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Modern Sleep Apnea Solutions Alternative to CPAP

Explore Alternatives to CPAP for Sleep Apnea Treatment

Explore Alternatives to CPAP for Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea is a debilitating disease that some professionals estimate effects up to twenty-two million Americans alone. This number doesn’t count individuals from other countries and the multitudes that go undiagnosed each year. The disease causes the collapse of the airway during sleep. It often results in intense snoring and interruption of breathing. These episodes of not breathing last from a few seconds up to as much as a minute or even longer. This can happen several times a night, with some of the worst cases happening up to one hundred times a night or more. Besides the obvious ill effects of gasping and choking from lack of oxygen during the night, sleep apnea also contributes to a host of other illnesses such as:

  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • stroke
  • high blood pressure
  • increased likelihood of heart attack
  • as well as higher levels of stress, anxiety, and irritability.

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is the CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device. This works by a tube connected from a machine to a mask that covers the person’s nose and sometimes also the mouth. The machine blows pressurized air through the tube that helps to keep the airway open at night, when the person is relaxed and asleep. While the CPAP is a viable treatment option for many, it doesn’t work well for everyone suffering from this disease. For this reason, other options alternative to CPAP do exist. Read on to learn more about these alternatives.

Why Are Alternative Solutions to CPAP Necessary?

There are a variety of reasons that make it difficult for some people to tolerate traditional CPAP treatment. For instance, although the technology has vastly improved over the years, some people still have a hard time getting used to the noise the machine emits. Others have difficulty tolerating the mask they must wear all night long, or the tubing that restricts movement during sleep. For others, it can also be a matter of convenience as it can be cumbersome to lug a machine around while traveling and to ensure the machine is frequently cleaned and sanitized. Fortunately, modern medicine and technology have developed many solutions alternative to CPAP.

Below is a list of some of the common treatment methods alternative to CPAP for those individuals who either cannot tolerate CPAP or choose not to use it for other reasons. This list is not all-inclusive, however, and it is always a good idea to discuss your individual needs with your physician and/or dentist first.

Treatment Options Alternative to CPAP

  1. Hypoglossus Nerve Stimulation—This is a relatively new treatment the Food and Drug Administration approved in 2014. With this method, a doctor surgically implants a device in the chest. The user is able to turn the device on and off. A small battery powers the implant. The device uses mild stimulation to activate a nerve that keeps the airway open while the user sleeps.
  2. Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure (EPAP)—This is another modern treatment option alternative to CPAP. This method works by having the user wear small, disposable, adhesive valves over the nose during sleep. Upon inhale, the valve opens up and helps to keep the airway open as well. On exhale, air is goes into small channels that work through pressure to keep the airway open. This has also had positive results in the sleep apnea community so far.
  3. Lifestyle Changes—Sometimes, simple lifestyle changes can alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea. Losing weight can make a big difference in symptoms, sometimes even eliminating the condition altogether. Extra fat in the neck causes the airway to be extremely narrow or even close entirely when on the back. Eliminating, or greatly reducing, alcohol or sedative consumption and lying on the side to sleep can also help.
  4. Surgery—This is usually only considered as one of the last resorts. Surgery reduces the size of an enlarged tongue, remove tonsils and/or adenoids, shorten a large palate, enlarge a jawbone, and other abnormalities.
  5. Oral Appliance Therapy—This type of therapy is significantly less costly and less invasive than other options. Insurance generally covers the treatment. Oral appliance therapy consists of a mouth guard similar to those used in sports activities. The user wears it in the mouth while sleeping. It keeps the airway open by moving the jaw forward. A dentist will evaluate to determine if this type of therapy is appropriate. If so, they will assist in choosing and fitting the correct type of mouth guard for the individual.

Which CPAP Alternative is Best for Me?

If you, or someone you know, is interested in an alternate treatment, your physician should be able to provide a referral to an appropriate provider. However, if the idea of oral appliance therapy appeals to you, consider making a call to your dental professional. As mentioned earlier, because of the convenience, affordability, and ease of use, oral appliances are one of the most common treatment options alternative to CPAP that are used for those who suffer from sleep apnea. Your family dentist should be able to provide a referral but if you need another source, the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine can also help.

To learn more about using an oral appliance as a CPAP alternative, please contact Mark Levy DDS at (614) 777-7350 today. We can provide  a full evaluation. We’ll also provide you with all the information you  need to make the best decisions about your treatment.

Call Mark Levy DDS at (614)777-7350 today to learn more about treating your Obstructive Sleep Apnea with CPAP alternatives.