Are There Alternatives to Using the CPAP Machine for Those With Sleep Apnea?
If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you probably know that using your CPAP machine is very important. Many patients, however, have trouble using CPAP, so they don’t use it every night or stop using it completely. If that’s the case, it’s important to talk to your doctor about a CPAP alternative to ensure you get the treatment you need.
In this blog, the specialists at New York ENT explain more about alternatives to using a CPAP machine for sleep apnea.
What is CPAP, and why do some patients have trouble using it?
CPAP (continuous positive airway machine) is often prescribed if you have sleep apnea. It has a mask that fits over your nose or your nose and mouth and connects to tubes and a machine. It delivers a steady stream of air that helps keep your airway from collapsing when you sleep.
Although the treatment can be effective, many patients use it only sporadically or abandon its use completely. The mask and airflow can be uncomfortable, and the mask can cause irritation.
If using CPAP is too difficult, it’s important to talk to your sleep doctor about an alternative. It should be used every night, so if you’re using it only occasionally or not at all, you could be risking serious health complications.
What is a CPAP alternative?
If a structural abnormality – such as a deviated septum – is causing your sleep apnea, surgery can help correct these issues.
In many cases, however, an oral appliance can effectively treat sleep apnea. This custom-made device is similar to a mouthpiece that’s worn during sports, but it’s worn only at night.
How do oral appliances work?
Since oral appliances are custom-made, they address the cause of your sleep apnea. Depending on the cause of your airway blockage, an oral appliance can be created to help reposition your tongue as you sleep or coax your lower jaw gently forward while also repositioning your tongue.
Who makes a good candidate for CPAP alternatives such as oral appliances?
- You may be a good candidate for an oral appliance under the following circumstances:
- You snore
- You have mild to moderate sleep apnea
- You find it hard to tolerate CPAP treatment
What are the benefits of a CPAP alternative?
Oral appliances offer the following benefits:
- Effectiveness – They often result in a significant reduction in sleep apnea symptoms, especially for patients who sleep on their backs or stomachs.
- Comfort – Since they’re custom-made of flexible plastic and designed to fit your mouth, oral appliances are comfortable for most patients.
- Ease of use – Oral appliances are easier to use than a CPAP machine. This is especially true for people who move around a good bit in their sleep since they won’t become entangled in tubes or pull the machine over.
- Drug and surgery free – This form of treatment doesn’t require the use of medication, surgery, or another invasive treatment.
- Easy to clean and transport – Oral appliances are easier to clean than CPAP machines, and they’re also much smaller and easier to transport.
- Higher compliance than CPAP – Patients who use oral appliances usually stick with this treatment at a higher rate than patients who use CPAP do.
- Cost – They usually cost less than CPAP machines.
If you have difficulty using a CPAP machine, make an appointment today for a consultation with New York ENT. We offer CPAP alternatives that you may find to be more comfortable and easier to use, enabling you to get the deep, restorative sleep you need.