When someone is diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea there are several available treatment options:
- Oral appliances
- Positional therapy
Sometimes lifestyle changes such as weight loss, changes in sleep position and the cessation of smoking may be enough to reduce or relieve mild causes of sleep apnea. More often, however, additional treatment may be required. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended, but in the majority of cases the condition can be treated without invasive procedures.
One of the most common treatments suggested for obstructive sleep apnea is a type of ventilation device known as a constant positive airway pressure machine or CPAP.
- A CPAP system uses a bedside air pump to deliver a supply of pressurized air to a face mask worn by the user
- This pressurized air helps keep the throat open to allow normal breathing
- When a CPAP system is calibrated properly, and mated to a properly-fitted mask, it can provide effective relief from sleep apnea
The primary drawback with CPAP systems isn’t effectiveness, but rather compliance. Many users find the mask and air supply tube to be restrictive, uncomfortable, or claustrophobic, and may decline treatment or discontinue treatment after an initial trial period. Records show that long-term compliance with CPAP therapy is as low as 50 percent.