More than twenty-million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with a majority of these cases going undiagnosed. For many people, apnea is considered a minor annoyance, but recent studies have shown that untreated cases of apnea can cause additional health issues such as heart disease and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Many people who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea do not follow through with their treatment, which typically consists of CPAP therapy. This is because CPAP therapy can make it difficult or uncomfortable to sleep. Fortunately, there are a number of CPAP alternatives to choose from that can effectively treat apnea while also working to prevent any future complications to your health.
CPAP Alternatives: Why CPAP Therapy Fails
CPAP therapy has been clinically proven to effectively treat apnea. Unfortunately, this treatment is not a cure for apnea. So what can you do if you’re unable to tolerate this type of treatment? A recent study estimated that approximately fifty percent of CPAP users didn’t like their treatment and failed to use it consistently. This study showed that most patients stopped using CPAP therapy after one to three weeks, due to discomfort.
CPAP alternatives can include APAP therapy, BIPAP therapy, CPAP with C flex and custom fit mouth guards. These alternatives will provide the same type of support as CPAP and can be more encouraging to use.
APAP therapy will establish a high range pressure number and a low range pressure number that will automatically adjust as the user sleeps and can provide then with the ideal amount of pressure at any given moment. This machine utilizes an algorithm that senses the subtle changes in the user’s breathing and detects spikes in apnea episodes in order to adjust the airflow accordingly.
BIPAP therapy features two different levels of air pressure, a high level for inhaling and a lower level of air pressure for exhaling. This can prevent the type of breathing discomfort that’s usually associated with CPAP therapy.
CPAP with C flex
Similar to BIPAP therapy, CPAP with C flex offers pressure relief as the user exhales. This device can only offer relief from pressure up to three CM, while BIPAP devices can relieve pressure for levels of four CM or more.
Dental devices for the treatment of sleep apnea are designed for people will mild or moderate cases. These devices can work to keep the airway open by pulling the tongue and lower jaw forward. These devices can be purchased over the counter or custom made by a sleep specialist or dentist. Over the counter models can cause further complications because they may be too big or small, causing jaw pain, swelling, redness and sores.