Treatment for Sleep Apnea

CPAP Treatment for Sleep Apnea


If you have been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, and are on Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy, or CPAP, you might have some trouble adjusting to the treatment.


Using CPAP therapy, all night, every night, leads to a better quality of life.


What is CPAP therapy?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP, is the most common treatment for OSA. There are different forms of CPAP therapy, but all forms help by keeping the airway open during the night. These devices provide a stream of air through a mask you wear while you sleep.


Learning about Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy


How much should I use CPAP therapy?

CPAP therapy is a lifestyle change. It works best when used every night, for the whole time you are sleeping. You should also use PAP whenever you are napping. Just one night of not using CPAP can negatively affect blood pressure.


The more you use CPAP, the less sleepy you are during the day. Once you start using CPAP, it is very important to talk with your health care provider or home equipment supplier if you have any problems or questions. There are many different solutions that you can try.


Tips to help you adjust to CPAP Therapy

  • Begin using your CPAP for short periods of time during the day while you watch TV or read
  • Use CPAP every night and for every nap, making it part of your bedtime routine. Using it less often reduces the health benefits and makes it harder for your body to get used to it. If you are having problems remembering to use your CPAP every night, consider joining a support group or ask someone you trust to hold you accountable for using it.
  • Increase your level of comfort by making small adjustments to your mask, tubing, straps & headgear until you get the right fit. If the small adjustments don’t work, you may need a different mask or headgear. You can also try using a special bed pillow that is shaped for a CPAP mask and/or hose.
  • If the pressure feels too high, use the ‘ramp’ mode on your unit so the air pressure increases slowly to the proper level. Ramp mode will start your device on a low pressure setting and gradually increases the pressure over time. This way, you should be able to fall asleep when your device is on a lower setting. If this does not help, talk to your health care provider about different types of CPAP machines.
  • Nasal congestion can be a problem with CPAP treatment. Use a saline nasal spray to ease mild nasal congestion.
  • More severe nasal or sinus congestion may be helped by a nasal decongestant. If you continue to have problems contact your health care provider for alternatives.
  • Some CPAP devices have heated humidifiers, which are chambers filled with water on a heater-plate. This feature ensures that you are breathing warm, moist air through your mask. Use a humidifier that fits your CPAP model if you have a dry mouth, throat or nose.
  • If you are using a heated humidifier and the tubing fills with water, turn down the heat on the humidifier and keep the CPAP machine at a level lower than your head.
  • If you find the sound of the CPAP machine to be annoying, place a mouse pad or foam under your CPAP unit to dampen the sound.
  • Clean your mask, tubing & headgear once a week. Put this time in your schedule so that you don’t forget to do it.
  • Regularly check and replace the filters for your CPAP unit and humidifier
  • Work closely with your health care provider or home equipment supplier to make sure that you have the machine, mask and air pressure setting that works best for you.


Remember that you are not alone. Your treatment team includes your health care providers and the company that provides and services your CPAP machine. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you are having trouble adjusting to the treatment.


It can be difficult to adjust to CPAP therapy, but it is important to keep trying.


If you continue to experience problems, talk with your health care provider.


SOURCE: The American Academy of Sleep Medicine-



Non-CPAP treatment for Sleep Apnea


What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?


Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, is a common sleep disorder. If you have OSA, it means that your airway collapses part or all of the way while you are sleeping. The airway can collapse repeatedly during the night. The air going to your lungs is decreased, and your brain wakes your body, so you can start breathing again. The decreased oxygen and frequent nighttime awakenings negatively affect your health.


What happens if OSA is untreated?


Some risks of untreated OSA include:

  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Greater likelihood of diabetes
  • Greater risk of car accidents


How is OSA treated?

If you have been having symptoms or were recently diagnosed with OSA, you may be wondering what your next step is. There are many different treatment options for OSA. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP, is the most common treatment for OSA. CPAP therapy works by keeping the airway open during the night. These devices provide a stream of air through a mask you were while you sleep. The airstream prevents your airway from closing, so you don’t stop breathing and wake up during the night. CPAP therapy helps people with all levels of OSA, from mild to severe.


The treatment that is right for you depends on many different factors. You can discuss which treatment is best for you with your health care provider.


Lifestyle Changes

For some people, lifestyle changes can help improve or eliminate their OSA. You can try the following in addition to other treatments for OSA.


Weight loss can be very helpful for overweight people with OSA. Consult your health care provider before trying to lose weight. He or she can make sure that your weight loss program is both safe and effective. The best weight loss programs combine a healthy diet and regular exercise.


Quitting smoking can help to reduce or eliminate your OSA. Smoking irritates your mouth and throat, and may make OSA worse. Talk with your health care provider to find a safe and effective way to quit smoking.


Avoiding alcohol and sedatives can help to reduce or eliminate OSA. Alcohol and sedatives can make OSA worse. Avoid drinking at night or drinking to excess. Talk to your health care provider about any sedatives (such as sleeping pills, anxiety or pain medications) you are taking.


Sleeping on your side or stomach can help to reduce or eliminate OSA. Sleeping on your back can make your OSA worse. Try changing your sleeping position to your side or stomach.


After you try changes to your lifestyle, see your health care provider to check if your OSA has improved.


Oral Appliances

Oral appliances are medical devices approved for the treatment of OSA. Oral appliances may work best in people with mild to moderate OSA.


Oral appliances fit over the teeth and are worn during sleep. They can be fixed or adjustable devices. Both types work by moving the jaw forward or preventing the jaw from falling back during sleep to ensure that air can get through. Fixed devices often have to be readjusted by your sleep dentist to make sure they are effective. Adjustable devices can be repositioned without having to be remade.


Dentists who are experienced in the treatment of OSA make oral appliances. These devices are customized using a mold of your teeth to maximize fit and comfort. Don’t use over-the-counter ‘boil and bite’ mouth guards to treat your OSA. Evidence suggests that they do not work. Oral appliances may not work for you if you have pre-existing jaw pain.


Talk with your health care provider if you would like to learn more about oral appliances.



Surgery may be used to help treat OSA. The most common options reduce throat tissue. Some overweight people with OSA get weight loss surgery. These surgeries limit the amount of food someone can eat.


If you are considering surgery to treat your OSA, your health care provider should let you know the success rate of the surgery, and explain ALL the possible risks and side effects.


The results of a surgery may not be permanent. You will need to follow up with a health care provider after the surgery. An operation can be an effective treatment for some people, but it is not the right choice for everyone.


Talk to your health care provider about which OSA treatment is right for you.


SOURCE: The American Academy of Sleep Medicine-


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