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Sleep Apnea Treatments

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Sleep Apnea Guide

Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

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Treatment

There are a number of treatment options for sleep apnea, including:

Behavioral Therapy

  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Avoid using sedatives, sleeping pills, alcohol, and nicotine, which tend to make the condition worse.
  • Try sleeping on your side instead of your back.
  • Place pillows strategically so you are as comfortable as possible.
  • For daytime sleepiness, practice safety measures, such as avoiding driving or operating potentially hazardous equipment.

Mechanical Therapy

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) entails wearing a mask over your nose and/or mouth during sleep. An air blower forces enough constant and continuous air through your air passages to prevent the tissues from collapsing and blocking the airway. In some cases, dental appliances that help keep the tongue or jaw in a more forward position may help.

Surgery

In some cases, surgery may be recommended. Surgery can be used to:

  • Remove excess soft tissue from the nose and/or throat
  • Reposition the jawbone and tongue
  • Create an opening in the windpipe for unobstructed breathing (in life-threatening cases)

Medications

Only used in central apnea, acetazolamide may help improve the ability to regulate breathing. Overall, there is not a lot of evidence to support the use of medications to treat sleep apnea.

Supplemental oxygen may be given if blood levels of oxygen fall too low during sleep, even after opening the airway.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2014 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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