For those who suffer from OSA (obstructive sleep apnea), CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines help to prevent restricted breathing by delivering pressured air via a mask worn over the nose and mouth while a person is asleep. For many who suffer from sleep apnea, a CPAP machine was once the only option for treatment.
While effective, the machine can be cumbersome and, for some patients, end up limiting sleep instead of improving it. For the close to 86% of patients who find CPAPs intolerable, a few alternative treatment options exist:
Sleep apnea oral appliances, also referred to as mandibular advancing devices, are adjusted for each person by sleep apnea dentists. These devices resemble sport mouthguards, are often made of plastic or silicon, and work by moving the lower jaw forward which helps to open a person’s airway during sleep.
Positional therapy can be helpful for those with mild OSA. Training yourself to sleep on your right or left side, instead of on your back, may be an effective treatment. Special night shirts with tennis balls sewn into the back can also help to further correct sleep position.
Other PAP devices can sometimes be a better option, like a BiPAP (bi-level positive airway pressure) machine, which allows air to be delivered at alternating levels, or a VPAP, which enables a variable airflow to address spontaneous breathing episodes.
Lifestyle changes take time and effort to implement, but can be hugely beneficial to a person’s OSA and life in general. For starters, losing weight (even as little as 10 pounds) can improve OSA. Quitting smoking or cutting back on alcohol before bed can also make a significant difference for OSA sufferers.
Surgery is typically a last resort option, but can be very effective for people who have a narrow nasal passageway or other anatomical abnormalities like extra tissue in the throat. UPPP (uvulopalatopharyngoplasty) or turbinate reduction can be good options.
Whatever treatment option you chose, sleep apnea must be treated in order to help prevent the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, or heart attack. For more information on snoring or to schedule a consultation, call Marvel at 1-931-455-2005.