Sleep apnea treatment options

You know the benefits of treating sleep apnea. Now the only question is how. 

There are four common sleep apnea treatment options:

1.  Positive airway pressure therapy (non-invasive)

CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) delivers constant airflow to people while they sleep. CPAP is often referred to as “the gold standard” treatment option and is the most  commonly prescribed.

APAP (automatic positive airway pressure) automatically varies its air pressure throughout the night in response to a person’s needs, making treatment more comfortable.

Bilevel therapy is typically used when someone needs a higher pressure for effective treatment.      

2.  Oral appliance therapy (non-invasive)

A mandibular repositioning device (MRD) is a custom-fitted mouthpiece that holds your jaw in a forward position while you sleep to expand the space behind your tongue. This helps keep your upper airway open, preventing apneas and snoring. They’re proven effective for people with mild and moderate obstructive sleep apnea,1 but might also be prescribed to patients with severe OSA who cannot tolerate CPAP.  

3.  Surgery (invasive)

There are several surgical procedures that can improve the exact area of obstruction in patients’ upper respiratory tracts. “Often it takes a combination of procedures to achieve success,” according to the American Sleep Apnea Association2. And as with all invasive surgical procedures, there is the risk of negative side effects.  

4.  Weight loss

In some patients with milder forms of sleep apnea, losing weight can help reduce apneas and alleviate their symptoms.

Before choosing a sleep apnea treatment option, talk with your doctor. The severity of your sleep apnea, your current physical condition and medical history will help determine the best plan for you.

References

  • 01

    Meurice et al. ORCADES: A prospective cohort study of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) patients receiving second-line treatment with a mandibular repositioning device (MRD). Eur Resp J 2013;42(57):1056S.

  • 02

    American Sleep Association. Accessed 13/7/2015. http://www.sleepapnea.org/treat/treatment-options/surgery.html. Accessed 13/7/2015.

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