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Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the most effective treatment for sleep apnea, however there are also surgical options, oral appliances, and behavioral approaches that can be used to treat OSA. Weight loss, although always a good idea in reducing obesity-related conditions (e.g., hypertension, diabetes), is considered supplementary or adjunctive therapy rather than primary treatment for OSA. Other underlying medical conditions, especially nasal allergies, should also be treated. A nasal steroid might help improve nasal obstruction associated with allergies as well as the OSA symptoms. For a more comprehensive explanation of the treatment options for this condition, go to the Treatments Section in the Tests and Treatments Section. The same treatments that are successful for OSA can be used to treat UARS. While CPAP remains the most effective treatment, this population may find it difficult to tolerate. Alternative treatments such as surgery, oral appliances, positional therapy (restricting the individual to sleeping on his/her sides), and weight loss may be effective in improving sleep disordered breathing in individuals with UARS.
Surgery is usually the first line of treatment for children; removing a child's enlarged tonsils and adenoids by a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy (or T&A) will often resolve the OSA. However, in some children, CPAP, further surgery, or specialized orthodontic treatment may be necessary to treat the OSA.