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Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea treatments will vary for each person depending on the type and severity of the condition. This page will focus on treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. We have another page that discusses treatment for central sleep apnea. Please keep in mind that many of the treatment options below will take some adjustment and time to get used to. However, the improvement in your health and energy level is well worth it.

Mouthpieces and Dental Devices

A mouthpiece that is custom made by a dentist is one treatment option for sleep apnea. Generally, these mouthpieces are designed to prevent your jaw and tongue from blocking your airway while you sleep.

Weight Loss and Lifestyle Changes

For mild cases of sleep apnea, treatment can be as simple as laying on your side when you sleep and avoiding alcohol or medications that make you sleepy before bedtime. Furthermore, weight loss can be an important factor in treating sleep apnea.

CPAP - Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP means Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and is a very common treatment for sleep apnea. This type of therapy is designed to use air to keep the airway open while you sleep. The system usually involves a CPAP machine that sits on your bedside nite stand and a CPAP mask that is worn while you sleep. An example of positive airway pressure can be noticed when you whistle. When you pucker your lips and blow, your cheeks will sort of "puff out" or "puff open". CPAP machines use air to help "puff open" the airway and keep it from closing off during sleep.

Surgical Treatment for Sleep Apnea

There are a couple of surgical options that can be used to treat more severe cases of sleep apnea. In fact, if sleep apnea is left untreated surgery may become the only option for many people. One type of surgery is called a Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty or UPPP for short. This surgery involves re-shaping the back portion of the roof of the mouth (the soft palat), partial or complete removal of the uvula (the piece of tissue that hangs down in the back of the mouth), and tightening the sides of the throat. For the most severe cases of sleep apnea, a tracheostomy surgery will be the only option. A tracheostomy involves placing a tube in your neck and directly into the airway. This will ensure that air can easily flow into and out of the lungs.

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