Treatment options for sleep apnea fall into three categories: behavioral, medical and surgical.
Behavioral changes include losing weight (as little as a 10 percent reduction in your weight can significantly decrease OSA severity), sleeping in a different position (usually on the side and avoiding the back) and avoiding alcohol and sedatives at night.
Medical intervention is typically a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP). This is considered to be the “gold standard” and most effective of all OSA treatments. CPAP consists of a small machine that is put bedside. Attached to the CPAP machine is a hose and mask. The patient wears the mask whenever asleep. CPAP gently blows air through the house and acts to keep the airway open when you fall asleep and muscles relax. Although CPAP isn’t generally thought of as very “attractive” or “romantic” to have when sleeping next to your partner, it can save your life and greatly improve your quality of life. Patients are encouraged to discuss these concerns with their doctor and trouble-shoot to make CPAP a regular part of their sleep.
Surgical treatments typically involve removal of the tonsils and adenoids as well as any surrounding tissue that might lead to a narrowing of the airway. Newer surgical procedures are being introduced as well, but currently, CPAP treatment has much better effectiveness rates in comparison to surgery.
Successful treatment of OSA can help increase energy levels, reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure. In addition, getting proper treatment for OSA can help you lose weight faster (more energy equals: more ability to burn calories!) and may also reduce symptoms of depression. That should be enough for you to check out your snoring with a doctor, if it's starting to disrupt your day-to-day!
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