If you have very MILD OSA your doctor might suggest one or more of the following:
Reducing alcohol intake
Stop using sleeping tablets
Stop smoking – this irritates the nasal lining
Reduce nasal stuffiness with nasal sprays
Consider surgical options/visit an ENT
A personally fitted oral appliance to move the lower jaw forward at night (mandibular advancement splint)
Taking some of these actions might help reduce the severity of OSA for mild sufferers. However if you have MODERATE to SEVERE obstructive sleep apnea these steps will have little to no effect on treating the condition. For these people, the most efficient and widely accepted treatment is CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure.
CPAP and how it works
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the simplest and most effective treatment available for OSA. CPAP consists of a snugly fitted mask that seals the nose, the mouth or both nose and mouth. This mask is connected to an electronically driven pump that delivers a flow of air through a length of tubing. Supplying a flow of air to the upper airway in this manner creates a positive airway pressure. This positive pressure provides a splint in the airway to prevent it from collapsing during sleep. CPAP treatment is used only when sleeping and needs to be used EVERY time someone with OSA sleeps. The user will experience almost immediate relief of symptoms with this form of treatment. However it is a treatment and not a cure, if the treatment is stopped the airway will continue to collapse .
CPAPs are portable, lightweight and can be used at home or while on vacation. The pressure range for most CPAP machines is 4-20 cmH20 and the pressure that you require will be determined in the sleep lab during a sleep study.
Optimizing CPAP therapy for each individual patient can improve acceptance of therapy, sleep quality and ultimately quality of life. This part of the website is dedicated to helping patients get the most out of their treatment.