In children, OSA can be treated effectively with an operation to remove the adenoids and tonsils, and in adults mild OSA can often be managed with lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise. People with moderate to severe disease will usually need treatment with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. CPAP provides air pressure through a mask, which is worn during sleep. This works well in 70% of cases, so it is important that other treatment options are available for those who can’t use CPAP.

Maintaining a healthy weight is especially important for OSA, as obesity can have serious effects on the lungs and breathing. New Zealand is now the fourth most obese country in the OECD, so for the good of our respiratory health we need to improve healthy eating and physical activity.