Sleep Apnea Alternative to CPAP
Convenient and Comfortable Alternatives to CPAP
Do you often wake up feeling tired? After waking, do you have a sore throat, dry mouth, or headache? Does your partner complain that you snore a lot?
You may be one of the estimated 22 million people in the United States who suffer from sleep apnea. Nearly 25% of men and 10% of women in America suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the most common type.
If you’re wondering about ways to treat sleep apnea alternatives to CPAP, keep reading.
Diagnosis and Complications
Sleep apnea can cause serious medical and quality of life issues. Untreated apnea can result in fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, depression, behavior problems, and daytime sleepiness that can lead to accidents. Normal, restorative sleep becomes impossible.
Blood pressure increases when blood oxygen levels suddenly drop, leading over time to chronic hypertension. Apnea sufferers have a higher incidence of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and abnormal liver function. In addition, they are more likely to experience surgery complications and have reactions to medications.
If you think you may have undiagnosed sleep apnea, we can help. Healthy Sleep Midwest will assist you in ordering an accurate home sleep study kit. Our board-certified sleep physicians will analyze the results and determine if you should begin apnea therapy.
CPAP Therapy vs. Oral Appliances
CPAP is the most common treatment for sleep apnea, particularly for moderate to severe cases. A mask fits over the nose and mouth (or just the nose) and connects by a plastic tube to a CPAP machine. The machine pushes pressurized air through the tube, forcing the upper airway passages to remain open.
Some people don’t like CPAP therapy. The mask bothers them, or machine noise keeps them awake. They have to bring it along when they travel. CPAP parts also have to be cleaned.
When it comes to choosing between a sleep apnea oral appliance or CPAP, it’s noteworthy that most oral appliances have a design resembling the mouthguards used by athletes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved more than 100 oral appliances for sleep apnea treatment. Made out of acrylic or nylon, the appliances reposition the jaw or tongue to prevent the airway from being blocked by the tongue or soft tissue while you sleep.
Compared to CPAP, the benefits of oral appliance therapy include:
- Quiet, comfortable, and easy to use
- No hoses to get tangled in during sleep
- No mask to cause skin irritation
- Easy to clean
- Small and portable
- Convenient for travel
- No electricity required
- Reduce or prevent bruxism (teeth grinding)
Other CPAP Alternative Treatments
In cases where CPAP and oral appliances are unsuitable, sleep specialists may recommend other options. These include:
- Weight loss because obesity is a leading cause of sleep apnea
- Surgery to remove excess soft tissue around the airway
- Removal of the tonsils or adenoids, a standard practice for children suffering from sleep apnea
- Hypoglossal nerve stimulation, which involves implanting electronic devices under the skin