Diagnosis of sleep apnea requires an overnight sleep study. The sleep study will document the number of apneas and hypopneas that occur during the night as well as how often they cause arousals and drops in oxygen levels. This will guide the doctor in making treatment decisions.
Treatment of sleep apnea is a complex and evolving medical field. The mainstay of treatment is the use of breathing machines (CPAP, BIPAP, and others), which apply small amounts of air pressure to the airway to hold it open during sleep.
Surgical options are available for milder sleep apnea cases if the physician feels this may be right for you. The most frequently performed surgery is a UPPP (uvulopalatal pharyngoplasty), which trims the uvula, the tissues of the soft palate, and the tissues behind the tongue to create more space in the airway behind the tongue.
There are other options that may be offered by your ENT surgeon. Oral airways similar to mouthpieces used by athletes may also be effective in milder cases and can be made by specially trained dentists