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Old 01-14-2012, 03:11 AM   #19
APACHEFIRE
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How Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treated?

The treatment for obstructive sleep apnea will depend on the factors causing the obstruction. There are several possible treatments for obstructive sleep apnea. They range from a change in behavior to facial surgery. The aim of treatment is to open the airway and restore normal breathing during sleep and to alleviate the bothersome symptoms, such as daytime fatigue and snoring. Treatment may also help lower blood pressure and decrease risks for stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.

Conservative treatments -- In mild cases of sleep apnea, conservative therapy may be all that is needed. These treatments include the following:

*Overweight individuals can benefit from losing weight. Even a 10% weight loss can reduce the number of sleep apnea events for most patients.

*Individuals with sleep apnea should avoid the use of alcohol and sleeping pills, which make the airway more likely to collapse during sleep and prolong the apneic periods.

*In some patients who have mild sleep apnea, breathing pauses occur only when they sleep on their backs. In such cases, using pillows and other devices that help them sleep in a side position may be helpful.

*People with sinus problems or nasal congestion, who are more likely to experience sleep apnea, can try nasal sprays to reduce snoring and improve airflow for more comfortable nighttime breathing.

*Avoiding sleep deprivation is important for all patients with sleep disorders.

Mechanical therapy -- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the preferred initial treatment for most people with obstructive sleep apnea. With CPAP, patients wear a mask over their nose and/or mouth. An air blower forces air through the nose and/or mouth. The air pressure is adjusted so that it is just enough to prevent the upper airway tissues from collapsing during sleep. The pressure is constant and continuous. CPAP prevents airway closure while it is being used, but apnea episodes return when CPAP is stopped or it is used improperly. Other styles and types of positive airway pressure devices are available for people who have difficulty tolerating CPAP.

Mandibular advancement devices -- For patients with mild sleep apnea, dental appliances or oral mandibular advancement devices that prevent the tongue from blocking the throat and/or advance the lower jaw forward can be made. These devices help keep the airway open during sleep. A sleep specialist and prosthodontist -- a person with expertise in these types of oral appliances -- should jointly determine if this treatment is best for you.

Surgery -- Surgical procedures may help people with sleep apnea. There are many types of surgical procedures, often performed on an outpatient basis. Surgery is reserved for people who have excessive or malformed tissue that is obstructing airflow through the nose or throat. For example, a person with a deviated nasal septum, markedly enlarged tonsils, or small lower jaw and a large tongue that causes the throat to be abnormally narrow might benefit from surgery. These procedures are typically performed after sleep apnea has failed to respond to conservative measures and a trial of CPAP. Types of surgery include:

somnoplasty -- a minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to tighten the soft palate at the back of the throat.

UPPP, or UP3, which stands for uvulopalatopharyngoplasty -- a procedure that removes soft tissue in the back of the throat and palate, increasing the width of the airway at the throat opening.

mandibular/maxillary advancement surgery -- surgically moving the jaw bone and face bones forward to make more room in the back of the throat -- an intricate procedure that is reserved for patients with severe sleep apnea and head-face abnormalities.

nasal surgery -- correction of nasal obstructions, such as a deviated septum.

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Last edited by APACHEFIRE; 01-14-2012 at 02:30 PM..
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