How Do We Treat Sleep Apnea?
At PRECiDENT, our goal is to help you get the treatment you really need. We don’t just settle for prescribing CPAP without ruling out other treatment options first. When we examine your airway we are able to determine what is causing your sleep apnea. Then, we can move forward with the appropriate treatment.
The main ways we treat sleep apnea include:
- Oral Appliances
- Lifestyle changes
Why Do I Need to Treat Sleep Apnea?
Not treating sleep apnea is not an option. You need to treat sleep apnea as soon as possible.
The daytime sleepiness caused by sleep apnea puts you at a greater risk of accidents while driving or at work. Not treating sleep apnea can also have a long-term impact on your life.
Obstructive sleep apnea does more than just make you sleepy. It can have a serious impact on your mental and physical health. Over time you will develop other problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and weight gain.
Not getting quality sleep also puts you at a greater risk of:
- Heart attack
- Liver problems.
Sleeping is also important for your mental health. When you sleep your brain has time to rest and recharge. Not sleeping well can lead to trouble focusing at work, memory problems, and mood swings. Studies have shown that sleep apnea can also increase your chances of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Sleep apnea is not a condition you can just ignore. Sleep apnea needs to be treated. If you’ve noticed certain symptoms of sleep apnea, like daytime sleepiness no matter how much rest you get, you need to talk to a sleep apnea specialist as soon as possible. The sooner you start treatment, the easier it will be for your body to catch up and get the rest it needs.
Sleep Apnea Surgery
We highly recommend talking to your doctor about how surgery can cure sleep apnea. Surgery may not be the right answer for everyone but it is the only way to truly cure sleep apnea. As physicians, our job is to treat your condition. We want to do as much as we can to eliminate your sleep apnea. And most of the time the only way to do that is through surgery. With sleep apnea surgery we can deal directly with whatever is blocking your airway. This allows us to treat your sleep apnea instead of simply managing it.
The most common way people manage their sleep apnea is with CPAP. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. This machine uses pressurized air blown through a mask to keep your airway open. The pressure gradually increases as you sleep. These machines have been the gold standard for treating sleep apnea for a long time. In fact, most patients who continue to use their CPAP find that they are able to get the sleep their body needs. Some studies claim that the CPAP can be 100% effective, however, this is contingent on patients using it consistently.
Oral appliances are another way to treat sleep apnea. Oral appliances are like dental mouth guards. Instead, of protecting your teeth, however, their primary job is to keep your airway open. They do this either by supporting your jaw or keeping your tongue forward.
Many patients prefer oral appliances over CPAP when it comes to treating sleep apnea. Oral appliances are more comfortable, easier to use, and cheaper than CPAP. They are a great sleep apnea treatment option for people who travel a lot because they don’t require dragging a clunky machine around. Since only about 50% of patients use their CPAP long-term oral appliances are a great alternative treatment for sleep apnea.
Incorporating certain lifestyle changes will not cure sleep apnea completely, but they will help other treatments be more effective. Most of the time we will recommend combining any of the three sleep apnea treatments above with other lifestyle changes including:
- Lose weight
- Stop smoking
- Change sleeping position
Which Sleep Apnea Treatment is Right for Me?
Determining the right treatment option for sleep apnea depends on getting the right diagnosis. We need to examine your airway in order to figure out how it’s being blocked. Some patients will do just fine with the CPAP, as long as they can tolerate it. Others won’t be able to handle the CPAP and will need an oral appliance. And while these more conservative options do just fine with managing sleep apnea, the only real way to cure it is surgery.
It’s important to discuss every option with your doctor. Make sure you get the treatment you really need.Don’t settle with managing sleep apnea if you don’t have to. If you’re ready to get the sleep you need, reach out to us and schedule a consultation today.