Hi @CommunicativeBlueGreenLark2154. AHI is the Apnea Hypopnea Index. In basic terms, this number indicates how many times you stopped breathing or had reduced airflow during sleep that caused either your blood oxygen level to drop or caused you to arouse from sleep. Here are the general classifications:
•None/Minimal: AHI < 5 per hour •Mild: AHI ≥ 5, but < 15 per hour •Moderate: AHI ≥ 15, but < 30 per hour •Severe: AHI ≥ 30 per hour
Treatment options are very specific to each individual. For some, there are surgical options that may improve or eliminate sleep apnea. For others, oral appliances work quite well. The most common treatment is PAP therapy (CPAP, APAP, BiPAP, etc.). I do not know anything about Chicago ENT or what other board certified sleep physicians in your area might be able to help, but I encourage you to continue with your treatment if it works well for you. If you wish to research other options, the website sleepeducation.org from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has a search function to help you find facilities in your area, and those facilities have physicians associated with them who may be able to help. Best wishes!
Reading about those procedures is difficult because the write-ups such as done by the NIH (National Institute of Health) are technical and full of doctor-speak. Seems to me that the point of many of the surgical procedures are to correct issues that are not directly related to AHI incidents but might have some beneficial affect on conditions related to breathing but would not necessarily provide relief of obstructive apnea. If you take a sleep study, the doctor repsonsible for the results can recommend PAP therapy or surgical options. I suspect they would recommend as first option which medical therapy or procedure would be most likely to address your medical issues. Doctors vary in their approach to health care... homeopathic doctors, surgical types and doctors who love to prescribe drugs. If you have a sleep study, consider the recommendations and do some research on your own and discuss the results with your PCP to formulate the best plan of action.
If you have ever taken part in any other forum, folks who have gone in one direction or made a certain type of purchase tend to push their choice as it affirms their judgement but bottom line, its your health and you are in the best position using the professional advice you pay for to choose the best path.
Get a blood oximeter and check your blood oxygen as you sleep. These devices can be had for under $100 on eBay... I have the recording type that you wear like a watch. A small cover fits on your finger and is attached to the gizmo and I now know for sure that my oxygen deficiency issues are solved by the treatment I take. Snoring is annoying but does kill unless your spouse gets annoyed enough.
Having had sleep apnea for many years, I believe the best solution is Inspire Sleep Therapy. It is an implant that works beautifully. I do not have any side effects. Go to inspiresleep.com to learn about it, hear from others that have it, and find a doctor that is trained for the implant.