How is Sleep Apnea Treated?
The specific therapy for sleep apnea is based on your medical history, physical exam, and the results of polysomnography or other tests.
Possible treatments for sleep apnea include:
- Behavioural changes such as weight loss, learning to sleep on one’s side instead of the back and avoiding alcohol, sleeping pills, and smoking. In milder cases, behavioural changes may be enough to stop sleep apnea.
- Nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy, is generally required for successful treatment. In CPAP therapy, a mask is worn over the nose while sleeping, and a machine supplies pressurized room air to the mask through a flexible tube. The pressurized air keeps the airway open. There are various types of CPAP machines.
- An oral or dental device that holds the tongue or jaw forward.
- Surgery. Some of the more common procedures include removal of adenoids and tonsils, especially in children; removal of nasal polyps or other growths; and correction of structural deformities.
- Medications are generally not effective in the treatment of sleep apnea. However, if nasal congestion is contributing to breathing problems, decongestants may help.