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Sleep Apnea Treatment

Some people dream of a good night’s sleep

Approximately 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Fortunately, there are a variety of sleep apnea treatments to choose from to help you get the restorative sleep you’ve been daydreaming about. Here are some of the sleep apnea treatments that our sleep specialists recommend to patients.

 

Natural Remedies for Sleep Apnea

For mild cases of sleep apnea, lifestyle changes may be all that’s needed to rectify your sleep apnea. Even if your sleep specialist determines that you have a more severe case, these lifestyle changes for sleep apnea can help to relieve some of your symptoms and complement other treatments.

Quit Smoking - Smoking and sleep apnea often go hand in hand. Smoking irritates the tissues in the upper airway, which can cause inflammation that narrows the airway and contributes to both sleep apnea and snoring.

Lose Weight - The majority of people who suffer from sleep apnea are also overweight. This may be caused by enlarged fat pockets in the throat and upper respiratory system blocking the flow of air. Losing even a few pounds can make a tremendous difference in your sleep apnea symptoms.

Become a Side Sleeper - Back sleepers are more likely to have respiratory problems when they sleep, including sleep apnea. Learning to sleep on your side may help. Though it’s tough to learn to sleep in a new position, it can be done! There are all types of tricks to learning a new sleep position online. Do some research and find a way that works for you.

Address Allergies - If you suffer from seasonal, mold, dust, or pet dander allergies that cause nasal congestion, this inflammation of your sinuses and upper airway can narrow the airway and contribute to sleep apnea. Take allergy medication as needed to keep your allergies at bay and improve your nighttime breathing.

Medical Treatments for Sleep Apnea

If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to reduce your sleep apnea symptoms, you may need medical intervention. There are multiple levels of medical treatments for sleep apnea, from a simple oral mouthpiece to surgery. Your sleep specialist will recommend the right sleep apnea treatment for you based on the data collected with your ARES at-home sleep study. Those recommendations may include:

  • Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea - Oral devices for sleep apnea hold your jaw in a position that keeps your throat open as you sleep and/or prevents your tongue from falling back into your throat and blocking your airway.
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machine - A CPAP machine uses positive airway pressure to keep your airways open as you sleep. To use a CPAP machine, you’ll wear a mask over your mouth or nose while you sleep. The mask is attached to the CPAP machine, which delivers a steady flow of air into your nose to keep your airways open. CPAP machines are the most common treatment for sleep apnea.
  • Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BPAP) Machine - A BPAP works much like a CPAP, delivering positive airway pressure via airflow from the mask. With a BPAP, however, the airflow changes as you inhale and exhale. When you inhale, the BPAP machine delivers more air pressure. When you exhale, the machine delivers less air pressure. BPAP treatment is not recommended for people who have trouble swallowing, difficulty breathing, or trouble staying conscious when they talk.
  • Automatic Positive Airway Pressure (APAP) Machines - An automatic positive airway pressure machine holds your airway open so that it cannot be blocked during sleep. The APAP machine senses how much air pressure you need and adjusts itself accordingly.
  • Somnoplasty - Somnoplasty is a procedure that shrinks the tissues of your small pallet, as well as increasing the stiffness of the tissues so that it is less likely to fall and block your airway at night. This procedure is usually done in a doctor’s office.
  • Upper airway stimulation - For people who cannot use a CPAP machine, an upper airway stimulator is an alternative. A UAS detects your natural breathing patterns and sends signals to the nerves of your neck, telling them to keep your airways open.

 

 


Surgery For Sleep Apnea

Though most patients who suffer from sleep apnea do not require surgical treatment, sleep-apnea surgery is a saving grace for patients with hard-to-treat sleep apnea that does not respond well to other lifestyle changes and less invasive treatments. The most common types of surgery for sleep apnea include:

  • Endoscopic Sinus Surgery - Chronic sinusitis can sometimes lead to sleep apnea, as mucus blocks the airways and stops the healthy flow of air. Endoscopic sinus surgery removes nasal blockages so that the sinus cavity can drain normally, which improves airflow.
  • Septoplasty - Septoplasty is a surgery that straightens a crooked septum, which can impede airflow and contribute to sleep apnea. The septum is the bony structure that separates the nostrils.
  • Turbinate Reduction - Turbinates are bony structures of the nose. Allergies can irritate the spongy lining of the turbinates, causing them to swell and restrict airflow. Turbinate reduction lessens the size of the turbinates so they do not block airflow.
  • Nasal valve surgery - Nasal values that have collapsed can interfere with breathing and cause sleep apnea. Nasal valve surgery aims to reopen collapsed nasal values and prop them open permanently with grafts.
  • Distraction Osteogenesis Maxillary Expansion - If your upper jaw is too narrow, so is the bottom of the nasal cavity, which can restrict airflow. Distraction osteogenesis maxillary expansion increases the size of the upper jaw, which expands the airway and increases airflow.
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty - Say that five times fast! UPPP is a procedure that removes soft tissue from the palate and the back of the throat, increasing the size of the airway at the opening of the throat and facilitating better breathing.
  • Maxillomandibular advancement surgery - This surgery addresses facial issues and blockages in the throat that may cause or exacerbate sleep apnea symptoms. MMA surgery repositions the bones of the upper and lower jaw to relieve airway obstruction. This surgery also moves the muscles in the pharyngeal airway and increases soft tissue tension to improve airflow.