Managing Obstructive Sleep Apnea:  Adults

Managing Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Adults

Age can make you more at risk when you have a sleeping disorder. Some adults have other diseases as well that make the management of obstructive sleep apnea more serious.

OSA or Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea and is characterized by what causes the stop or pause on breathing, in this case, a muscle may be blocking the air path. It shows repeated episodes of complete or partial obstructions of the upper airway during sleep. Risk factors are age, male gender, obesity, upper airway abnormality, smoking, family history, pregnancy, diabetes, and other diseases. People with OBS commonly report daytime sleepiness, snoring, gasping, choking, snorting and interruptions in breathing.

For managing OSA the main goal is to first get into reducing the symptoms to improve the quality of sleep and normalize the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and oxyhemoglobin saturation levels. OSA should be approached as a chronic disease that requires long-term, multidisciplinary management. The potential benefits of successfully treating OSA include clinical improvement (eg, less daytime sleepiness), reduced health care utilization and costs, and, possibly, decreased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.


Here are the possible plans on how to manage OSA:


  • EDUCATION AND BEHAVIOR - The management of a patient with OSA begins by firmly establishing the diagnosis and its severity. Disease severity guides management by identifying patients who are at greatest risk for adverse outcomes and by providing a baseline from which to measure the effectiveness of treatment. Diagnosis and disease severity are described separately. The behavior and daily lives of the patient need to be changed to a healthy lifestyle. No alcohol, caffeine, exercise, reducing weight and even sleeping positions are tackled to be changed.


  • POSITIVE AIRWAY PRESSURE THERAPY - This is the most common and known treatment for OSA. The use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) involves the maintenance of a positive pharyngeal transmural pressure so that the intraluminal pressure exceeds the surrounding pressure. CPAP also stabilizes the upper airway through increased end-expiratory lung volume. As a result, respiratory events due to upper airway collapse (eg, apneas, hypopneas) are prevented. Adherence to any PAP therapy is proven that shows great improvement for patients with OSA. 

    Those two are the most common in managing OSA for adults but in some cases, upper airway surgery, pharmacologic and oral medications can also be considered depending on the preexisting conditions of the patient. 



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