Suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea? Here’s a Guide to Finding Relief

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects a significant portion of the population, ranging from 10% to 30% of individuals. Those afflicted with OSA encounter recurring instances of partial or complete upper airway collapse during sleep. It results in symptoms like snoring, gasping, disrupted sleep, daytime drowsiness, and morning headaches.

Various treatments have been devised for OSA, encompassing respirators, oral appliances, surgical procedures, implanted nerve stimulators, oropharyngeal exercises, and lifestyle adjustments. For individuals diagnosed with OSA, familiarizing oneself with potential treatments is an essential initial stride toward attaining improved sleep quality. Here are some ways to help you find relief from OSA:


Surgery for obstructive sleep apnea assumes a secondary role and is tried only when patients respond poorly to changes in lifestyle or positive airway pressure therapy. Generally, surgical operations cannot completely cure OSA symptoms but sometimes achieve lasting improvements in symptoms. In special cases, surgery assumes the responsibility primarily for dealing with underlying OSA issues that can be treated surgically (for example, enlarged tonsils and adenoids in children. Seek advice from your doctor about obstructive sleep apnea surgery for assessment. Various surgical options exist to target OSA, including both the removal of obstructions and making more effective use of other therapies such as PAP:

  • Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy: Surgeries on the upper throat involve the removal of enlarged tonsils and adenoid tissue to enhance throat airflow.
  • Global Upper Airway Surgeries: Surgeries involve realigning the position of both upper and lower jaws to open up airway blockages as well as reinforcing soft tissue in the throat.
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty: This consists of reshaping the soft palate so as to increase the width of the airway, possibly along with the removal or reduction of the uvula.
  • Nasal Surgeries: Changing nasal structure in order to optimize other OSA therapies such as PAP and oral appliances.

Lifestyle Change

In instances of blockage sleep apnea, healthcare notes changeable risk components open to behavior and lifestyle alterations. Though such switches often don’t fully clear OSA signs, they can report meaningful improvements, notably when paired with a PAP cure. Suggestions might include:

  • Weight loss: Dropping surplus heaviness could alleviate OSA signs. But your weight-loss journey might encounter challenges due to assorted reasons like genetic makeup.
  • Avoiding alcohol: Drinking booze worsens breath disruptions. Hence, people with OSA are counseled to steer clear, particularly pre-sleep.
  • Avoiding sedatives: Just like booze, sedatives deepen OSA signs; discuss with your health practitioner about substitute drugs.
  • Refraining from sleeping on the back: Sleeping on the rear worsens OSA; this could be lessened by employing gadgets that prevent rear sleeping.
  • Participating in physical workouts: Physical action may boost OSA signs in addition to losing weight, making it a useful addition to therapy.

Positive Airway Pressure Devices

Positive airway pressure is a cure for adults and children suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). In this therapy, air is provided in pressurized form through a machine into the patient’s airway. It allows the patients to breathe properly through their nose and mouth. People who use the PAP machine either have a mask covering their nose and mouth or the mask covers the nose. The machine by the bed is a small, hand-held one with a hose secured around it that goes into the mask. Pressurized air traveling inside this system can stabilize those soft tissues that give in as a result of airway collapse at the time of sleep onset.

Here are the most common PAP variations:

  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP): The CPAP devices for continuous positive air pressure are very common, so they’re the most studied.
  • Auto-adjusting positive airway pressure (APAP): These units alter air pressure in response to breathing which could be useful to those with constantly shifting pressure needs.
  • Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP): By varying air pressures in the process of inhalation and exhalation, the BiPAP machine is supposed to be used for those patients who do not respond to CPAP therapy.
  • Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV): This form of BiPAP modulates the inhalation pressure according to individual requirements, which is commonly observed in both OSA and CSA.

Oral Appliances

While positive air passage pressure (PAP) therapy and lifestyle changes act as prime treatments for OSA, doctors might suggest a dental appliance if the PAP cure doesn’t work or feels too unpleasant. Besides, dental appliances bring convenience during travels, being greatly movable and not needing electric power. Types of dental appliances for treating OSA:

  • Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs): MADs capably tackle mild to moderate OAS plus could ease symptoms in some severe scenarios. These tailor-made solo or duo-piece gadgets fit a patient’s oral cavity and jawline operating by moving the lower jaw frontward aiding upper air road widening.
  • Tongue-Retaining Devices (TRDs): Used to support MADs, TRDs use suction to pull the tongue forward and keep the upper airway open. While there has not been as much investigation, signs suggest some users of TRDs suffer disrupted respiration during sleep.

When a physician acknowledges the benefits of an oral appliance, the patient will be subsequently referred to an OSA-knowledgeable dentist. This specialist will then customize and fine-tune the appliance according to the patient’s dimensions and needs.

Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation 

It applies electrical stimulation to the hypoglossal nerve, a cranial nerve, at the newly discovered rostral terminus in the clustering of motor neurons that determine tongue posture in the above steps. When motor neurons are activated by hypoglossal input, both during voluntary activity or automatically as during loud breathing or a cough reflex, this puts downward pressure on a rope, and there is no room at the top.

HNS therapy involves implanting a nerve-stimulating device into the body to keep the airway open. In inhalation mode, the device activates nerves so that muscles on the front part of your throat begin to function again and your tongue is advanced back enough to disentangle it from obstructive spaces. HNS is a supplementary choice in the treatment of OSA. When patients are unsatisfied with major modalities such as PAP treatment, they may choose it.

Untreated OSA presents both short and long-term health risks, such as accidents tied to excessive daytime sleepiness, a greater probability of experiencing depression, and impaired cognitive functions. Moreover, untreated OSA can aggravate both hypertension and its related cardiovascular conditions while promoting metabolic dis-equilibrium on a grand scale. These points underline the importance of management tailored to each individual case.