What is the Best Sleep Apnea Treatment?

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  • Written By: Emma Lloyd
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when breathing stops during sleep. There are two types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the result of an obstruction that stops air flow in the mouth and nose during sleep. Central sleep apnea is the result of a central nervous system disorder that prevents the transmission of brain signals telling the body to breath. Because there are different types of sleep apnea, there are several different treatments. The best sleep apnea treatment is usually different depending on the cause of the disorder.

Choosing the best sleep apnea treatment requires focusing on what is causing the condition. If the sleep disorder is caused by a deviated septum, for example, the best treatment will be different from sleep apnea caused by obesity. Generally, abnormal physical attributes such as large tonsils or a deviated septum are best treated with surgery, while most other causes are not good candidates for surgery.


For people with a mild form of the condition, the most appropriate sleep apnea treatment may be lifestyle changes that help the airways stay open at night. Sleep medications and alcohol can cause sleep apnea because they allow more relaxation of the throat and nasal passages, so eliminating these items before sleep may help. For people who are overweight or obese, losing weight may reduce sleep apnea symptoms. Allergy medication and nasal sprays can help keep the nasal passages open during sleep, as can sleeping on the side instead of the back.

Using a mouthpiece or other piece of equipment is often effective for people with sleep apnea. The mouthpiece is an orthodontist-made item which fits over the lower jaw and helps keep airways open. Another option is a continuous positive airway pressure device, or CPAP. This device gently blows a stream of air down the throat to ensure a continuous supply of oxygen. Many people with moderate or severe sleep apnea find that this sleep apnea treatment quickly reduces the exhaustion and other symptoms the condition can cause.

Severe sleep apnea can, in some cases, be treated with surgery. When the condition is caused by a physical abnormality such as large tonsils, for example, surgery is typically the best and most effective sleep apnea treatment. Surgery usually involves the removal or reshaping of excess tissue that is causing obstructive sleep apnea. This may include removal of tonsils or adenoids, reshaping of the jaw to enlarge the throat, or reconstructing a deviated septum.


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Post 3

Does someone have sleep apnea for life?

Post 2

@grumpyguppy: My sister has to use a CPAP machine, as well. She was doing the same thing that your son is doing. When she woke up, the mask would be in the floor. Her doctor gave her a chin strap and it goes around the top of the head and then under the chin. It goes on the top of the CPAP mask.

The chin strap seems to have helped her keep her mask on during the night.

Post 1

My 17 year old son was having a hard time falling asleep and then staying asleep. His ENT ordered a sleep study. We had it done at the sleep lab at our local hospital and they determined that he had moderate to severe sleep apnea. On an average, he was having 27 apneic spells every hour.

They ordered a CPAP machine for him. Since he has been using it, the number of apneic spells has dropped from 27 times per hour to less than 2 per hour. The only problem is that he has a hard time keeping it on during the night. He will go to bed with it on and wake up with it off. At some point during the night, he takes it off.

However, the CPAP is the most effective treatment for sleep apnea.

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