Gary Marklin, MD, demonstrates proper use of a CPAP mask, which is highly effective for treating sleep apnea.
Many solutions are available to address sleep problems
Multiple treatment options are available if you have a sleep disorder. In mild cases, behavioral modifications or short-term medications may do the trick. For sleep apnea, pulmonologist and critical care specialist Gary Marklin, MD, says treatments include changes in body positioning during sleep for mild apnea, or the use of a dental appliance to help keep the jaw pulled forward so that air flows freely to the back of the throat. Surgery may be warranted for removal of large tonsils, or to correct a receding jaw or congenital defects of the neck.
The gold standard for treating moderate and severe apnea is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), which uses a small air-flow generator to provide a gentle flow of air to a mask worn over the nose and/or mouth while sleeping.
“It’s really a fan that produces pressure to help keep the upper airway open during sleep,” explains Dr. Marklin. “We determine the correct pressure setting during a sleep evaluation. The more the airway is restricted, the more pressure is needed. Patients who are overweight, who have a large neck size [over 17] or a large tongue may require higher pressure settings.”
Dr. Marklin says patient education is the key to successful long-term use. “They have to use it every single night and it may take as long as two months to get used to it or to find the most comfortable mask,” he says. “The reality is that CPAP is quite effective and most of my patients say they don’t want to sleep without it.”
For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
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