Treat Pre-Sleep Apnea with Lifestyle Modification

If your sleep test reveals only pre-sleep apnea, with fewer than five apnea episodes per hour, you might not need formal treatment. Instead, you can start with trying some lifestyle modifications and monitoring your condition.

Getting exercise and changing your diet to tone your muscles and reduce your weight can help keep your sleep apnea under control. Avoid alcohol too close to bedtime一stop drinking several hours before sleep. Try to reduce exposure to allergens in your home.

All of these tactics can keep your apneas infrequent so you avoid the more serious forms of sleep apnea.

CPAP Works, but Not for Everyone

The most commonly prescribed form of sleep apnea treatment is CPAP, continuous positive airway pressure. It’s the go-to treatment for most sleep doctors because it can be very effective. When properly used, it can be 100% effective at treating both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

CPAP works by forcing air into your throat through your nose, mouth, or both. The air pressure keeps your airway open and ensures you have continuous access to an air supply.

The problem with CPAP is that it’s too cumbersome and uncomfortable for many people. Less than half of people prescribed CPAP keep up with the treatment for a year or more. This means that more than half of people prescribed CPAP end up with untreated sleep apnea, which means they remain at risk of sleep apnea's dangers. They need an alternative treatment.

Oral Appliance Therapy: an Effective and Convenient Alternative

For many people, that alternative is oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance therapy repositions your jaw to keep your airway open. This lets you breathe normally throughout the night. It is as effective as CPAP, but it only works on obstructive sleep apnea.

Many people choose oral appliance therapy because it is comfortable and convenient. There is no machinery to maintain, no hoses to clean, and no straps to wear. Instead, you simply put in an appliance similar to a sports mouthguard before you go to bed. When you wake up,  you clean your appliance and it’s ready for use again.

Sleep Apnea Surgery Is Rarely Recommended

Surgery can be used to treat sleep apnea. Surgical procedures remove parts of the airway walls that contribute to obstruction. This is rarely recommended for several reasons.

First, surgery is more dangerous for people with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea makes people more likely to experience serious, even fatal, surgical complications. Second, sleep apnea surgery is not generally effective. Sleep apnea surgery rarely leads to curing sleep apnea, which means it would, at best, be a good additional treatment alongside CPAP or oral appliance therapy. Finally, even when sleep apnea surgery works, the results are generally short-lived. People who do see good results from sleep apnea surgery see those results diminish over time.

Because of these factors, sleep apnea surgery is not normally recommended.

Find the Right Sleep Apnea Treatment in Torrance, CA

If you have sleep apnea and you want relief, it’s important to find the sleep apnea treatment that is best for you. This means considering all your options and finding the one that best fits your apnea and your lifestyle. Sleep dentist Dr. Webber can help you understand your options and make an informed decision. Please call (310) 534-3477 today for an appointment at Simply Smiles in Torrance, CA.