Families Can Fight Sleep Apnea: Therapy Works Best With Support

Difficult circumstances can be easier to cope with when your loved ones are helping you out and cheering you on. This is also the case when it comes to medical treatments, especially those known for being difficult to deal with. When the family takes the position that they are in it together, patients can expect better outcomes and improved overall health. In fact, families can fight sleep apnea as a unit, and this can make all the difference.

Sleep apnea is a common medical condition that affects over 5 percent of the population. The condition causes brief pauses in breathing during sleep, which prevents the sufferer from getting adequate sleep. It also lowers blood oxygen levels and can have serious long term effects on health. At its worse, sleep apnea can be life-threatening. This makes patient compliance with proven treatments important.

The good news is that sleep apnea can be treated using CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure. This device, while uncomfortable, can greatly reduce symptoms and slow the progress of the disorder. However, patient acceptance and use of this form of treatment is imperfect. Wearing the apparatus to bed can be a tough lifestyle adjustment. Many report they cannot get a good night’s rest while using it and, therefore, stop treatment.

In order to see what might help patients better adjust and stick to the therapy, researchers decided to look into family relationships. What they found showed that single patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea had more trouble adhering to the CPAP treatment. Conversely, those who were married or had stronger family ties were more likely to follow through with the therapy. The study was one of the first to show that families can fight sleep apnea together, especially when physicians get involved and encourage family involvement and support. When this happens, the loved one is more likely to stay on the road to recovery.