CPAP and CPAP Alternatives
Short for continuous positive airway pressure, CPAP is a common treatment for sleep apnea. To alleviate breathing difficulties, users wear a specially-designed mask that utilizes pressure to prevent their throats from collapsing while they’re asleep. When patients are able to tolerate CPAP, they enjoy some noticeable benefits, including fewer headaches, deeper sleep and less snoring. Unfortunately, CPAP isn’t always well-tolerated; in fact, many people refuse to wear their CPAP masks, even though they effectively reduce or alleviate sleep apnea symptoms. If you don’t tolerate CPAP and would like to know about CPAP alternatives, please call (303) 691-0267 or contact our Denver office online.
What Are the Drawbacks?
Although it can effectively relieve symptoms of OSA, CPAP sometimes causes problems that keep users awake at night. In many instances, patients grow frustrated with unpleasant noises. They may also experience claustrophobia and pressure sores. Because it is relatively restrictive, CPAP doesn’t allow many users to sleep in the positions they prefer. This by itself can lead to sleeping difficulties that cause many sleep apneics to abandon CPAP therapy entirely.
When it Works, it Works Well
When it’s well-tolerated, CPAP works 100 percent of the time. Sadly, because it’s not always tolerated, the therapy’s actual success rate is closer to 23 – 45 percent. This is because many patients choose to remove their masks at some point during the night. When this occurs, sleep apnea symptoms return in full force.
A Different Approach
When sleep apneics struggle to tolerate CPAP, oral appliance therapy makes a lot of sense. By adjusting the jaw to provide a clear airway, sleep appliances are able to alleviate breathing difficulties that promote frequent waking. They also come without troublesome side-effects. There are no movement restrictions; patients can sleep in whatever positions they choose. Oral appliances also allow users to sleep in a quieter environment, which promotes deeper sleep. Finally, because they fit comfortably within the mouth, sleep appliances don’t cause pressure sores, sore throats and other irritating side-effects that are sometimes associated with CPAP.
What’s the Best Option for You?
Studies have linked obstructive sleep apnea to a myriad of frightening medical problems, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, cancer and more. Other research has shown that sleep disorders can also contribute to obesity, fertility problems, hormonal imbalances and depression.
With this in mind, it’s clear that going without treatment puts sleep apneics in harm’s way. For many, CPAP provides an escape from these dangers, while also eliminating headaches, fatigue, snoring and other symptoms associated with this dangerous disorder. On the other hand, for others, CPAP simply isn’t a reasonable option, thanks to frustrating side-effects that cause problems of their own.
If you can’t tolerate CPAP, there’s still hope. With multiple treatment options available, modern sleep apneics have no reason to endure sleepless nights, difficult days and health risks associated with OSA. Email Denver sleep dentsit, Dr. Berry's office or call (303) 691-0267 to learn more about oral appliance therapy: a proven alternative to CPAP that can provide lasting relief from obstructive sleep apnea.
Self Screening: Do You Have Problems Sleeping?
The Epworth Sleepiness Scale
This self-administered test is used to determine your level of daytime sleepiness which can be caused by sleep apnea.