Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)
Reference CPAP is nearly always the first medical treatment for sleep apnea. With CPAP, you use a breathing device that prevents your airways from closing during sleep.
Research shows that:
- CPAP decreases daytime sleepiness, especially in people who have moderate to severe sleep apnea.Reference 13, Reference 6 If you still feel sleepy during the day while using CPAP at night, tell your doctor.
- CPAP can lower daytime and nighttime blood pressure.Reference 14
It may take time for you to be comfortable using CPAP. You may find that you want to take off the mask, or you may find it hard to sleep. If you can't get used to CPAP, talk to your doctor. You might be able to try another type of mask or make other adjustments.
Some CPAP devices automatically adjust air pressure or use different air pressures when you breathe in or out. They are easier and more comfortable for some people to use.
If you use CPAP to treat sleep apnea, you need to use it every night. If you don't use it, your symptoms will return right away.
If CPAP isn't working, you may need another Reference sleep study to find out whether your CPAP machine needs to be adjusted. You may also need to think about surgery.
Oral breathing devices
Reference Oral breathing devices reposition your tongue and jaw during sleep, which opens up your airways. They may be used for people who have mild to moderate sleep apnea. They may also be used for people with severe sleep apnea who try CPAP but find out that it does not work for them.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Reference nasal disks for treating sleep apnea and snoring. The disks attach to the outside of your nose. One disk is attached over each nostril. A valve positioned over the nostril makes it harder to breathe out, which causes a little back-pressure in the airways. This back-pressure may help keep the airways open during sleep.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference January 20, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine