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5 Sleep Apnea Treatment Options You Should Know

By Manjari Bansal
If you have sleep apnea, a CPAP machine may be one of the therapeutic options recommended by your doctor. Find out more about five sleep apnea treatment options.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing stops repeatedly during sleep. Treatment for the condition depends on its severity and cause, and there are several therapeutic methods available to address it. Here are five treatment options commonly recommended by experts.

Lifestyle Changes

Mayo Clinic notes that your doctor may recommend some alterations in your lifestyle to address the symptoms of mild sleep apnea. 

These lifestyle changes could include:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased physical activity
  • Smoking and alcohol use cessation
  • Avoidance of certain medications such as opioids, benzodiazepines, and muscle relaxers
  • Alterations in sleeping position and environment
  • Treatment of nasal congestion and allergies
  • Dietary changes

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy

“One of the most commonly prescribed forms of sleep apnea treatment is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy,” Carlos M. Nunez, MD, chief medical officer at ResMed, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

If you have moderate-to-severe sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend using a CPAP machine that delivers a steady stream of pressurized air through a mask while you sleep, reports Mayo Clinic. The air pressure keeps the upper airway open, preventing pauses in breathing and snoring.

“CPAP is often referred to as ‘the gold standard’ treatment option and modern CPAP therapy is much more comfortable, quieter, and smaller than ever beforemaking therapy more convenient and comfortable for patients,” Nunez adds.

Other Airway Pressure Devices

Some people require a different type of airway pressure machine to get relief from sleep apnea symptoms, according to Cleveland Clinic. Unlike a CPAP machine, which emits air at a single constant pressure, a bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machine emits increased pressure during inhalation and reduced pressure during exhalation.

Oral Appliances

An oral appliance may be another option for you if you’re unable to comply with CPAP therapy. Oral appliances come in a variety of forms, and the most popular option is a mandibular advancement device (MAD), which resembles a mouthguard. These devices keep the airway unobstructed during sleep by repositioning the lower jaw.

Surgery

Surgery is an option when other less-invasive methods like CPAP therapy have failed to bring relief, according to Mayo Clinic. However, for a small number of patients with particular structural jaw issues, it’s the first line of defense. 

Surgery can be used to remove tissue from the soft palate, tonsils, uvula, adenoids, or tongue to alleviate the apnea issue. A less-risky procedure called radiofrequency ablation can also shrink tissues in the rear of the mouth and back of the throat. As with all treatment options, thorough examination and diagnosis will be required beforehand. 

Think you may have a sleep disorder? Start your journey to more restful sleep TODAY.

Untreated sleep disorders can negatively affect your physical and emotional health. Sleep testing can help you get the answers you need to receive the treatment you deserve. WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.