“There are many treatments available for sleep apnea. A visit with your provider will be helpful in finding a solution that is best for your specific needs and concerns. Your treatment may or may not involve one of the following,” says Danielle Reysen, a supervisor at the Agnesian HealthCare Sleep Center.
How is sleep apnea treated?
- CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure): In this highly-effective therapy, a mask is worn over the nose during sleep. Pressure from an air compressor enters the nasal passages and airway. This gentle pressure holds the airway open and allows the person to breathe normally.
- Oral Appliances: Devices that may help some apnea patients are designed to open the airway by bringing the jaw, tongue and soft palate forward.
- Surgery: There are surgical procedures designed to correct abnormalities of the upper airway. These abnormalities may include enlarged tonsils or adenoids, nasal polyps or other growths, a deviated nasal septum and malformations of the jaw or soft palate. In one common procedure excess tissue at the back of the throat may be removed. An evaluation by an ear, nose and throat specialist is necessary to determine if you are a candidate for any of these surgical procedures.
- Oxygen: This is rarely needed for the treatment of sleep apnea alone. Oxygen, however, may be added to the nasal CPAP system to correct for low oxygen levels due to existing lung or heart disease.
- Medication: This is generally of limited benefit for those affected by sleep apnea.