Can Sleep Apnea Be Cured?

By April 13, 2016October 13th, 2017Living With Sleep Apnea
can sleep apnea be cured
Share this:

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a chronic disease, caused when the throat muscles and tongue relax just enough to partially or fully obstruct the airway passage. 

Can sleep apnea be cured? It is not a ”one size fits all” answer.

While sleep apnea may not necessarily be able to be cured, The Mayo Clinic describes the basics of each of the four primary treatment recommendations. Those four treatments are:

  • Weight Loss – People who are overweight (Body Mass Index of 25 to 29.9) and obese (Body Mass Index of 30 and above) are at higher risk for OSA. The link between excess weight and sleep apnea is well established. People who are overweight have extra tissue in the back of their throat, which can fall down over the airway and block the flow of air into the lungs while they sleep. Even a slight loss in excess weight may help relieve constriction of your throat.  Losing just 10% of body weight can have a big effect on sleep apnea symptoms. In some cases, losing a significant amount of weight (and keeping it off) can even cure the condition.
  • CPAP – This method involves wearing a pressurized mask over your nose while you sleep and is typically the first OSA treatment option recommended by a physician. Some people find CPAP cumbersome and / or uncomfortable. CPAP works well—but not everyone who needs it is willing to commit to wearing the clunky apparatus. Half or more of people who try CPAP don’t stick with the treatment, research has found.
  • Oral Appliances – Also referred to as oral devices or mandibular advancement splints, these products are worn during sleep to provide Continuous Open Airway Therapy (COAT) by moving the lower jaw forward while you sleep to expand the space behind your tongue. This movement tightens the soft tissue and muscles of the upper airway, which prevents obstructive apneas and snoring during sleep. Devices such as SomnoDent are custom made for the patient and are often covered by medical insurance if the patient is diagnosed.
  • Surgery – Surgery can have side effects, which is why it’s usually viewed as a last resort. The goal of surgery for sleep apnea is to enlarge the airway through your nose or throat that may be vibrating and causing you to snore or that may be blocking your upper air passages and causing sleep apnea. But if you can’t tolerate CPAP or oral appliances and you’re struggling to lose weight, it is an option.

Treatment is Personal

Before you can decide on a treatment, you first need to identify that you even have sleep apnea. Because the breathing pauses happen during sleep, most people with apnea have no idea they may have it. If you are exhibiting symptoms of OSA such as snoring loud enough to disturb the sleep of others or yourself,  gasping for air or choking that awakens you from sleep, or excessive daytime drowsiness, it’s time to see a sleep doctor to discuss your condition. You can take our free online assessment to determine if you should schedule an appointment with your physician.

Sleep Screening

Share this: