Lifestyle modification is appropriate as a standalone treatment for mild sleep apnea. However, it can be an adjunctive therapy for all levels of sleep apnea.
There are many ways to reduce the impact of sleep apnea by changing your lifestyle. One simple fix is to change your sleeping position. People have worse sleep apnea when sleeping on their backs. You can also cut out alcohol in the evenings. Alcohol can relax the throat, worsening sleep apnea. Giving up habits like smoking and reducing allergens in the home can help as well.
You can also increase your daily exercise regimen and try to lose weight. This can be hard because sleep apnea disrupts your metabolism and saps your energy.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most commonly recommended sleep apnea treatment. It is effective on all types and severities of sleep apnea. CPAP forces air down your throat to keep your airway open. This maintains a supply of oxygen even when your breathing stops in central sleep apnea.
Although not everyone can adapt to CPAP, you are more likely to be successful if you work closely with your doctor to try out different technologies and options. It takes time, dedication, and a fair bit of trial-and-error. But even when trying hard, you might not be able to adapt to CPAP.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy uses your jaw to better support your airway, holding it open. This is an easy treatment to use, doesn’t require power, and is small and compact for easy travel. Plus it’s comfortable and discreet.
As a result, almost all people prescribed oral appliance therapy use it according to treatment guidelines, and most of them use it all night every night. This makes it at least as effective as CPAP, and a good alternative for people who can’t adjust to CPAP.
Oral appliance therapy is a frontline treatment for mild or moderate sleep apnea, and it can be used for severe sleep apnea when people can’t adapt to CPAP.
Curing Sleep Apnea
In addition to successful sleep apnea treatments, we offer ways to potentially cure sleep apnea in some cases. We have to caution that this is only appropriate in some cases, and even then it’s not always successful. We can’t always know at the beginning of treatment whether you will be fully cured or not. However, they can actually cure sleep apnea, which means that you won’t need ongoing treatment for life.
Our two potential sleep apnea cures are: the DNA appliance and orofacial myofunctional therapy. In both cases, these cures are for people whose sleep apnea is due in whole or in part to poorly developed jaw structures which contribute to narrow airways.
The DNA (Daytime/Nighttime Appliance) is an oral appliance that is designed to utilize your body’s natural bone growth mechanisms to reshape your jaw. The goal is to expand the jaw and therefore improve the size and support of your airway. To achieve results with the DNA, you need to wear it most of the day and night. Treatment can take up to a year. The result is an expanded jaw, which not only improves your airway, but can improve your facial proportions and make room for all your teeth.
Orofacial myofunctional therapy tries to expand your jaw, but it also wants to improve the function and tone of your muscles. Since your muscles help support the airway, this can also reduce your sleep apnea.
When you try to cure sleep apnea, we recommend lifestyle modification to support the goal as well. Together, the treatments will generally reduce the severity of your sleep apnea, sometimes to the point that you no longer need treatment.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options in Fort Atkinson
Do you want to know more about sleep apnea treatment options? Please call (920) 563-7323 today for an appointment with sleep dentist Dr. Stafford at Bite Align, serving patients from across Jefferson County at our office in Fort Atkinson.