Your Guide to Sleep Apnea Treatments

What do heart disease, mood swings, and auto accidents caused by daytime fatigue all have in common? They’re all possible complications of untreated sleep apnea. When sleep apnea is poorly controlled, patients can suffer a range of problems that diminish quality of life. Fortunately, there are effective sleep apnea treatments available in Dallas. sleep - apnea

Lifestyle Modifications

Lifestyle modifications can often help manage the symptoms of sleep apnea, although they usually need to be combined with medical treatments. Your lifestyle modifications will be based on your risk factors. For example, being overweight or obese are major risk factors of sleep apnea. If excess tissue is causing the problem, then getting down to a healthy weight may resolve it. Other lifestyle modifications may include avoiding alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and sleeping on the side instead of the back.

Oral Appliances

Patients with mild sleep apnea may be candidates for oral appliance therapy. These devices are usually available through a dentistry office. There are different styles available, but in general, they work by repositioning the lower jaw to keep the airway open. Oral appliances are known to be less reliable than CPAP machines, although they tend to be easier to use.

CPAP Machines

CPAP is considered the gold standard of sleep apnea treatments, although many patients find it very difficult to sleep while wearing the mask. The mask delivers air pressure that is greater than the air around the patient. This imbalance of air pressure keeps the airways open during sleep. Unfortunately, many patients give up on CPAP therapy because the mask is cumbersome, the straps are irritating to the skin, and the machine can be noisy.

Radiofrequency Ablation

One of the newest treatments for sleep apnea is radiofrequency ablation. Only a few premier locations in the U.S. offer this sophisticated treatment for sleep apnea. This treatment involves directing a small, precisely controlled amount of radiofrequency energy to the back of the tongue to tighten and shrink the tissue. As the tongue shrinks, it is less likely to block the airway during sleep. Although it’s fairly new, this procedure has shown very promising results. Patients may be particularly attracted to this minimally invasive procedure if they have trouble wearing oral appliances or using cumbersome CPAP machines.