If you struggle with snoring or breathing issues during sleep, you are not alone. Out of 326 million people in the US, 10% have obstructive sleep apnea. (1) With more than 8 million CPAP users in the US, CPAP remains a popular choice to treat obstructive sleep apnea. However, using an unwieldy and loud machine every night can also cause loss of sleep. These days there are other solutions for your obstructive sleep apnea and snoring issues. Let’s look at treatment solution alternatives to CPAP machines.
When Can I Stop Using My CPAP?
CPAP machines may soon be a thing of the past. With the many recalled machines this past year, some users may be losing trust in these machines and looking for other answers. Many individuals struggle to get comfortable with the CPAP headgear and mask. Some feel claustrophobic or struggle with anxiety because of the positive air pressure. And the noise it makes keeps others awake.
If you struggle with obstructive sleep apnea but don’t use appropriate therapy to treat your sleep disorder, you risk major health issues. According to Sleep Apnea Statistics, untreated obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of:
- Heart failure by 140%
- Stroke by 60%
- Coronary heart disease by 30% (1)
New Treatment Solutions
It is essential to see an ENT doctor to diagnose a sleep disorder. You can walk around daily without realizing that you suffer from a sleep disorder. You can face unresolved health issues from the lack of sleep and have no idea that if you slept better, you would feel better. Many therapies for obstructive sleep apnea use corrective surgery techniques to help you sleep well again.
- Positional Therapy: Sometimes, a simple solution is the best. Obstructive sleep apnea may get better when you sleep on your side. Sleeping on your side helps keep your airway open. Check with your doctor if this solution may work best for you.
- With 42.4% of Americans obese, there is a good chance that extra fat tissue could contribute to your obstructive sleep apnea. Excess weight contributes to more fatty tissues around the throat and the base of the tongue. (1) One common but overlooked solution may be to see your doctor for medical weight loss solutions or bariatric surgery.
- A mouth device (mandibular advancement appliance) works by moving the jaw and tongue forward, preventing the tongue from blocking the airway. These devices can work well, but they are not for everyone.
- Inspire Therapy: If your ENT doctor diagnoses you with a backward collapse of the tongue, a hypoglossal nerve stimulator may help. Inspire is the only FDA-approved obstructive sleep apnea treatment that works inside your body to treat the root cause of sleep apnea with just the click of a button. Implanted during a short outpatient procedure, Inspire monitors your breathing while you sleep and delivers mild stimulation to key airway muscles. This stimulation gently moves the tongue and other soft tissues out of the airway to enable breathing during sleep.
- Avoid alcohol or medications, such as sedatives, sleeping pills, and some antihistamines. They may relax your throat muscles more than usual causing or worsening blockage, snoring, and apnea.
Other Popular Solutions
According to the University of Michigan, there are many alternatives to CPAP for treating obstructive sleep apnea, including:
- If you have enlarged tonsils and adenoids, surgical removal can prevent their contribution to airway obstruction and snoring. Tonsils sit behind your palate and tongue and often contribute to obstructive sleep apnea when they are oversized.
- If you possess a long palate, a surgical procedure known as a uvulectomy may shorten your palate by removing excess tissue in your soft palate. This procedure widens the airway and allows air to move through the throat more easily. A uvulectomy may reduce snoring and decrease levels of obstructive sleep apnea.
- If your airway collapses behind your tongue, a GGA (genioglossus advancement) surgical procedure moves a portion of the chin bone forward. Moving the bone forward pulls the base of the tongue muscles forward to increase airway size.
- If you’ve inherited a shortened upper or lower jawbone, an MMA surgery (maxillomandibular advancement) lengthens and moves forward the upper jaw (maxilla) and the lower jaw (mandible). This surgery is more of a last resort for those with severe obstructive sleep apnea.
- If your jawbones are narrow, a surgical procedure and orthodontic therapy may widen them. An MME (maxillomandibular expansion) uses orthodontic appliances and surgery to expand the jawbones. This therapy enlarges the airway and increases the space available for the tongue.
- When your tongue is abnormally enlarged, tongue reduction surgery may be helpful. Reducing the size of a person’s tongue may cause the airway to collapse less, thus improving airflow and breathing.
Finding YOUR Solution
With so many possible treatment options, there is a way to sleep well again. Seeing your ENT doctor can answer why you don’t wake up feeling refreshed each morning. Using various diagnostic techniques, your doctor can help you find the culprit behind your obstructive sleep apnea so that your life is full of energy once again.
We Can Help
Get in touch with the ENT sleep specialists at Enticare to start finding your life again. We understand how much a lack of sleep can contribute to your overall state of health. Our clinics stay on the cutting edge of techniques for sleep apnea, with experienced ENT doctors ready to help you thrive. Let us get you onto the path to feeling good again. Contact us today and find out how we can help you.