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The severity of sleep apnea is measured by the number of apneas (cessations of airflow) or hypopneas (reductions in airflow) that cause sleep arousal. The number of these events per hour is commonly called the "apnea-hypopnea index" or the "respiratory disturbance index."
One way to treat people who have sleep apnea is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. It is actually a mask with tubes and a fan. The sleep apnea mask uses air pressure to push one's tongue forward and open one's throat. This allows air to pass through the throat. It also reduces snoring.
Talk to your doctor if you think you have sleep apnea. Your doctor may ask you to do a sleep study. During your sleep study, you may try different levels of air pressure with a CPAP device to see which level helps. If you need a CPAP device, your doctor will help you choose one that is right for you.