Treatment

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Most sleep disorders can be effectively treated once they have been accurately diagnosed. Some conditions require medication. Others may require a change in daily habits and working schedule. When sleep apnea is present, weight loss or an upper airway operation may be necessary to diminish the serious health risks. It is important to emphasize that correct treatment can be undertaken ONLY after the relay medical condition has been accurately diagnosed.

What is the role of Total Sleep Management?

At our Labs, an estimated 70 percent of patients seen are treated for sleep apnea. This is a common sleep disorder affecting four percent of all middle-aged men and two percent of all middle-aged women.

Most referrals are initiated by the spouse or bed partner who is concerned when they hear breathing pauses and loud snoring and by those who experience excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). Most patients at Total Sleep Management are typically referred by their physician or specialist. However, if you suspect you have a sleep disorder patients can contact our center and arrange to see a board certified physician specializing in sleep disorders

Specific Treatments for Sleep Apnea

  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP, pronounced SEE-pap): In this highly effective therapy, a light mask is worn over the nose during sleep. Pressure from an air compressor forces air through nasal passages and into the airway. This gentle pressure holds the airway open and allows normal sleep and breathing. CPAP is used primarily to treat obstructive sleep apnea, although recent studies suggest it may also improve the sleep of some patients with central apnea. Approximately 60% to 70% of patients who try CPAP are able to continue its use; the remainder find the apparatus too cumbersome.
  • Oral appliances: Some sleep apnea patients are helped by devices that open the airway by bringing the jaw, tongue and soft palate forward
  • Surgery: Physical abnormalities that interfere with breathing during sleep can sometimes be corrected surgically. These abnormalities include enlarged tonsils or adenoids (common in children), nasal polyps or other growths, a deviated nasal septum, and malformations of the jaw or soft palate.
  • Using a technique known as the uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), a surgeon removes excess tissue at the back of the throat that may be blocking the airway during sleep. Studies show that UPPP benefits about half of those people who undergo the surgery. Studies are in progress to identify the patients most likely to be helped by this procedure. Some patients have reported negative side-effects of the surgery, such as nasal speech and the regurgitation of liquids into the nose when swallowing.
  • A tracheostomy may be required to alleviate severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea. This procedure involves creating an opening in the trachea (windpipe). A tube inserted into the opening stays closed during waking hours, allowing normal speech and breathing through the upper airway. The tube is opened for sleep so that air bypasses the obstruction in the throat and flows directly to the lungs.
  • Oxygen: Supplemental oxygen is rarely needed for the treatment of sleep apnea alone. Oxygen may be added to the nasal CPAP system, however, to correct for low oxygen levels due to existing lung or heart disease.
  • Medication: Sleep apnea sufferers are likely to derive limited benefit from medication. Certain medications may help mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea and some cases of central apnea.