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Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

Specific therapy for sleep apnea is determined based on the individual’s medical history, physical examination, a patient’s physiological make-up and the results of a polysomnography (overnight sleep study). Treatment for sleep apnea ranges from very simple lifestyle changes to surgery.

 

CPAP Therapy

Continuous positive airway pressure therapy, or CPAP, is used to treat medium to severe sleep apnea. CPAP Therapy consists of a mask that utilizes an air compressor to force air into the airway – keeping it open and helping the patient breathe easily and continuously throughout the entire course of the night.

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Oral Appliance Therapy

For treating mild to moderate sleep apnea and snoring, the custom-made mandibular repositioning appliance, or MRA, works to open the patient’s airway by moving the jaw and tongue forward, thus increasing muscle tone in the soft palate and providing a better night’s sleep.

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Pillar Procedure

The Pillar Procedure is used in many cases to treat mild sleep apnea and primary snoring. This minimally invasive treatment option consists of tiny implants placed in the patient’s soft palate muscle to reduce its tendency to block the airway or flutter during sleep.

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Alternative Sleep Apnea Treatment Options:

 

  • Avoiding alcohol and medications that relax the airway and/or reduce respiratory strength.
  • Losing weight to reduce tissue around the neck and airway that causes apnea.
  • Utilizing positional therapy to adjust one’s sleeping position naturally to improve the airway passage.
  • Considering certain respiratory stimulant medications that can relieve sleep apnea symptoms.
  • Visiting a doctor to see if surgery is necessary to correct any physical abnormalities.

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Additional Surgery Options for Sleep Apnea:

 

  • Visiting a doctor to see if surgery is necessary to correct any physical abnormalities.
  • Considering a uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) to remove excess tissue in the back of the throat.
  • Undergoing a somnoplasty – a procedure that uses low power and specialized energy to reduce the tongue and alleviate snoring and apnea episodes.
  • Undergoing a tracheostomy – a procedure that consists of inserting a tube in the patient’s throat to open the windpipe (for severe cases only).

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Remember, the first step to getting help is to undergo an overnight sleep study that will determine the severity of your condition and provide an experienced and specially trained sleep physician with the necessary data to recommend therapy options. Although a sleep apnea/snoring sufferer may find immediate relief from a single treatment option, it may require multiple therapies to achieve substantial relief and long-term improvement.