Sleep Apnea


CPAP, Medication, Weight loss

Treatment Summary: Treatment for sleep apnea depends on the severity of the problem. Given the data on the long-term complications of sleep apnea, it is important for patients to treat the problem as they would any chronic disease. Simply trying to treat snoring will not treat sleep apnea. Because of its association with heart problems and stroke, sleep apnea that does not respond to lifestyle measures should be treated by a doctor, ideally a sleep disorders specialist. Weight loss and the use of continuous positive airway pressure appear to be the most effective and frequently recommended modalities. However, many patients are not able to lose weight, and compliance problems with CPAP use are increasingly recognized. Dental appliances or surgery are alternative options if weight loss or CPAP fails. At this time, the most effective treatments for sleep apnea are devices that deliver slightly pressurized air to keep the throat open during the night. There are a number of such devices available.

  • Reference: Phillips, B., & Naughton, M.T., (2004). Fast facts: Obstructive sleep apnea-medical Complications. Abingdon: Health Press Limited. Retrieved from
  • Submitter: Tonja Dulin
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