The Trouble With CPAP
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP therapy, is the most commonly prescribed treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Patients with OSA stop breathing several times each night due to an obstruction in the airway. A CPAP machine clears the obstruction by delivering a steady flow of air into the airway through a mask that the patient wears over their face.
Many patients don’t like CPAP because it’s loud and it restricts your movement during sleep. In fact, CPAP forces you to sleep on your back all night long. And if you need to get up during the night for any reason, you must remove your mask and then reattach it.
To be effective, your CPAP mask must be worn every night. But a lot of patients have difficulty with CPAP. As many as four in five patients either use their CPAP incorrectly or stop wearing it altogether.
Oral Appliances: Small, Quiet & Easy-to-Use
Many of our Portland-area patients find relief using an oral appliance. This small device works by gently shifting your jaw forward to keep the airway open while you sleep.
Oral appliances go by several names, including mandibular advancement appliances, snore guards, or mouthpieces. Whatever you want to call it, this affordable device is custom-made to fit comfortably in your mouth.
Unlike CPAP, an oral appliance is silent, inconspicuous, and completely portable. It’s an effective alternative to CPAP for patients who want a more convenient solution for sleep apnea. And even if you don’t suffer from sleep apnea, an oral appliance can also be used to treat snoring.
Additional Strategies to Relieve Sleep Apnea
There are some minor lifestyle changes to help ease the effects of sleep apnea. For instance, positional therapy is used to discourage patients from sleeping on their back, the position where sleep apnea episodes are most likely to occur. And throat exercises can alleviate the effects of sleep apnea by strengthening the muscles along the airway.
There are also behavioral changes that can help reduce the severity of sleep apnea symptoms including losing weight, quitting smoking, and reducing drug and alcohol consumption.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is CPAP?
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure and this type of machine is commonly prescribed to treat sleep apnea. You’ll wear a mask over your mouth and nose that’s connected to the CPAP machine. Through this mask, air will be pushed into your throat to keep your airway from collapsing while you’re asleep.
Is there an alternative to a CPAP machine for sleep apnea?
Yes, oral appliances are a viable alternative to CPAP machines for many people. Oral appliances can be just as effective as CPAP for sleep apnea and they can also help stop snoring.
These devices are smaller and they’re created custom for your mouth, so they’re more comfortable. Oral appliances are easier to travel with and they won’t take up much room in your luggage or your bedroom.
Can sleep apnea be cured naturally?
Sleep apnea is often treated, not cured. While it may be possible for some people to cure their sleep apnea through weight loss or surgery, most treatments won’t cure the condition. But professional treatment aided by positive lifestyle changes can greatly improve your life and help you avoid serious health conditions.
Your Free Consultation With Dr. Brown
When left untreated, sleep apnea takes a heavy toll on your overall well-being. It’s important to seek immediate treatment to prevent serious complications. Dr. Brown takes the time to listen to your concerns so she can find the perfect treatment to relieve your symptoms.
If you have questions about our sleep apnea care, contact our office at (503) 427-9587. We’ll be happy to address any questions you may have. Or just fill out the easy contact form at the bottom of the page, and we’ll get right back to you.
We can also schedule your free consultation with Dr. Brown if you wish.