Sleep Apnea Treatments
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder in which you repetitively stop breathing while you sleep. Because this leads to waking up frequently throughout the night, many patients seek treatment to relieve their symptoms and prevent possible health risks.
However, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is typically thought of as the only available treatment. In reality, there are several alternatives to this treatment that can help relieve sleep apnea symptoms.
What Is CPAP?
CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is a breathing therapy device commonly used to treat sleep apnea. Delivered through a mask, this machine increases air pressure in your throat to prevent your airway from collapsing while you sleep.
This treatment may also have added benefits, such as decreasing your blood pressure and preventing health risks like heart disease. Patients often see an improvement in their mood and memory while undergoing CPAP treatment. However, this isn’t the case for every patient.
Why Seek an Alternative?
While this treatment is typically effective, some patients find it cumbersome and uncomfortable. Patients may find it difficult to meet the requirements of this treatment, which includes a 30-day compliance period. For some, this treatment may not be as effective as it is for other patients. Some may even find this treatment to be outside their budgets.
Additionally, CPAP treatment may lead to uncomfortable side effects, such as:
- Dry mouth
- Red or itchy eyes
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
CPAP machines also have a bad reputation for being loud, which could irritate one’s bed partner. This could lead to a strained relationship or an increase in the chance a patient will quit the treatment altogether. Thankfully, there are alternatives to sleep apnea treatment.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is a convenient treatment for sleep apnea that involves wearing custom-made mouthguards while you sleep. These mouthpieces can also help prevent snoring.
There are different types of oral appliances for sleep apnea:
- Tongue Retaining Devices: These devices are designed to position your tongue in a way that won’t block your airway while you sleep.
- Mandibular Advancement Devices: These mouthguards cover your upper and lower teeth to position your jaw in a way that will prevent it from blocking your upper airway.
While each has a varying degree of comfort and effectiveness depending on the patient, they’ve both been proven to help treat sleep apnea. They’re quiet and portable, allowing you to wear them anywhere without disturbing your bed partner.
There are some natural and holistic solutions to treating sleep apnea, such as:
- Switching sleep positions
- Avoiding alcohol
- Treating nasal congestion
- Losing weight
Because they can help improve your overall health and open your airways, these lifestyle changes may be able to provide treatment without the need for medical equipment. Though, most professionals recommend practicing these solutions along with other treatments.
The effectiveness of these solutions may vary depending on the severity of your condition. However, they may help alleviate more mild cases of sleep apnea. It’s recommended that you first visit a sleep apnea professional before attempting home remedies. Severe cases of sleep apnea may require certain treatments.
In some cases, surgical solutions can help alleviate or eliminate the effects of sleep apnea. Most of these operations will remove or shrink tissue surrounding a patient’s airway to increase its diameter and promote better breathing.
Some surgeries that can help treat sleep apnea include:
- Nasal passage surgery
- Pillar procedure
- Relocation pharyngoplasty
Because no two patients are alike, there’s a variety of surgical solutions for sleep apnea. This sleep disorder impacts everyone differently, so it’s best to speak to your doctor about which treatment may be most effective for you.
Visit North Texas Sleep Solutions for Sleep Apnea Treatment
Whether or not you’ve tried CPAP treatment before, it’s worth looking into alternative treatments for sleep apnea. There’s no one “cure” for this sleep disorder, so CPAP treatment may not be the ideal solution for every patient.
To learn which sleep apnea treatment is the right fit for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Lauck by calling our Keller office at (817) 431-6764. You can also fill out a contact form and a team member will be in touch shortly. We look forward to helping you find the ideal treatment.