If you have recently been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) you may be concerned that you are going to have to sleep attached to a machine from here on out. CPAP machines are a common and generally effective treatment option for people with OSA. However, they are not the only option you have for treating this condition. It is important to note that these options should only be used in the place of a CPAP machine if your doctor believes it is safe for you to do so. If you have mild to moderate OSA is it very possible that you have options you can try before needing a CPAP. Some of these options can even be used in conjunction with a CPAP to reduce the severity of your OSA. Talk with your doctor about each option to determine the best course of action for you.
- Dental appliance
There are customized dental appliances that are designed to help people with OSA. These appliances can adjust your tongue and jaw to allow for an unobstructed airway throughout the night. There are dentists that specialize in the treatment of OSA and can help you find the best device for your situation. If you already use a CPAP machine a dental device is not out of the question. Some of these appliances can be used in conjunction with your CPAP to aid in the treatment of your OSA.
- Weight loss
Excessive weight is a factor that can cause or worsen obstructive sleep apnea. This is because the extra weight can put pressure on your neck and chest and lead to an obstruction of the airway. If your weight is a factor in your OSA then working toward a healthier lifestyle may become an important part of your treatment plan.
- Adjusting sleep position
Have you noticed that your snoring worsen when you sleep on your back? If you have a mild case of OSA it is possible that adjusting your sleep position will improve your symptoms. For example, sleeping on your back may allow your tongue to fall back and obstruct your airway. Switching to your side can prevent this type of obstruction from occurring. A body pillow can help in this situation by keeping you from rolling onto your back once you fall asleep.
- Lifestyle changes
There are some lifestyle choices that can contribute to the development and severity of OSA. Smoking is highly correlated to the development of sleep apnea. Alcohol consumption can worsen your symptoms if you drink close to bedtime. Adjusting your lifestyle in these areas can help you treat your OSA especially if you find that it is directly correlated to these choices. You may also find that other aspects of your health improve when you address these areas of your lifestyle.
There are several treatment options available for people who are living with OSA. For some people it may be possible to use each of the options mentioned here to improve or eliminate symptoms. The most important thing to remember is that this is a serious condition and you need to be taking some type of treatment action.