Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Treatment Options for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

There are several ways to treat obstructive sleep apnea, both surgical and non-surgical.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP is one method used to treat sleep apnea. This is a machine that gives you air pressure while you sleep through a mask you wear over your nose. The machine keeps airways open while you sleep by providing slightly higher air pressure than its surrounding air pressure. This prevents snoring and sleep apnea.

Oral appliances: Dentists can supply different oral devices that can keep airways open during sleep. People suffering from obstructive sleep apnea may need to try more than one mask to find one that is effective.

Maxillomandibular advancement: This is one of the surgical options available for obstructive sleep apnea. Basically, in this procedure, the jaw is moved forward, making the space between the soft palette and the tongue wider, which makes obstruction of the airway less likely.

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty: This surgical procedure may or may not be successful in treating one's sleep apnea. In a uvulopalatopharyngoplasty the surgeon removes tissue from the top of your throat and the back of your mouth. Additionally, the tonsils and adenoids are also typically removed. The procedure is usually successful for stopping snoring.

Tracheostomy: This surgical procedure is performed if other treatments have failed to treat your sleep apnea and/or your sleep apnea is life-threatening. In this procedure, a surgeon makes a hole in your neck in which a plastic or metal tube is placed. You keep the hole covered during the day, but uncover it at night to allow air to pass through to your lungs; you breathe through the tube in order to bypass the obstruction in your throat.

The specific treatment or treatments you receive will depend on your specific circumstances, which you should discuss with your doctor.

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