4 Treatments For Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Posted on: 12 September 2014

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder. When you sleep, the tissue inside your mouth and throat collapses, blocking your airway. Every time this happens, you'll wake up, start breathing again, and then fall back asleep. If you're ready to stop feeling constantly exhausted by this condition, there are numerous treatment options available to you. Here are four treatments you can consider.

Lifestyle changes

Your lifestyle plays a role in sleep apnea, and making a few simple changes can help to reduce your symptoms. Overweight people are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea, so working on losing weight can reduce your symptoms. This is especially important if you carry your extra weight on your face and neck, since this extra tissue can put pressure on your airway. 

Drinking alcohol and smoking can also make your symptoms worse, so if you're a drinker or a smoker, try to quit. 

CPAP machine

A continuous positive airway pressure machine, usually called a CPAP machine, can also be an effective treatment. You will wear a mask over your nose and mouth, and the machine will pump pressurized air into your throat. This pressurized air keeps the tissues in your throat from collapsing and blocking your airway. 

These machines are widely used and are the most effective treatment for sleep apnea, aside from surgery. They can be used even in severe cases, with good results. 

Wearing a mask to bed might sound uncomfortable, but most people get used to it after a few days. Feeling well rested again is worth a few days of minor discomfort.

Dental devices

If you don't want to wear a mask every night, you have other options. Some people prefer to wear a dental device. These devices are custom made by either a dentist or orthodontist, and will keep your airway open while you sleep.

The most common dental device is called a mandibular advancement device. This looks like a sports mouth guard, and you will wear it on both your upper and lower teeth. Metal hinges hold the two halves of the mouth guard together, and also pull your lower jaw forward. This opens up your airway. 

Another type of dental device is a tongue retaining device. It holds your tongue down and keeps it from blocking your airway. 

These devices are very effective, and have been shown to be as effective as surgical treatments. There are a few side effects, though. Your teeth might move, altering your bite, or you might drool. 


Surgery is usually a last resort treatment. CPAP machines and dental devices are very effective, so your doctor will have you try those before suggesting surgery. 

There are a few different surgical procedures that are used to treat sleep apnea. The most common one is uvulopalatopharyngoplasty. That word is quite a mouthful, but the procedure is actually quite simple. The surgeon will remove your uvula, your soft palate (part of the roof of your mouth), and any excess tissue in your throat. This excess tissue might include your tonsils and adenoids, if you haven't already had them removed. 

Sometimes, you won't need that much tissue removed. Some people will only need to have their tonsils and adenoids removed. Other people will need more invasive surgeries, such as surgery to re-position the jaw and open the airway. 

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can decrease both your sleep quality and your quality of life. There's no reason for you to keep suffering from sleep apnea, since there are so many effective treatments available. Visit http://www.cornermedical.com for more information, or make an appointment with your doctor right away to discuss your options so you can start feeling better.