Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. Doctors usually cannot detect the condition during routine office visits. Also, there are no diagnostic blood tests for the condition. Sleep test, also known as polysomnography is used to diagnose and grade the severity of sleep apnea. Standard sleep test required hospital stay overnight. Home tests are also available.
Life style adjustment is important. Obstructive sleep apnea patients are usually over-weight. Weight reduction, by diet and regular exercises, is utmost important. Improve sleep hygiene with regular sleep, avoid alcohol and sleeping pills will improve the sleep quality.
Positive airway pressure machines (CPAP) are the gold standard of the management of the sleep apnea. By applying positive pressure ventilation, the airway is splinted. Airway vibration and collapse are prevented and sleep quality improved. The compliance is the major problem. Lots of people refuse the idea of using CPAP and many find wearing a mask to sleep intolerable. It needs time for patients to get use to the CPAP machine and most of them will find it useful.
Surgery is reserved for those who cannot tolerate CPAP machine. Different kinds of surgery, aim at different level of obstruction, are available. The aim of the surgery is to enlarge and stiffen the airway. Success rate varies from 40% to 80%, depending on the individual. Sometime multilevel surgery is required for optimal results. Minimal invasive techniques such as radiofrequency ablations can be used to relieve obstruction at different level.
Dental appliances are another option for the treatment of sleep apnea. It is usually tailor made by dentists and wearing them during bedtime, may control the snoring and sleep apnea.