Sleep Apnea is a disorder that affects approximately 30 million people in the US alone, according to figures published by the American Medical Association. As the awareness of apnea and other sleep-related conditions continues to grow in modern medicine, more advancements in treatments, preventative measures, and the understanding of sleep apnea also continue to develop. However, success stories of eradicating this condition are still largely uncommon for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) specifically, so currently, the condition is considered incurable. 

Is There A Cure For Sleep Apnea?

It can be hard for patients to initially learn of their apnea diagnosis and even more difficult to understand that cures for the condition are rarely successful for many people. The challenges of living with an incurable medical condition can seem isolating and hopeless at first, but in reality, many patients may find their diagnosis less overwhelming by adjusting perceptions of what it means to ‘find a cure’. 

…Adjusting The Perception of ‘Finding A Cure’

People usually associate curing a condition with the elimination of the medical problem entirely. However, with some chronic cases, this is not always possible. Limiting the idea of a ‘cure’ to only one restricted outcome only increases the difficulties of accepting the diagnosis for many patients, who may struggle to come to terms with the news and reject further treatment options. Our team aims to encourage our patients to see a more positive outlook when delivering this type of diagnosis, measuring success in the ability to manage their health problems rather than removing them! Remember, OSA can respond well to many different types of approaches, such as lifestyle changes, oral devices, and even surgical procedures. Although a total cure is not always possible, the outcomes for patients are still primarily positive. 

Sleep Apnea Can Be Cured in Rare Cases

Although we’ve discussed the limited success in permanent sleep apnea cures, there are rare cases where the condition has been resolved. Childhood obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) for example, has significantly higher success rates compared to adults suffering from the condition. Two surgical techniques, known as adenotonsillectomy (removal of tonsils at the back of the throat, and adenoids behind the nasal cavity) and rapid maxillary expansion (widening airway passages and palate) may resolve childhood OSA cases but are not known to produce similar outcomes for adults. These success rates can skew the results of these surgeries in adult sleep apnea cases, with patients developing a misunderstanding of the curability rates of the condition.

In addition to surgical options, our clinic emphasizes the importance of care and therapy in managing sleep apnea. Lifestyle changes, particularly weight loss, can play a significant role in reducing the severity of sleep apnea symptoms and improving overall health. A comprehensive approach to care and therapy can make a significant difference in the quality of life for those suffering from sleep apnea.

Curing Sleep Apnea – What Are Your Options?

Sleep apnea starts in the airways when the muscles relax tissues too much and obstruct normal airflow during sleep. Disruption of a person’s breathing patterns can have serious consequences on the body, from ongoing daytime symptoms to long-term health complications, especially when left untreated. Your body needs to maintain good oxygen levels throughout the day and night, which is why sleep teams focus on reducing apnea episodes through manageable treatments and therapies.

Our clinic offers guidance on how to cure sleep apnea, emphasizing the importance of treating the condition effectively. One common treatment is CPAP therapy, which helps keep the airways open during sleep. For those who prefer to be treated in the comfort of their own home, we also provide home sleep studies and treatments. Additionally, we address issues related to obstructive sleep apnea, a common form of the condition where the airway is blocked during sleep. In some cases, sleep apnea may be linked to sinus problems, and our team works to identify and address these underlying causes.

How Many Treatments Do Apnea Patients Try On Average?

As the condition for the majority of people is chronic, patients should aim to find an approach that is most suitable for their condition and lifestyle. This may mean trialling many varieties of treatments before finding the most appropriate method, that is likely to have the best positive long-term outcome. 

Ways To Cure Sleep Apnea

When we discuss cures for sleep apnea, we are looking specifically at reducing the frequency of apnea episodes and finding symptom relief for patients. Although both of these medical issues may be resolved with manageable treatment methods and therapies, the likelihood is that many patients will experience a return of sleep apnea symptoms and other related medical problems if they don’t continue to manage the condition. In a few reported cases, treatments addressing underlying anatomical issues, such as reconstructive surgeries on the nasal passages or throat, may resolve sleep apnea completely, but these instances are very specific to sleep apnea caused primarily by anatomical abnormalities.

Dental sleep appliances, designed to keep the airway open during sleep, are part of our comprehensive sleep treatment options. The success in treating sleep apnea varies among individuals. Our goal is to provide the best sleep solutions tailored to each patient’s specific needs.

Don’t Get Caught Up in Treatment Success Rates for Sleep Apnea

Success rates of treatment and therapies are different with each case, and some patients may have to try several approaches before finding the one that suits them. Treatments range from medical interventions to lifestyle changes or a combined selection of both. These types of treatment plans usually produce positive outcomes for most people living with OSA. 

Airway Pressure Devices

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy (known short as CPAP) and similar devices such as Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BIPAP) and Adaptive Servo-Ventilation (ASV) are Airway Pressure Devices designed to treat sleep apnea. They work by sending air pressure into the upper airway to prevent collapsing or narrowing of the throat. CPAP is the most common form of machine used to treat OSA, although patients often complain of its invasive, restrictive, and uncomfortable setup. 

Oral Appliances

Oral appliances, also known as dental therapy devices, are successful treatments for both Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Snoring, focusing on targeting symptom relief and reducing the frequency of episodes. Fitted similarly to a retainer device, the oral appliance is designed to bring the lower jaw forward and hold the tongue in place, keeping airflow moving freely during sleep. 

Surgery

Like childhood apnea cases, adults can explore surgical treatments after a formal OSA diagnosis. However, unlike procedures performed on children, adult success rates can vary widely. Previous patients have reported returning symptoms or symptoms continuing even after a successful recovery period from surgery. The most common types of surgical procedures for sleep apnea include: 

Lifestyle Changes

In some mild apnea cases, lifestyle changes can be used as the primary treatment method for symptom relief or combined with medical devices and therapies for more complex patients. Lifestyle changes usually focus on removing the trigger, routine, or aggravator of apnea symptoms, such as adjustments in diet and physical activity or eliminating bad habits like smoking and drinking. Other factors can include more medically specific changes to a person’s daily life, such as adjusting their sleeping position, known as positional therapy. We believe in a holistic approach to treating sleep apnea, which often includes lifestyle adjustments along with medical interventions. Identifying a suitable cure for sleep apnea for each individual is crucial for effective treatment.

Although There Is Often No Cure For Sleep Apnea, It Pays To Get Treatment

Sleep Apnea can be a confronting diagnosis and even more challenging when you learn of the reality portrayed by statistics of eliminating the condition. However, living without treatment and ongoing management of symptoms is a more challenging path to follow than tackling sleep apnea directly. With the support of a dedicated team, loved ones, and your commitment to better sleep, the results of treatment can bring many positive changes to a patient’s life.

Our clinic specializes in educating patients on how to cure sleep apnea. We offer a range of treatment options and are committed to finding the right cure for sleep apnea for each individual. The use of a CPAP machine is often a crucial part of the treatment plan. We have seen numerous cases where patients have been effectively cured, leading to significant improvements in their overall health and quality of life.

The Impact of Untreated Sleep Apnea

As a Sleep Clinic, we always encourage anyone struggling with apnea and any other sleep disorders to seek help and treatment for their conditions. Undiagnosed apnea can have lasting impacts on health and quality of life, even in milder cases. Severe complications can include major health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Lifestyle issues, like career progression, relationships, and risk of injury, are common in patients who receive a late or missed diagnosis. However, successfully managing the condition has shown apnea sufferers to decrease their risk of heart problems, improve sleep, and have better outcomes in career progression and relationships! 

We’ve listed some of the main benefits of managing your sleep apnea

Manage Your Sleep Apnea With The Sleep Solutions Team

We’re the Kansas women-led sleep team dedicated to offering accessible apnea testing from two conveniently based clinics in Overland Park and North Kansas! Utilizing high-quality testing equipment, the latest medical guidance, and a dedicated sleep team, our clinic can offer professional obstructive apnea diagnostics and accessible, personalized treatment plans to patients. Contact our team today to discuss how we can help you get the good night’s sleep you deserve!