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:
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.
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.
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.