Is Sleep Apnea Curable?MediKart Team
Sleep apnea is a serious illness, but thankfully, there are treatment options available, such as oral appliance therapy, that can greatly reduce symptoms and let patients lead active, healthy lives. Can sleep apnea, however, ever truly be cured? Is it feasible for someone who has sleep apnea to get rid of it?
What is Sleep Apnea?
Let’s start by thinking about what obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is in reality.
The breathing pauses that are characteristic of this illness are, by definition, brought on by a physical obstruction in the airway, such as an enlarged tongue, large tonsils or adenoids, a limp soft palate, or even a deviated nasal septum. These obstructions cause breathing to stop, which sends the body into panic mode and causes it to partially awaken in an effort to resume regular breathing. These apneic episodes can happen up to 100 times each hour in the worst instances!
Can Sleep Apnea be Permanently Cured?
Obstructive apnea is caused by anatomical factors, therefore the question of a “cure” that lasts forever is difficult to answer.
CPAP or oral appliances can treat persistent sleep apnea. CPAP applies pressure to clear the airway, but it can be hard to tolerate. Oral appliances are more comfortable, projecting the jaw forward to expand the airway. Both must be used at night for results and can lower the apnea-hypopnea index to below 5, indicating complete resolution of OSA.
Surgeries for Sleep Apnea
Surgery for sleep apnea has the potential to alter a person’s anatomy, theoretically “curing” the condition. However, there is a broad range in success rates, and the problem frequently recurs, disappointing patients.
Surgery may be necessary in difficult cases when other treatments fail, or if requested. Oral appliances and CPAP are usually more reliable.
The following are some surgical options for the management of apnea:
- UPPP involves trimming the soft palate and uvula and repositioning tissues to enlarge the airway. It’s popular but often done with other procedures like tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies.
- Septoplasty and turbinate reduction: These operations, widen the nasal passageway and improve airflow.
- Genioglossus advancement: Pulling the tongue’s base forward to prevent it from collapsing into the airway during sleep.
The word “cure” frequently conjures images of a complete resolution of a condition, in which the condition disappears permanently and never reappears. For the most part, sleep apnea is a lifelong problem, thus this is just not the case. The good news is that persistent treatment can significantly lessen symptoms, allowing people to sleep better and live more fully.