Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

Specific treatment will be determined by your physician based on:

·                     your age, overall health, and medical history

·                     extent of the disease

·                     your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

·                     expectations for the course of the disease

·                     your opinion or preference

Medications are generally not effective in the treatment of sleep apnea. Therapy for sleep apnea is specifically designed for each individual patient, and may include the following:

·                     Oxygen administration may safely benefit certain patients, but does not eliminate sleep apnea or prevent daytime sleepiness. Its role in the treatment of sleep apnea is controversial.

·                     Behavioral changes are an important part of a treatment program, and in mild cases of sleep apnea, behavioral therapy may be all that is needed. The patient may be advised to:

·                     avoid the use of alcohol.

·                     avoid the use of tobacco.

·                     avoid the use of sleeping pills.

·                     lose weight if overweight (even a 10 percent weight loss can reduce the number of apneic events for most patients).

·                     use pillows and other devices to help sleep in a side position.

·                     Physical or Mechanical Therapy
Nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a procedure in which the patient wears a mask over the nose during sleep, and pressure from an air blower forces air through the nasal passages.

Dental appliances that reposition the lower jaw and the tongue have been helpful to some patients with mild sleep apnea, or who snore but do not have apnea.

·                     Surgery
Some patients with sleep apnea may need surgery. Examples of these procedures include:

·                     Common surgical procedures to remove of adenoids and tonsils, nasal polyps or other growths or tissue in the airway, and correction of structural deformities.

·                     Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) - a procedure used to remove excess tissue at the back of the throat (tonsils, uvula, and part of the soft palate).

·                     Surgical reconstruction for deformities of the lower jaw may benefit some patients.

·                     Surgical procedures to treat obesity are sometimes recommended for sleep apnea patients who are morbidly obese.

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