However, the problem is that many people who
have been prescribed CPAP
to help them breathe properly throughout the night quickly end up
giving up on using their machine, forcing them to look for CPAP
is thought to effectively treat obstructive sleep apnea in nearly
100 percent of patients, which may leave you wondering why
CPAP failure even exists. However, while it is true that CPAP is almost
always effective, the fact remains that a large percentage of people
who've been prescribed one of these machines quickly discontinue using
it due to a wide variety of different factors.
has been estimated that nearly 60
percent of CPAP users fail to
actually use their machine every night as they should. The reasons for
this failure are quite varied, but they are usually a result of the
fact that the CPAP mask and hoses can be quite uncomfortable to wear
and make it much more difficult for many users to fall asleep.
patients report that the mask makes
them feel claustrophobic; leads to
itchy skin, rashes, and other skin irritations; causes them to wake up
with an exceptionally dry mouth, nose or throat or other nasal and
respiratory problems; and even increases the occurrence of nightmares.
addition, many people use a mask that doesn't fit properly or keeps
slipping off during the night. For all of these reasons and more, many
people simply give up using their machine and begin looking for CPAP
Common CPAP Alternatives
Although CPAP is
generally considered to be the only truly effective treatment for
patients with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, the truth is
that you may still have other options, although they may not be quite as effective
depending on the severity of your condition and the underlying causes
people whose sleep apnea is related to obstructions of the throat
caused by the soft palate tissue in the mouth collapsing and blocking
the airway, you may be able to find relief through the use of a custom
made oral appliance or snoring
mouthpiece. These oral appliances usually need
to be specially made by a dentist so that they perfectly fit your mouth
and prevent the tissue from obstructing your airway.
most common type of oral appliance used in treating sleep apnea is
as a mandibular advancement device, which forces the lower jaw slightly
forward and allows the airway to remain open.
that you get this device custom made by your dentist, many patients
with mild to moderate sleep apnea have had success simply using an over
the counter mouth guard, such as those used during sports or for
are also tongue
restraining oral appliances, designed for people
whose airway obstructions are directly related to their tongue falling
back into the throat during sleep. These devices keep the tongue in
place, ensuring it cannot collapse back into the throat. While it may
take some time to get used to sleeping with an oral appliance, most
patients who have tried both these devices and CPAP report that it
takes much less time to get used to the oral appliance and feel it is
generally much more
comfortable than CPAP.
of the more common CPAP substitutes are known as nasal
dilators. These devices are designed for people whose sleep
related to a collapsing of their nostrils while breathing in. Nasal
dilators are small silicone
or plastic plugs that fit directly into
each nostril, with a clip in between the two that goes over the end of
the nose to keep the device in place.
dilators have been proven to be quite effective at treating
patients with mild to severe sleep apnea related to obstructions of the
nasal passages. By choosing a high quality nasal dilator made of soft,
medical grade silicon, you should be able to get used to sleeping with
the device within a few nights, and will definitely find it more
comfortable and much less intrusive than CPAP.
Alternatives for Positional Obstructive Sleep Apnea
one quarter of sleep apnea sufferers only experience
breathing problems when sleeping in a certain position, usually on
their backs. This condition is known as positional sleep apnea,
often be treated without the need for CPAP by simply ensuring that the
individual is unable to sleep on their back.
are many specially designed pillows that can help a person to
remain on their stomach or side while sleeping, which can definitely be
helpful in treating positional sleep apnea. However, by far the easiest
way to ensure you are unable to sleep on your back is to simply sew a
tennis ball into the back of your shirt, which will make
uncomfortable to sleep on your back for any length of time. Either one
of these methods can be quite effective CPAP substitutes.
if none of the other CPAP substitutes have worked for you,
your final option may be to undergo
surgery to attempt to correct the
underlying causes of your sleep apnea. The most common type of surgery
is known as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty or UPPP,
surgically removing some of the soft tissue in the mouth responsible
for the airway obstructions.
there are other surgical alternatives to CPAP as well, depending
on what the underlying sleep apnea causes are. Some sleep apnea is
related to a deviated
nasal septum, which restricts the person's
ability to breathe properly through their nostrils, and can often be
corrected through a fairly simple surgery.
matter which alternatives to CPAP you decide to try, you still need
to be aware of the fact that none
of them may work for you, leaving you
with no choice but to try again to get used to using your CPAP machine.
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