As part of your sleep apnea treatment in Denver, you’ve started using a CPAP machine. Unfortunately, you’re having trouble adjusting; the mask is uncomfortable, and the noise from the machine makes it difficult to fall asleep. CPAP therapy is a reliable way to reduce sleep apnea symptoms, but many patients simply have trouble tolerating it. Fortunately, there are these 4 alternatives you can consider instead.
1. Oral Appliance Therapy
Using an oral appliance is typically the first option considered if a patient is looking for CPAP alternatives in Denver. An oral appliance works by either sliding your jaw forward or holding your tongue in place, thus preventing soft oral tissues from blocking your airway. Sleep apnea episodes typically occur when these tissues collapse, so an oral appliance can help address the underlying cause of the disorder.
This treatment in particular has several advantages over CPAP:
- The oral appliance is custom fitted for your mouth, and many patients find that it’s more comfortable than a CPAP mask.
- An oral appliance is easier to transport, making it the more convenient option if you travel a lot.
- In many cases, an oral appliance is more cost-effective, especially if it’s covered by your insurance.
- An oral appliance can protect your teeth from the clenching and grinding that’s often associated with sleep apnea.
2. Weight Management
Sometimes sleep apnea is related to obesity; people who are overweight tend to have thicker necks and extra tissue that could obstruct the airway. By taking steps to lose weight – such as by participating in a weight management program – you may be able to reduce sleep apnea symptoms. Of course, this type of treatment is somewhat situational; it can’t be guaranteed that losing weight will stop sleep apnea altogether.
3. Changing Your Sleeping Position
There are certain cases where a patient might suffer sleep apnea episodes when resting on their backs but can breathe normally if they sleep on their side instead. Thus, changing the position you sleep in could help with your treatment. In some cases, this might involve wearing a special device to keep you from turning over while you’re asleep.
4. Adjusting Everyday Habits
Things you do every day could be contributing to your sleep apnea. For example, drinking too much alcohol can relax your throat muscles and cause the airway to collapse; try to avoid excessive drinking right before bedtime. Also, patients with allergies might find they’ll have an easier time breathing through their nose if they take a decongestant at night.
Some solutions for sleep apnea may be more effective than others; it largely depends on the patient and the ultimate cause of your disordered breathing. Talk to a sleep apnea expert about your symptoms and explore all of your options for getting a good night’s sleep!
About the Author
Dr. Gary M. Radz became interested in oral sleep appliances after using one helped him overcome his own severe sleep apnea. Since then, he has been using these devices to help his patients for the past 7 years and has become the program director of sleep apnea studies at the Rocky Mountain Dental Institute. To schedule an appointment at his practice, Downtown Denver Sleep Solutions, visit his website or call (303) 377-5337.