Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder seen in all age groups, but most people of old age or are obese. In OSA, the airway becomes blocked, causing an interruption in breathing few times to dozens of times over the night. Having this kind of disorder is risking you to heart conditions including high blood pressure and stroke. Having familiarized on the symptoms of sleep apnea, now the only question is how to treat sleep apnea. There are four common types of treatment of sleep apnea, below is the list of options. However, before choosing a sleep apnea treatment, consult first with a doctor.
1. Weight loss (non-invasive)
Mild to moderate forms of sleep apnea range from 5-15 and 15-30 hypopnea events per hour, respectively, can be treated by losing weight. People that are overweight have a high-risk factor to develop obstructive sleep apnea. This is because the extra fat in the back of their throat can block the airways while sleeping.
Although losing that extra pound is easier said than done, it can give positive results. Like saving you from health problems such as heart disease and stroke. Losing that 10% of body weight can cure sleep apnea. And in some cases, losing a significant amount of weight is needed to cure the disorder.
In addition to losing weight, quitting smoking and not drinking alcohol before hitting the bed may help reduce sleep apnea. And may also make other treatments more effective. This treatment option requires time, discipline and patience to obtain a positive outcome. And is almost always a good strategy for people who are obese and suffering from OSA.
2. Oral Appliance Therapy (non-invasive)
Another alternative treatment is an oral appliance. This kind of treatment uses plastic inserts much like a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer fitted into the mouth. This removable oral appliance called mandibular repositioning device (MRD) prevents the airway from collapsing during sleep. In order for the device to be effective, a custom fit for an oral appliance is a must. Thus what works for one does not work for all.
Oral appliance therapy is proven effective for people with mild and moderate OSA, but can also be prescribed to patients with severe OSA that cannot tolerate CPAP. This kind of treatment is preferred by some because the MRD is small, portable and easy to use.
The side-effects of these oral appliances include drooling, joint pain around the jaw area over time, and dental problems.
3. Positive Airway Pressure Therapy (non-invasive)
This may be the most effective and least invasive treatment for sleep apnea. Positive Airway Pressure delivers constant air to the user while they sleep. This is the treatment of choice for patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea. There are different types of Positive Airway Pressure Therapy, read about it here.
This kind of therapy works well for everyone who is willing to commit to wearing the equipment. Most of the people who undergo PAP therapy does not like this kind of therapy because of the clunky equipment. Starting this kind of treatment requires time to getting used to.
4. Surgery (invasive)
Surgery is also an effective and safe treatment option for patients with sleep apnea. Particularly for those who are unable to tolerate wearing the clunky equipment of CPAP. The surgical procedure to treat sleep apnea involves removing some or all of the tonsils, soft palate and uvula. This type of treatment for sleep apnea is generally considered the last resort.
Like all invasive surgical procedures, there is a possibility of increased risk for developing respiratory and cardiovascular complications following surgery. Surgery can have side effects, that is why it is usually taken as a last resort.
The mentioned sleep apnea treatment works well. The only sure way to rid sleep apnea for good is to first identify the level of severity. Before deciding on a treatment, consult first with a doctor specializing in sleep apnea treatment. Given all the available treatment for sleep apnea, it’s worth comparing the factors like risks, costs, and availability.