A Common Solution to Treat Sleep Apnea
For patients suffering from sleep apnea, the first line of defense is a continuous positive airway pressure machine, also known as a CPAP. It’s a machine that works by sending air pressure through your nasal passages from a mask worn each night. CPAP keeps your airway open and is commonly prescribed to treat obstructive sleep apnea.
More than 18 million American adults have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), or a condition that causes you to stop breathing while sleeping. Though the CPAP stimulates normal breathing, a majority of patients complain that it’s uncomfortable, loud, and awkward.
As a comfortable alternative, sleep specialists like Dr. Edward Hobbs provide custom-made oral appliances, designed with you in mind. It’s small, quiet, and won’t get in the way of a good night’s rest — for you and your partner.
Discover the downsides of CPAP and why many patients stop using it altogether.
It’s Downright Uncomfortable
The central complaint surrounding CPAP is how uncomfortable it is. The machine is loud and inconvenient, while the mask is bulky and awkward. Patients also report feeling claustrophobic while wearing the mask at night because it’s especially tight-fitting.
The CPAP mask requires patients to sleep on their backs, often making it difficult to adjust to sustaining one sleeping position. It can take several nights to get used to generated air being circulated through your mouth and nose. The high pressure of the airflow can feel extremely uncomfortable, preventing most patients from growing accustomed to it.
The Many Setbacks of CPAP
On top of the inconvenience and discomfort of CPAP, there are a number of physical reactions caused by this popular sleep apnea solution. When used regularly, CPAP can cause:
CPAP masks are firmly secured around your head, covering your nose and most of your face while sleeping. This can result in lacerations, skin allergies, or additional types of skin irritations. The mask and straps from the device can cause great discomfort and often causes patients to stop using CPAP altogether. Those predisposed to sensitive skin and irritation are most habitually affected.
Most patients complain of extreme dry mouth when using the CPAP machine. Dry mouth is typically caused by the air blown into the mouth through the mask. There are a number of additional reasons for dry mouth, like the mask not fitting right or the patient sleeping with their mouth open. This can make your mouth feel dry and unpleasant.
The air pumped into your airway from the machine may agitate your nasal passages and trigger a number of factors associated with allergies. These may include congestion, itchy eyes, runny nose, throat irritation, and cough.
Stomach Bloating, Gas & More
Problems with the air pressure setting on the CPAP machine can cause excessive gas, burping, and stomach bloating. It may take several nights to adjust the CPAP to resolve these issues. Patients have also complained of serious reactions such as nosebleeds and chest soreness as a result of lung expansion.
Other Alternatives to CPAP
Well-trained sleep specialists, like Dr. Steven Greenman, may suggest additional alternatives to CPAP, such as positional therapy and throat exercises. Positional therapy helps patients avoid sleep positions that may heighten their sleep apnea symptoms.
Practicing throat exercises each day can reduce the degree of snoring and sleep apnea by strengthening the muscles around the airway. Aas a last resort, your doctor may recommend sleep apnea surgery to widen your nasal airways.
Don’t Wait– Tackle Your Sleep Apnea
If you suffer from sleep apnea, it’s important to undergo a proper sleep test to determine the best form of treatment for your unique needs. Without treatment, this sleep disorder can lead to more serious consequences, such as obesity, diabetes, stroke, heart failure, and more.
Skilled dentists like Dr. Brett Barney offer home sleep tests so patients can screen their sleep apnea from the comfort of their own home. This allows patients to skip the clinic, long-awaited hospital results, and uncomfortable devices.
It’s crucial to treat your sleep apnea at the first sign of the disorder. Between CPAP, oral appliances, or alternative methods, there is a treatment that’s designed to work for you.