Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that affects approximately 39 million adults in the US. It is characterized by loud snoring, intermittent gasping, choking, and snorting while sleeping. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to other conditions, which include hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. 

Thankfully, there are a variety of treatments that effectively treat sleep apnea, including CPAP therapy and oral appliances.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

The exact cause of sleep apnea depends on the type of sleep apnea someone has. The two primary types of sleep apnea are obstructive (OSA) and central (CSA).

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea happens when proper airflow is blocked while someone is sleeping. Some of the leading causes of OSA include

  • Obesity: Being overweight is a leading cause of OSA. Fat accumulation around the neck can obstruct your breathing during sleep. 
  • Age: Sleep apnea may also become more prevalent due to changes in muscle tone and weight gain. 
  • Structural abnormalities: Structural abnormalities include narrow airways, enlarged adenoids, a large tongue, or a smaller jaw. 
  • Gender: While both men and women can develop sleep apnea, postmenopausal women may be at higher risk of developing it. 
  • Alcohol and Drug Use: Both alcohol and drug use may cause the throat muscles to relax, increasing the risk of obstruction. 

Central Sleep Apnea

Although not as common as OSA, central sleep apnea does affect approximately 0.9% of adults over 40 years old in the US. Central sleep apnea is caused by a break in communication between the brain and the muscles that control your breathing. Some of the leading causes of CSA are traumatic brain injuries or neurological conditions. Symptoms of CSA are similar to OSA, which include daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, and poor sleep quality.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

CPAP Therapy

CPAP therapy, or continuous airway pressure therapy, treats sleep apnea by keeping the airway open while sleeping. It involves wearing a mask over your nose and mouth or using nasal pillows to provide continuous pressure and reduce obstructive symptoms. While many patients do find it an effective treatment, not everyone can tolerate it. Some patients may find it hard to sleep with the mask on, or they develop insomnia due to being uncomfortable. 

Oral Appliance Therapy 

While CPAP therapy is an effective treatment for many patients, not everyone can tolerate it. SonmaMed, for instance, is a non-invasive treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea we offer at our Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

SomnaMed is a custom-fitted oral appliance that you wear at night while you sleep. It reduces obstruction by gently repositioning your jaw forward, providing more space for your tongue. SomnaMed is a comfortable alternative for patients who are unable to tolerate CPAP therapy. 


Depending on the cause of sleep apnea, surgery may also be a viable option. If symptoms are caused by a structural abnormality, such as an overly large or low-hanging uvula, surgery may be the right choice. It is important to note that only some are suitable candidates for surgery and that it is only sometimes a cure. Patients who have small airways or are diagnosed with central sleep apnea may not benefit from surgery. 


What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Some of the most common sleep apnea symptoms include daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, gasping, choking, morning headaches, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and frequent waking at night.

How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

Sleep apnea is typically diagnosed with polysomnography (sleep study). Polysomnography measures your breathing patterns, heart rate, oxygen levels, and brain activity. These parameters are analyzed, and based on the results, they can determine whether someone has mild, moderate, or severe sleep apnea. It is important to note that some at-home sleep studies may not produce the same results as those performed in a sleep lab. 

Yes, the SomnaMed appliance is comfortable for most patients. It is custom-designed to fit your mouth, which ensures a secure fit. Many patients find the SomnaMed appliance more comfortable than CPAP therapy.

Is SomnaMed Covered by Insurance?

Insurance coverage for the SomnaMed appliance varies between providers. It is always best to check with your insurance carrier to confirm eligibility and if there are any out-of-pocket costs. 

Can I Travel With the SomnaMed?

Yes, you can travel with the SomnaMed device. It is compact and does not require electricity to use.

Let Us Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea but cannot tolerate traditional CPAP therapy, Dr. Lerner and Dr. Lemongello can help. Contact our Palm Beach Gardens, FL office at (561) 627-9000 to schedule an appointment today. 

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