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CPAP and Other Treatment Options

CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is considered the Gold Standard for treatment of OSA. CPAP works by creating an air splint that holds the airway open with continuous pressurized air. When CPAP is properly used, it is 100% effective.

Behavioral Changes
Lifestyle changes can also be beneficial to treatment of OSA. Reduction in weight can have a significant effect in some patients. Neck sizes of greater than 17 inches in men and 15.5 inches in women can be a reliable predictor of OSA. Reduction in alcohol intake as well as smoking cessation can also help. Sleeping on one’s back may also contribute to OSA and there are devices available to help encourage side sleeping.

Surgical Treatments
There are many available surgical treatments that present with varying degrees of success. The most common surgical treatment is Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) in which the uvula and soft palate are removed. Other surgical treatments include somnoplasty, maxillomandibular advancement, genioglossus tongue advancement, Pillar procedure and hyoid suspension.

Don’t like your CPAP? You are not alone!

Although CPAP is the gold standard for treatment of sleep apnea, many people cannot or will not wear it because of how uncomfortable it is.

Slightly more than one-half of CPAP patients remained compliant and highly satisfied with treatment at long-term follow-up. However, approximately one-half of all such individuals had either not accepted or abandoned CPAP use, often citing discomfort with the apparatus as the reason for noncompliance.1

Typical complaints from CPAP users, or those who have rejected CPAP therapy:

  • Mask and straps are uncomfortable
  • Makes me feel claustrophobic
  • Mask and straps irritate my skin
  • Difficult to bring with you when you travel
  • Sound disrupts my sleep and the sleep of my bed partner

If any of these complaints describe how you feel, you may be a candidate for oral appliance therapy (OAT).

1 Kushida CA, Morgenthaler TI, Littner MR, Alessi CA, Bailey D, Coleman J, Jr, et al. Practice parameters for the treatment of snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea with oral appliances: an update for 2005. Sleep 2006;29(2):240-43.

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