severity and effects of sleep apnea.

Some lifestyle changes that can relieve sleep apnea symptoms include:

  • Weight Loss - Excess weight contributes to constriction of the throat muscles, and even moderate weight loss can alleviate sleep apnea symptoms. In some cases, patients who achieve a healthy weight experience complete remission of sleep apnea.
  • Exercise – Patients who begin a regular exercise program can relieve symptoms of sleep apnea even without dietary changes. Walking 30 minutes a day four to seven days per week can often help ease symptoms.
  • Stopping Smoking – Smoking has been shown to exacerbate OSA. Quitting this habit will boost the effectiveness of sleep apnea treatment. 
  • Limiting Alcohol and Tranquilizing Medication – Alcohol and sleeping pills may make you fall asleep faster, but they contribute to abnormal relaxation of the throat muscles.

In addition to these lifestyle changes, Dr. Spink always advises sleep apnea patients to avoid sleeping on their backs. This causes the tongue and soft palate to rest against the back of the throat, blocking the airway. Sleeping on your side or on your stomach can result in immediate relief of apnea symptoms.

Treatment at Sleep Birmingham

If you have been diagnosed with OSA, Dr. Spink can offer effective treatment options. In some cases, he provides patients with a custom oral appliance that can position the jaw to prevent obstruction of the airway and promote stability of the throat muscles. Dr. Spink can also perform dental treatment to realign and balance your bite to improve the position of soft tissue, alleviating blockage.

If Dr. Spink cannot alleviate your apnea symptoms, he will refer you elsewhere for treatment alternatives.

Contact Us

Dr. Spink has helped many to achieve a better quality of life through sleep apnea treatment, and he welcomes new patients. Sleep apnea treatment is sometimes covered by insurance, and our staff is glad to speak to your insurance provider on your behalf to determine what contribution they can make to the cost of treatment. We also offer CareCredit℠ for affordable financing. Please contact us today to set up an appointment with Dr. Spink.

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