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Dr. Manoj K Goel
Director & Head
Dept of Pulmonology, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
Fortis Memorial Research Institute,Gurugram(Delhi & NCR)

How is obstructive sleep apnea treated? 


Sleep apnea can be e ectively treated, and there are a number of ways to do so. The type of treatment recommended will depend on the reason for and severity of the sleep apnea.

General Measures:

  • If your OSA is from being overweight, weight loss may cause the apnea to go away completely.  
  • You can avoid alcohol for at least 4 hours before going to bed.
  • If you sleep on your back, you can use a pillow or some other strategy to force yourself to sleep on your side. Some people sew a tennis ball into their pajama bottoms to remind them not to turn on their back. 

 

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure:

CPAP is a device commonly ordered to treat OSA. CPAP is a machine that works like a compressor to blow air into a mask that is worn snugly over the nose and/or mouth or in the nostrils (nasal pillows) during sleep. The flow of air acts like a splint to keep the upper airway from collapsing. This helps prevent obstruction and the apnea from occurring. The air pressure is adjusted to a setting that best controls the apnea. Often a person will also notice much less snoring when wearing CPAP.  

Oral Appliances:

There are devices a which can be used to treat OSA. The type of device  will depend
on what has cause the apnea. Some oral appliances or devices that are worn in the mouth during sleep may keep your airway open. Most oral devices work by either bringing the jaw forward or keeping the tongue from blocking the throat. Oral appliances are most likely to help a person who has mild sleep apnea and who is not overweight. These devices are usually custom-made and fitted under the supervision of a specialized dentist or oral surgeon who works with these problems.  

Surgery: 

Surgery may be recommended in some cases. When the tonsils or adenoids are causing the throat to be blocked,
a tonsillectomy may be recommended. Surgery may also be helpful for patients with jaw problems. Other surgeries for OSA either clear out tissue from the back of the throat, reposition the tongue forward, or implant a nerve stimulator to cause the tongue to move forward during sleep. These surgeries are not, however, as e ective as CPAP to control OSA and are usually reserved for patients who fail CPAP. 

 

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