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Sleep Apnea Cure - Can it be eliminated?

"Sleep apnea cures" is one of the most commonly searched phrases when looking for information on this sleep disorder online. While most people who treat their sleep apnea are on therapy for life, there are a few treatment options than actually eliminate sleep apnea.

Is a Sleep Apnea Cure Realistic?

The word 'cure' is often used carelessly by businesses selling obstructive sleep apnea treatment products on the internet. It certainly is seductive to be cured of any disorder, including sleep apnea. The word 'cure' refers to no longer having any component of the disorder.

As mentioned in the Sleep Apnea Section of American Sleep Association, there are several treatment options for sleep apnea. More discussion of Sleep Treatments.  There are only a few treatment options that truly offer the possibility of cure for sleep apnea.

These possible cures for sleep apnea might be successful in some and not in others.

The two possible cures for sleep apnea include:

  • Weight loss
  • Surgical

Each of these will be discussed in the sections below.

Weight Loss as a Sleep Apnea Cure

Weight and body mass index (BMI) is the most powerful variable influencing an individual's risk and severity of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). There is a strong correlation between high BMI and airway crowding, which leads to upper airway resistance, which can lead to breathing blockage.

Although not everyone who has OSA is overweight or obese, most are.

There have been a few studies that have demonstrated reduced and delivered sleep apnea cures that are associated with a reduction in weight.

However, losing weight when overweight/obese can be challenging. Furthermore, losing weight is a gradual process that does not yield positive effects quickly.

There are surgical options for weight loss. There have been some studies that demonstrated a reduced apnea hypopnea index (AHI) after bariatric surgery.

Although losing weight when overweight has been demonstrated to reduce and, sometimes, eliminate obstructive sleep apnea in many, it does not work for all.

Surgical Options as a Sleep Apnea Cure

There are a few sleep apnea surgical options that have the potential to offer sleep apnea cures.

As mentioned above, bariatric surgery works by reducing body weight which reduces the likelihood of having obstructive sleep apnea.

There are also upper airway surgeries that have been demonstrated to be effective at reducing and sometimes eliminating sleep apnea. These surgeries are usually performed by Ear Nose Throat surgeons (ENT).

Most of the surgeries work by removing or shrinking the extra soft tissues that surround the upper airway, thus increasing the diameter of the airway.

As with most medical treatments, these treatment are effective in some, while not in others. With all surgeries, there are potential risks associated with these surgeries.

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3 comments on “Sleep Apnea Cure - Can it be eliminated?”

  1. Hi, thanks for reading

    Note version

    I have sleep apnea. I have had UPPP and rhinoplasty surgeries. I have tried CPAP, cannot do, because of suffocating feeling, I remove while asleep. I have tried dental appliance, cannot do, remove while asleep. Best results were when taking unorthodox, metabolism and weight loss meds from my MD, but I went off those to try natural supplements from XXXXXX. These did not work and leptin temporarily raised my usually very good blood pressure and I now have a hemorrhage in a weak eye, which can be caused by high blood pressure. As soon as I went off leptin, blood pressure went back to normal. I have been treated by injections.

    I have an athlete's heart, been checked twice.
    I have exercised so much in my life, martial arts & weapons, walking, ball hockey, most of my toe nails have been removed or fallen off. In other words, since a toddler I haven been very active with exercise. I have also not been a high calorie intake person. And now, I have gone mostly fruit and veg for meals, reserving beef for only when I dine out which might be once a month. I need some advice from medical professionals that will not just assume I am a fat ass in denial. I have contacted a local dietitian and will go back to my MD for meds. I am tired of hucksters such as XXXXX that basically guess at problems.

    Thanks!
    48 years old, 5 10 238 pounds

    1. Hello Dr. Muray,
      Perhaps there is a set of muscles near your pharynx that do not relax when you sleep, staying tight and partially obstructing your airway until you wake up. In these types of patients the straps of the CPAP cause more restriction. I have treated this type of obstruction with physical therapy and trigger point injections. Worth a try in your case.

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