Although sleep apnoea cannot necessarily be cured, the Mayo Clinic outlines the basics of each of the four main treatment recommendations. Oral appliance therapy, which looks similar to a mouth guard or retainer and projects the jaw forward during sleep to open the airway, is another effective treatment that is generally considered more tolerable for patients. You may need this form of surgery if other treatments have failed and you have severe, life-threatening sleep apnoea. A CPAP machine delivers enough air pressure to a mask to keep your upper airway open, preventing snoring and sleep apnoea.
If you have obstructive sleep apnoea, your doctor may refer you to an ear, nose and throat doctor to rule out a blockage in your nose or throat. An evaluation by a heart doctor (cardiologist) or a doctor specialising in the nervous system (neurologist) may be necessary to look for causes of central sleep apnoea. The good news is that consistent treatment can dramatically reduce symptoms, helping patients sleep better and lead fuller lives. Because obstructive sleep apnoea is the result of anatomical features, the question of a permanent "cure" is complicated to answer.
However, it may not be a good option for people with predominantly central sleep apnoea and advanced heart failure. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a chronic condition, caused when the muscles of the throat and tongue relax enough to partially or completely obstruct the passage of the airway. When you make your appointment, ask if there is anything you need to do beforehand, such as modifying your diet or keeping a sleep diary. The doctor can make an assessment based on your signs and symptoms and a sleep history, which you can provide with the help of someone sharing your bed or home, if possible.
But can sleep apnoea be cured for good, and is it possible for a person with sleep apnoea to stop having it? CPAP is effective in treating sleep apnoea, but many patients find it difficult or impossible to tolerate. Overweight people are prone to having excess tissue in the back of the throat, which contributes to obstructive sleep apnoea, and by losing that weight, a person can effectively alter their anatomy, causing symptoms to be drastically reduced, although not eliminating sleep apnoea completely in most cases. In one study, a 10% weight loss predicted a 26n reduction in the AHI (or apnoea-hypopnoea index, which measures the severity of sleep apnoea).