The best sleep apnea solution depends on the severity of the condition and on what treatment works for a particular patient. In all cases, the best solution is the one that relieves the symptoms of the disorder with the least invasive means. The success of different treatments, however, varies considerably from patient to patient. For severe cases, surgery or breathing machines may be used to widen the patient’s airway. Moderate cases of the disorder may be treated with the use of mouthpieces, and the solution for mild cases of the disorder is often to ask patients to make lifestyle changes.
One of the most effective means for aiding a patient with sleep apnea is the use of a breathing machine. These machines attach to the patient’s nose and mouth and release air into the breathing passageways at a steady rate. The flow of air keeps the patient’s airway open while sleeping. The machines can, however, be noisy and disruptive to the patient's sleep.
While is does not work for all patients, surgery may be a sleep apnea solution for some. The least invasive surgical options involve giving the patient injections to shrink tissue in the throat or mouth. Other surgeries can cut away excess tissue from the back of the mouth. Sleep apnea that is caused by a malformation of the jaw can also be treated with surgery, though this is a much more invasive surgery and will only benefit a small proportion of people that suffer from the disorder.
For patients with moderate apnea, a possible sleep apnea solution may be the use of a mouth piece. These devices are designed to help keep the breathing passageways open while the patient sleeps by lowering the tongue and lower jaw. A mouthpiece is specially formed to fit into a patient’s mouth and can be adjusted to relieve any initial discomfort.
Mild cases of sleep apnea can often be resolved through changes to the patient’s life style. Depressants, such as certain medications or alcohol, can make it harder for a patient to breathe while sleeping and should be avoided right before bedtime. Many patients also find that the best sleep apnea solution is weight loss. The condition is more common in people who are overweight and even the loss of a few pounds can significantly relieve symptoms. Patients are also often advised to sleep on the side instead of the back so that the airways can remain unobstructed.