Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by the repeated stopping and starting of breathing while sleeping. Statistics put the number of Americans suffering from this severe condition at well over 18 million.
Perhaps the most worrying trend is that up to 80% of the people affected by sleep apnea are yet to be diagnosed!
Most cases of sleep apnea are managed through the CPAP machine.
CPAP is an acronym for Continuous Positive-Airway Pressure, and the machine is used in cases where the airways relax during sleep.
One of the reasons why researchers recommend sleep apnea cures without a CPAP is due to the associated side effects as a result of the machine. Some of these side effects include bloating, itching and irritation, nasal congestion, headaches, and chronic fatigue.
Due to the potential side effects of using a CPAP machine, the primary reason why sleep apnea treatment alternatives are advised is due to the invasive nature of the machine.
In this article, we will discuss some of the common alternatives to CPAP machine treatment for sleep apnea, so that you can determine what might work best for your case!
Sleep Apnea Treatment Alternatives
One of the best sleep apnea alternatives is the use of oral appliance therapy. This non-invasive option to using a CPAP machine is recommended because it prevents your tongue and the soft tissues located at the back of your throat from collapsing.
How does it achieve this?
Basically, during treatment therapies, your jaw remains firm and is firmly supported in the right position (which is the forward position). This way, your airway does not close even while you are asleep!
Oral appliance is recommended for sleep apnea patients with mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
Just like Oral Appliances, Palate Coblation is also a minimally-invasive sleep apnea
treatment without CPAP option. In this option, radio frequency energy is used to make the soft palate “stiffer.” This way, the symptoms of sleep apnea and snoring are significantly reduced.
Your therapist will administer local anesthesia on you before the procedure can begin.
One major advantages of this procedure is that it saves time, as it takes less than half an hour. Additionally, it does not disrupt your schedule and diet as you can typically resume your normal diet and get back to your routine on the same day of the treatment.
Within a few weeks of the treatment, your snoring intensity should be significantly reduced!
Radiofrequency-Ablation of the tongue this is yet another option that can be used to manage sleep apnea without CPAP. In this technique used, radiofrequency energy is used to tighten as well as shrink the base of your tongue in a bid to manage sleep apnea symptoms.
As a result of the diminished size of your tongue, it will not block your airways while you sleep
The therapist will direct small quantities of radiofrequency energy towards the back of your tongue by use of a non-invasive device. However, before you opt for this process as an alternative to sleep apnea treatment without CPAP, you should remember its success is hinged on patience as it requires multiple procedures.
However, as time goes by, your airways will become enlarged and your tongue will no longer interfere with airflow while you’re asleep.
Considered one of the best alternative treatments for sleep apnea, Balloon Sinuplasty works by opening blockages in your sinus cavities. Balloon Sinuplasty also relieves pain and pressure caused as a result of chronic sinusitis.
It is especially recommended for sleep apnea conditions that are associated with the chronic inflammation of the lining on your sinus glands.
In such conditions, this sleep apnea alternative works by unblocking the sinus cavities and restoring normal nasal drainage.
This ensures normal function of your sinus and nasal cavities during sleep.
Furthermore, just like the Palate Coblation® option, Balloon Sinuplasty is a procedure that is normally completed in 30 minutes, and you can typically resume your activities on the same day.
Sleep Apnea Masks:
Last but not least, we have lots of sleep apnea mask options. Using a sleep apnea mask is one of the easiest ways of managing sleep apnea condition, as all you have to do is wear a mask before going to sleep.
The mask facilitates uninterrupted breathing.
Remember to choose the CPAP mask to according your sleep side because there CPAP mask for side and stomach sleepers.
However, before you choose a CPAP mask alternative, it is important to remember that 46 to 83 percent of all patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea do not wear the masks diligently. Also, finding a mask that perfectly fits you may prove quite daunting.
More Research On Sleep Apnea Alternatives
Researchers are constantly working to come up with better treatment options for sleep apnea. Some of these alternatives are already out and waiting for approval by the FDA, while others are still being experimented.
Regardless of what they target, these new methods are expected to come with less discomfort, faster recovery time and minimal invasiveness.
It is also important to mention that regardless of the main alternatives to using a CPAP machine, the machine remains one of the most popular options for managing sleep apnea because it works on nearly all patients regardless of the target areas or the severity of their condition.
All in all, the question as to what the best treatment option for sleep apnea is, squarely rests with your doctor.