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Treatment of OSA requires a multi-faceted approach that encompasses patient education and may include medical, surgical and behavioural options.
Positive airway pressure therapy is widely regarded as the most effective way to treat OSA.1 It works by creating a "pneumatic splint" for the upper airway, preventing the soft tissues of the upper airway from narrowing and collapsing. Pressurised air is sent from a therapy device through air tubing and a mask that patients wear over their nose or mouth, through to the upper airway.
As a result of positive airway pressure therapy, a patient with severe sleep apnea may experience a return to a normal sleep pattern once his or her sleep debt resolves.
ResMed's AirSense and AirCurve series of devices have helped patients sleep through the four hour compliance threshold. AirSense and AirCurve devices are stylish and quiet, and provide a variety of unique features that are designed to deliver a more comfortable sleeping experience for your patients.
Positive airway pressure therapy can be delivered in a number of modes:
An oral appliance, often called a mandibular repositioning device (MRD), can be a second line therapy option and can be considered for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea. It is a custom-made, adjustable oral appliance available from a dentist that holds the lower jaw in a forward position during sleep. This mechanical protrusion expands the space behind the tongue, puts tension on the pharyngeal walls to reduce collapse of the airway and diminishes palate vibration.
Surgery is also an option for treating sleep apnea, but as with all surgeries there are associated risks.
Uvulopalatopharyngoplastry (UPPP) has been widely used to treat snoring or OSA, but is not recommended as the first choice treatment option2. This surgical procedure involves the removal of the tonsils, soft palate/uvula and closure of the tonsillar pillars and certain risks are involved3.
Helping your patients start and continue with the most effective sleep apnea treatment can help them take back control of their lives. Effective treatment can help reverse the effects of daytime vigilance, cognitive dysfunction and mood disorders4. It is a source of lost productivity in the workplace5, 6 and increases motor vehicle accident risk.7, 8, 9
Epidemiology studies have also shown OSA to be independently associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, although no causal links.10, 11
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