TREATMENT OPTIONS

Treatment for Sleep Apnea Falls Into 3 General Categories:

CPAP Ventilator Devices

CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) devices are machines that produces a stream of air and connect via hoses to a face mask. These devices work by blowing air down the airway in order to keep it open. 
 Advantages:
  • CPAP is an effective treatment for sleep apnea when patients can tolerate it
  • Although burdensome, positive airway pressure devices successfully manage sleep apnea
 
Disadvantages:
  • It is estimated that less than 50% of patients are able to successfully wear CPAP
  • Even patients that successfully wear it often only wear it 4-5 hours per night
  • Patients report side effects as reasons for non-compliance: air leakage, discomfort, bloating, dryness, claustrophobia, irritations, inconvenience, travel difficulties, and a social stigma
  • Long term compliance is very poor
 
However, if it can be tolerated, the successful management of sleep apnea will outweigh the disadvantages.
  

Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral Appliance Therapy uses an appliance worn at night that fits over the top and bottom teeth to hold the lower jaw more forward. This opens the airway mechanically and increases the muscle activity supporting the airway, allowing for a healthy airflow. 
 Advantages:
  • Oral Appliance Therapy is a very successful treatment for OSA - it has been shown to be as effective as CPAP treatment for alleviating health outcomes
  • Patients agree that the Oral Appliance is more comfortable, convenient, and significantly less burdensome
  • Oral Appliance Therapy is preferred 19:1 over CPAP use by patients
  • Compliance is much higher and is excellent even long term
 
Disadvantages
  • Some severe cases of sleep apnea do not respond as well to oral appliance therapy
  • Minor side effects like morning tenderness and minor bite changes can rarely occur
 
However, the successful management of sleep apnea easily outweighs any minor disadvantages.
  

Surgery

  Possible surgical procedures include:
 
  • UPPP - removal of the uvula and portions of the soft palate to clear oral obstructions - success of procedure is limited
  • Maxillofacial Surgery - an involved procedure that aims to advance the mandible surgically or manipulate the jaw position  - success of procedure is limited
  • Tracheostomy - an direct opening through the neck and windpipe is made - only done in extreme non-responsive cases
  • Pillar Procedure - surgical placement of polyester inserts in the soft palate  - early results show limited success
  
Surgery is considered only in very rare cases when conservative approaches are unsuccessful. Oral Appliance Therapy or CPAP use to improve the condition is always attempted first. Long term surgical results are not fantastic.

A decision on your treatment regime will always combine an objective evaluation of the severity of your sleep apnea as well as your treatment preferences.

Avoidance of Risk Factors and Behavior Modification:

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, don't let it go untreated. Call us today for the treatment you need. The following suggestions are supplemental therapy and not intended for treatment of sleep apnea independent of other devices. However, over time, avoiding certain risk factors and improving habits can have a huge impact on your sleep apnea and your overall health.
 
Perhaps the most obvious behavior modification that can impact sleep apnea is weight management. Obesity and increased weight are highly correlated with sleep apnea and many patients that make large changes can significantly improve their condition.

Other behavior modification methods include positional therapy that encourage side sleeping or a slightly more upright position.
 
  • Improving your sleep hygiene can improve your overall sleep as well. Here are some of our best suggestions:
  • After 8PM avoid alcohol, as well as coffee, nicotine, and even food
  • Have as little light as possible in the room while you sleep
  • Set the temperature somewhere between 65-72 degrees at night, the cooler the better
  • Avoid excessive napping during the day
  • Associate your bed with sleep (don't lay or lounge in it throughout the day)
  • Exercise during the day, even just an easy walk
  • Expose yourself to natural light during the day, even if it's just during your daily walk
  

  1. Step 1 - Book a Consultation
    Set up a completely free consultation to go over your specific situation and have a face-to-face conversation to learn about sleep apnea and hear potential options.
  2. Step 2 - Take an Easy Home Sleep Test
    To determine if you have sleep apnea, we can help you take a simple and convenient sleep test in the comfort of your own home!
  3. Step 3 - Get Your Custom Plan
    Once we've received your results and processed the information, you'll get a custom plan of action tailored to your specific situation that takes into account your individual treatment preferences. Plus your insurance may cover most or all of the treatment costs!
Find Out Which Treatment Option is Right For You - Get Your Customized "Restful Sleep" Plan Today

Call Today to set up a free consultation! 316-613-3300