What are the treatment pathways for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

Discusses recognized, medical methods of treating OSA.

Medical studies have shown that treatments for OSA can help you get restful sleep, stay awake and focused though out the day, increase your energy, improve your mood, help your heart work better, and lower your blood pressure. If you have diabetes, being treated for OSA can also lower your Hemoglobin A1c.

One of the most effective and widely-used treatments is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP, which helps you breathe more easily during sleep by increasing air pressure in the throat, so the airway stays open. CPAP also reduces or eliminates snoring, so the bed partner gets more restful sleep as well. People who use CPAP report having more energy and ability to focus during the day, as well as a significant reduction in their symptoms.

People often have the misconception that CPAP requires a large, noisy machine that is uncomfortable to use. In reality, CPAP technology has made numerous advances in recent years, so that modern bedside machines are small, silent, unobtrusive devices with much more comfortable air delivery systems than in the past. There are even tiny, battery-powered, ultra- portable versions that can easily fit in your overnight bag for travel.

For people who cannot tolerate CPAP, or those who prefer other options, there are also oral appliances that can improve sleep breathing and reduce symptoms of OSA. Oral appliances are custom fitted by a dentist. Worn nightly, these devices work like a sports mouth guard or a retainer, to align and support the jaw and/or the tongue in a forward position that helps to keep the airway open during sleep.
For a few individuals whose OSA is caused by jaw size or position abnormalities, or irregularities in the facial bone structure, surgery has been found to provide a curative solution for OSA.