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Diagnosed with OSA? Sleep Apnea Treatments

Sleep apnea treatments are determined by the individual's specific sleep apnea characteristics.

Types of Sleep Apnea Treatments

Sleep Apnea Treatments include:
  • Behavioral Therapies
  • Positive pressure therapy
  • Oral appliances
  • Surgery.

For mild sleep apnea, Behavioral therapies are an important part of the Sleep apnea treatments. The following are the most effective Behavioral therapies

Sleep Apnea Treatments - Behavioral therapies:

Lose weight: It is one of the most significant remedies for sleep apnea. Overweight individuals who lose even 10% of their weight can reduce sleep apnea during the night and dramatically improve the quality of their sleep.

Eliminate the use of alcohol, tobacco, and sedatives such as sleeping pills: If alcohol, tobacco, and sleeping pills are avoided, this can reduce the airway closure during the night and therefore sleep apnea.

Sleep on your side:People who experience sleep apnea only when they sleep on their backs can benefit from special pillows or folk remedies that encourage side-sleeping, such as the tennis ball trick.

Regularize your sleep hours: Irregular sleep hours can throw off your sleep cycles and lead to breathing problems during the most important sleep stages. Regularizing bedtime hours across the week and eliminating disturbances to your sleep can reduce sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Treatments - Positive pressure therapy:

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a sleep apnea treatment in which the patient wears a mask over the nose and/or mouth. An air blower forces air through the upper airway.

The air pressure is adjusted so that it is just enough to prevent the upper airway tissues from collapsing during sleep. The pressure is constant and continuous. CPAP prevents airway closure while in use, but apnea episodes return when CPAP is stopped or it is used improperly.

Other types of devices that vary in the way in which pressure is delivered are also available for people having difficulty tolerating CPAP.

Sleep Apnea Treatments - Oral appliances:

Dental appliances, or oral mandibular advancement devices, can be made to prevent the tongue from occluding the throat and/or advance the lower jaw forward when one is lying down.

These adjustments help keep the airway open during sleep. Such devices can be specifically, designed by dentists with special expertise in treating sleep apnea.

Surgical Sleep Apnea Treatments:

Surgical procedures may help people with sleep apnea. There are many types of surgical sleep apnea treatments, some of which are performed as outpatient procedures.

Surgery for sleep apnea is reserved for people with upper airway obstruction such as a deviated nasal septum, markedly enlarged tonsils or small lower jaw with an overbite causing the throat to be abnormally narrow.

These procedures are typically performed after sleep apnea has failed to respond to conservative measures and a trial of CPAP.

Surgical Sleep Apnea Treatments include:

  • Somnoplasty: A minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to reduce the soft tissue in the upper airway.
  • Uyulopalatopharyngoplasty [UPPP]: A procedure that removes soft tissue on the back of the throat and palate, increasing the width of the airway at the throat opening.
  • Mandibular maxillar advancement surgery: A surgical correction of certain facial abnormalities or throat obstructions that contribute to sleep apnea. This is an invasive procedure that is reserved for patients with severe sleep apnea with craniofacial abnormalities.
  • Nasal surgery: Correction of nasal obstructions such as a deviated septum.
  • Tongue reduction surgery: It is used to decrease the size of the base of tongue and to open the airway.
  • Tracheotomy: A tracheotomy is a procedure to bypass the narrowed airway.
  • Bariatric surgery: Bariatric surgery is associated with a marked reduction in weight post-operatively.
  • Genioglossus advancement: The Genio-Glossus Advancement (GGA) is a procedure to open the upper breathing passage.

Why is it important to treat sleep apnea?

Untreated obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of:

  • Heart attacks,
  • High blood pressure,
  • Sudden death.
  • Decreased productivity at work,
  • Strokes,
  • Decreased attentiveness

Therefore it is very important to go for sleep apnea treatments under the guidance of a doctor.

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