So You’ve Been Diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. Now What?

Couple researching new treatments for sleep apnea

If you’ve just been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may be feeling overwhelmed about living with this disorder. With so many new treatments for sleep apnea, how do you choose the right option and what will your future treatment plan look like?

Follow these three steps after receiving your diagnosis to discover how to help your sleep apnea. With consistent and effective treatment for your needs, you can get the sleep apnea relief and improved health of your dreams.

Understand Your Sleep Apnea

When you know the type and severity of your disorder, you’ll have a better idea of how to treat your sleep apnea.

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are three types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea is a result of upper airway obstruction. 
  • Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain doesn’t send the right signals to the muscles that control your breathing. 
  • Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea. 

All three types cause your breathing to repeatedly stop during sleep, but obstructive sleep apnea is by far the most common form of sleep apnea.

Severity of Sleep Apnea

Your sleep apnea will also be classified by severity depending on how many apnea events you experience:

  • Mild: 5-14 apnea events per hour
  • Moderate: 15-29 apnea events per hour
  • Severe: 30+ apnea events per hour

Get the Right Treatment

Choosing the most effective sleep apnea treatment all depends on the type of sleep apnea you have and its severity. Read on to learn about lifestyle changes, devices, and new treatments for sleep apnea.

Lifestyle Changes

If your sleep apnea is very mild, your doctor may suggest a few simple lifestyle changes for sleep apnea relief. These may include:

  • Losing weight
  • Exercising regularly
  • Quitting smoking
  • Drinking less alcohol and avoiding alcohol several hours before going to bed
  • Avoiding sedative medications like sleeping pills

While improving your health is always a great idea, you should explore additional treatment types for more serious cases of sleep apnea.

Oral Appliances

Mouthpieces can help treat mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. These appliances provide sleep apnea relief by keeping your throat open. Mandibular advancement devices (MADs) achieve this by bringing your lower jaw forward, while tongue retaining mouthpieces control the position of your tongue. These devices can also help eliminate the snoring associated with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

For successful treatment with an oral appliance, you will need to work with a sleep dentist. They will custom-fit your mouthpiece and monitor your progress. While these devices are easy to use, they may not be effective for everyone, especially if your obstructive sleep apnea progresses in severity. What’s more, MADs can cause jaw pain, loose dental restorations, and permanent change or damage to the position of your jaw.

Patient consulting with doctor about sleep apnea relief

Surgery

Surgery may be recommended for serious cases of sleep apnea. There are a number of surgical options that can help sleep apnea, depending on the cause of your sleep disorder.

  • Upper airway stimulation: A small impulse generator is implanted in the upper chest. This device can stimulate the nerve that controls tongue movement to prevent obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Jaw surgery: By moving the upper and lower parts of your jaw forward, your surgeon can create more space behind the tongue to help eliminate your obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Tissue removal: Removing tissue from the back of your mouth, including the tonsils and adenoids in some cases, can reduce the snoring associated with obstructive sleep apnea.

Although surgery may be effective for obstructive sleep apnea relief, you may want to consider a less invasive treatment first.

CPAP and BiPAP

CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is commonly used for obstructive and central sleep apnea. Despite being a popular way to treat sleep apnea, many users struggle to adjust to this therapy. It can be difficult to get used to the air pressure, the noise, and the mask you need to wear throughout the night.

BiPAP (bilevel positive airway pressure) is an alternative to CPAP for treating obstructive sleep apnea. Unlike CPAP, BiPAP machines have two pressure settings: a higher pressure for inhalation and a lower pressure for exhalation. This can make it easier to breathe, as you don’t have to exhale against a continuous flow of incoming air as you do with CPAP. Of course, you will still need to adjust to the mask, hose, and humidifier.

While consistent use of a CPAP or BiPAP machine can provide sleep apnea relief, if your device is too uncomfortable to use, it’s unlikely that you’ll stick with it every night. Fortunately, there are new treatments for sleep apnea that eliminate these issues.

PAP

PAP (positive airway pressure) provides the same therapeutic pressure as CPAP, but with much less airflow. New treatments for sleep apnea like the Somnera® System use low-flow technology to eliminate the need for a bulky unit, humidifier, and heavy hose. This results in non-intrusive, yet highly-effective sleep apnea relief.

If you’re looking for a no-fuss obstructive sleep apnea treatment with a sleek design and lightweight equipment, Somnera could be the ideal solution for you. The technology is comfortable and easy to use, making it an accessible treatment option for anyone who’s been newly diagnosed with sleep apnea.

Stick to Your Treatment Plan

No matter what treatment option you choose, from a lifestyle change to device, you need to make a daily habit out of your sleep apnea therapy. Only after your body has adjusted to your new sleep apnea treatment will you start to feel the difference in your sleep and overall health.

The Somnera System includes personal sleep coaching to help you get used to your new device. This will help you create and stick to a healthy sleep habit — often in as few as 10 days. Find out how you can get effective sleep apnea relief sooner than ever with this new sleep apnea treatment here.