“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
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.