Updated Recommendations For Treating Sleep Apnea

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013, 4:29 pm

The American College of Physicians released new recommendations for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. The recommendations were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the ACP’s professional journal.

The number one recommendation is for patients to lose weight. “Obesity is a risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea and the evidence indicates that intensive weight loss interventions help improve sleep study results and symptoms of OSA,” said Dr. Molly Cooke who is President of the ACP. Patients should also attempt continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) as initial treatment.

More than 18 million American adults have obstructive sleep apnea but most have not been diagnosed. Sleep apnea is a condition in which the airway collapses during sleep causing the stoppages in breathing. Untreated sleep apnea increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes and other medical disorders. Patients with sleep apnea suffer from extreme daytime sleepiness which increases the risk of automobile and other accidents.

These new guidelines take into account the fact that about half of patients who attempt sleeping with CPAP find they cannot use the device. The ACP recommends a mandibular advancement device, an oral appliance, for these patients. Dr. Cooke said “Doctors should weight patients preferences and the likelihood of therapy adherence against costs before initiating CPAP treatment.” In other words, when a patient now tells their doctor that they don’t even want to try CPAP, the physician should prescribe an oral appliance. Surgery was not recommended as a treatment for sleep apnea.

Oral appliances effectively treat sleep apnea without the masks, hoses and machines and most patients find them comfortable and they are easy to use. Find out more about oral appliance therapy to treat sleep apnea by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.


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Category: sleep apnea

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