Sleep Apnea Treatment
The two main types of treatment for sleep apnea are a CPAP machine or a special orthotic device used when sleeping. Which one you need is determined by a number of factors, including the type of sleep apnea you have and the severity of your sleep apnea.
- CPAP: CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, and is a machine that uses air pressure to keep your airway open while sleeping. CPAP is generally the treatment of choice if you have central sleep apnea or if it is particularly severe.
- Orthotic device: A specially fitted orthotic device worn at night can help to keep the jaw forward and your soft tissues in place. Orthotic devices are less cumbersome to use than a CPAP machine, and are often the treatment of choice for patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
While a CPAP machine can be very effective, it does have a number of downsides. Many people find them hard to get used to, and as a result may not use them every night, thus negating their benefit. In addition, CPAP machines are loud, which can cause problems for your partner. If you are a restless sleeper or have trouble falling asleep, it can be almost impossible to use a CPAP correctly.
For some people, they will need to somehow find a way to use the CPAP regularly and sleep comfortably with it, as it is the only option that will work well for them. For others, though, an orthotic device may be a better choice.
Surgery is also an option if nothing else works, but this is usually considered a last resort. In addition, if your sleep apnea is caused or worsened by obesity or smoking, lifestyle changes may be strongly recommended.