When patients are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, they are often surprised to find out that medication will not fix the problem. While various treatment options exist, one of the best things that you can do if you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea is to make healthy lifestyle changes. When these changes are made in addition to treatment plans, the outcome is generally quite favorable.

  1. Lose Weight- While not everyone diagnosed with OSA is overweight, obesity is the number one risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea. Losing weight will almost always make sleep apnea less severe, and in some cases it may cure it completely.
  2. Stop Drinking- Alcohol relaxes the muscles of the throat and causes sleep apnea symptoms to increase. If you have OSA, it’s best to stop drinking.
  3. Quit Smoking- If you are a smoker, sleep apnea is one of many reasons to kick the habit. Smoking greatly increases the symptoms and severity of sleep apnea.
  4. Treat Underlying Conditions- Visit your ear, nose and throat specialist after receiving a sleep apnea diagnosis. It is possible an underlying condition could be causing obstructive sleep apnea to worsen.

By Ramie A. Tritt, M.D., President, Atlanta ENT