Sleep Apnea Treatment
Treatment for sleep apnea depends on the cause and extent of the condition. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, use of an air device, dental appliance, and surgery. Some people may use more than one type of treatment.
Lifestyle changes may treat mild cases of sleep apnea and help reduce the number of apneic episodes for others. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can help. Even small weight loss amounts can reduce the amount of apneic episodes. You should avoid using alcohol, tobacco, sedatives, or sleeping pills. Additionally, it may be helpful to sleep on your side instead of your back.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP entails wearing a device over the nose during sleep. The nasal device is connected to a small machine that creates airflow and gentle air pressure to keep the airway open. CPAP is an effective way to treat sleep apnea.
Dental devices are another method of treatment. Dental appliances are used to position the lower jaw and tongue during sleep. Such devices may be appropriate for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea.
In some cases, surgery may be used to increase the size of the airway. Common surgeries include removal of the tonsils, adenoids, and excess throat or palate tissue. Nasal surgery may be used to remove obstructions, such as polyps. Children appear to benefit more from surgery for sleep apnea than adults do.
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