Are there Alternatives to CPAP?
There are several alternative options to CPAP therapy. If you have taken a sleep study which has confirmed your diagnosis of OSA, then these are alternative treatment options to consider!
The most common form of treatment for patients with sleep apnea is CPAP therapy, and it is usually the most effective form of treatment. It has been effective in helping many people regain a desired amount of quality sleep through positive airway pressure, ensuring that your airways are kept open throughout the night so that you can easily breathe.
However, you might be interested in alternatives to CPAP therapy as to obtain a CPAP machine, you are required to conduct a sleep study first, to confirm the diagnosis of sleep apnea.
I have already conducted a sleep study and confirmed a mild to moderate diagnosis of sleep apnoea. I’d like to know my options and consider less invasive options too, as well as CPAP therapy.
Oral Appliance Therapy
A portable mandibular advancement such as the Somnofit is a great option for snorers and mild OSA sufferers. Somnofit devices offer an affordable treatment option and less-invasive method of treatment.
Dental appliance such as the Somnofit treat snoring and mild sleep apnoea by moving the tongue and lower jaw forward. This ensures that the airway is kept open, making it easier for you to breathe.
Somnofit devices consist of two oral mouldings; for both jaws. Both of the mouldings are heated in warm water to soften the moulding material (thermoforming). You will then insert one moulding into your upper jaw, and one onto your lower jaw, in order to shape the device to your mouth.
Two mouldings are connected together by a supple strap, which ensures that they are as aligned as needs to be, in order to prevent any obstructions to your breathing.
Somnofit is a great device proven to treat snoring and teeth grinding. Somnofit only takes a few minutes to mould for your personalised use, making it a convenient, less invasive and affordable option.
I have taken a Multi-Channel Sleep Study and it confirmed my diagnosis of OSA, but it also suggested that most of my apneas occurred when I was sleeping on my back. What treatment might be suitable for me?
Positional therapy is an alternative option to CPAP therapy, that you might like to consider if you have taken a Multi-Channel Sleep Study, and results suggested that your apneas mainly occurred when you was sleeping on your back.
Symptoms of sleep apnea are found to be greater in patients who sleep on their back.
Positional therapy is a behavioural strategy to treat positional sleep apnea. It involves wearing a special device around your waist or back, which ensures you keep asleep on your side rather than your back.
Another positional therapy option consists of a small device, placed on the back of your neck, which uses “vibro-tactile feedback” technology. When you start to sleep on your back and pressure is applied, then it sends out small vibrations to alert your body to change position, usually without awakening you.
You can either use positional therapy as your main form of treatment, or combine it with another sleep apnea treatment.
I have confirmed my diagnosis of OSA, but I have had little luck with all other treatment options. I’ve heard there are surgical processes to treat sleep apnoea. What does surgery involve?
If you have tried all other options and really cannot adjust to CPAP therapy, a mandibular advancement or lifestyle changes, then you might want to talk to your GP about surgical processes to treat sleep apnoea.
Surgery is not normally advised unless you have tried all other routes, as the success rate of surgery is between 50 to 60 percent, and no procedure is guaranteed to be 100 percent successful. Although surgery may look like an attractive option, it is also a drastic solution which comes with a number of risks involved. Compared to the small benefit you gain in the short term, CPAP therapy is the most recommended form of treatment as although you have to maintain the therapy daily, it is more effective in treating OSA.
Uvulopalatopharyngoplast, also known as UPPP, is the most common surgical procedure used to treat OSA. The procedure involves attempting to increase the width of the airway and improve the movement and closure of the soft palate. Excess tissue is removed which may include the uvula, the soft palate, tonsils and adenoids. The removed tissue reinforces the area to keep it open and unobstructed.
UPPP is one of the most painful surgical procedures for treating OSA, with the possibility of complications during the surgery. Complications during surgery could involve accidental damage to the surrounding blood vessels or tissues. There is also a chance of complications after having surgery. Complications after UPPP involve swelling, pain, infection, bleeding, as well as having a sore throat and trouble swallowing.
CPAP treatment is a far more effective treatment that can prevent the symptoms of OSA, although you are required to use the CPAP machine every night for the best possible treatment. CPAP can also be operative in preventing serious health risks, improving your quality of sleep and relieving sleep apnea symptoms, such as excessive daytime sleepiness or choking in sleep.
Are there any lifestyle changes I could enforce in order to treat my sleep apnoea symptoms?
There are a variety of lifestyle changes that you can enforce in order to help reduce your sleep apnoea symptoms as listed below.