Can Sleep Apnea Be Cured?
Unfortunately, the medical community doesn't have a definitive cure for sleep apnea, although much research is being done on this disorder. Even though there isn't a true cure for sleep apnea, there are treatments that may make a significant difference in the patient's life. Mild cases, and ones in which medical care is started early, often see positive results in a short time. However, delaying treatment for this disorder may result in serious and potentially fatal complications.
Go To The Doctor
As with any medical condition, you need a correct diagnosis. If you or your doctor suspects you have sleep apnea, you will need to have an overnight test performed. This is known as a polysomnogram (PSG). To administer this test, the patient would come to the sleep lab in the early evening and have electrodes placed on several parts of the body to monitor key areas. After falling asleep, the data would be recorded and reviewed by the sleep technician who remains with the patient throughout the night. All of this information will give your doctor the necessary facts to make a correct diagnosis of sleep apnea.
The polysomnogram will also give your doctor an idea of the severity of your condition. In mild cases, a weight loss program may be recommended. Obesity aggravates this condition, and some patients report that after losing weight their sleep apnea was cured. Another beneficial treatment is positional therapy in which the patient is discouraged from sleeping on their backs. Since throat muscles tend to collapse with this condition, by sleeping on their sides, the effects of gravity on the neck is minimized.
More Severe Cases
Dental appliances are found to be helpful with this disorder, by keeping the mouth and airways open, but these should never be considered a cure for sleep apnea. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines are widely used and offer a great deal of help. These devices direct a constant flow of air into the breathing passages and keep these airways obstruction-free. While many consider this a cure for sleep apnea, since a patient needs to rely on a machine to achieve optimum breathing levels, this device should only be considered as a highly effective treatment.
In severe cases surgery is performed to cure sleep apnea. But this method should never be tried unless all other treatment options have failed. There are many complications from surgery, with the most serious being an increase in the swelling of the throat muscles and tissues, which can cause suffocation. Additionally, anesthesia can cause many complications for a patient who suffers from sleep apnea.