Why CPAP might not be the sleep apnea treatment you’re looking for
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and has generally been considered “the solution” by health care professionals. When people suffer from sleep apnea, CPAP is almost always the therapy initially prescribed.
If CPAP is your sleep apnea treatment, you’ll wear a specially designed mask while sleeping. The mask uses pressure, sending air flow through your nasal passages. This increase of oxygen prevents your throat from collapsing during sleep, allowing you to breathe freely throughout the night.
When used as intended, CPAP has a high rate of success – close to 100%. While there are definite benefits, there are some drawbacks that make CPAP alternatives look like more attractive solutions.
What’s the problem with CPAP?
Sleep apnea suffers using CPAP must wear the CPAP mask every night. After using it for an extended period of time, many sleep apnea patients say they detest the machine and want CPAP alternatives.
The problem with CPAP is a difficult treatment to commit to. To use the device properly means the mask must cover both your mouth and nose. It must be worn every night all night long. A large percentage of people that use the device, on average can only tolerate it for 4 hours or less. This significantly decreases the success rate.
There are additional problems associated with CPAP. The straps of the mechanism can lead to facial breakouts and the appliance lends itself to irritated eyes and nose, a runny nose, dryness of the mouth and sore throat.
Patients using CPAP will find problems with the appliance if they suffer from allergies, always breathe through their mouth or tend to sleep on their stomachs.
Not in love with your CPAP Machine? Try CPAP alternatives!
Different positive airway devices
BiPAP (bi-level positive airway pressure) and VPAP (an even more sophisticated device) are slightly different from the traditional CPAP machine, but they don’t offer relief from uncomfortable masks and noisy machines. Most sleep apnea patients who can’t tolerate CPAP are looking for something completely different.
Sometimes the solution could be simply a change of sleeping position. Many sleep apnea patients find their symptoms occur more frequently when they sleep on their backs. Products such as body belts, cushions and body pillows are designed to remind you to sleep on your side. This treatment is a great choice for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea, but isn’t enough for those with a more severe case.
If you have severe sleep apnea and can’t tolerate PAP treatments, surgery could be something to consider. Two common surgical procedures for obstructive sleep apnea treatment are:
- Maxillomandibular advancement (surgery to move your jaw forward)
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (throat tissue removal)
Oral sleep apnea and snoring appliances look just like mouth guards. They move your lower jaw forward to open your airway, and make breathing easier. When used properly, oral appliances are safe, effective and relatively reliable, but they are not suitable for people with severe sleep apnea.
Find CPAP alternatives that are best for you
The good news is that, if you are suffering from snoring or sleep apnea, you have choices! Depending on the severity of your disorder and your own lifestyle, Dr. Gary Imm can help you find an effective, comfortable treatment to get you back to healthy sleep cycles. Why not find out for yourself.