For many, sleep apnea used to be viewed as a mere annoyance, but in the last several years it has become clear that it’s also life threatening. Sleep apnea affects approximately ten percent of Americans and is commonly left undiagnosed in as many as five percent of people affected with this condition. An undiagnosed case of sleep apnea can also lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart attacks and strokes.
CPAP Alternatives That Work
Sleep apnea is usually caused by a crowded upper airway, weakened muscles around the throat or weight gain. Waking up will activate the body’s fight or flight response, which will cause hormone secretions and heart rate and blood pressure to climb. This type of repeated activation will significantly stress the heart. Until recently, the only treatment available that had a reputation for being effective involved throat surgery or using the CPAP machine. Many patients will initially try CPAP therapy for two to three months before they give up using it because they can’t stand it. Patients have complained because the machine is noisy and wearing the mask can often make a person feel claustrophobic. CPAP therapy is the standard treatment for sleep apena but it commonly fails because it causes the patient discomfort. Now, there are some new and safe CPAP alternatives that are designed to help you to rest comfortably. As many as eighty percent of patients who say they use CPAP therapy don’t use it as often as they should. Some private insurance companies have stopped paying for CPAP therapy after three months if data indicates that a patient isn’t using it. Fortunately, there are several popular treatments, such as provent, the Winx sleep and inspire medical systems that can replace the need for CPAP therapy and help you to breathe better at night.
Provent sleep apena therapy involves band aids that will fit over each nostril, with a valve in the middle that will work to create pressure in the airways allowing them to remain open. A thirty day supply will cost around seventy dollars.
The Winx sleep therapy system consists of a small mouthpiece that rests inside the user’s mouth, creating suction that will open the throat. This machine has a cost of around six-hundred dollars and is similar to a CPAP machine.
Inspire Medical Systems is currently awaiting approval from the FDA for their Inspire Upper Airway Stimulation, which will utilize a pacemaker device to stimulate the branch nerves that control the tongue muscles.
What you can do to treat Sleep Apnea
On the low tech end for people who suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea, the adjustable dental appliance will help to keep the lower jaw forward and up, keeping the airway open.
One of the best CPAP alternative treatment options is weight loss, which can help in such cases where obesity is a factor. Generally, sleep apnea is vastly undertreated. A physician will usually fail to ask questions that can lead to a diagnosis, or they will not realize that symptoms such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity might be related to sleep apnea.
Research has not yet proven that any treatment can reverse health consequences. It is clear that having apnea is associated with a variety of poor health outcomes. What’s not clear is whether treating this condition will decrease or eliminate many of these bad outcomes.
Getting effective treatment for sleep apnea can be life changing. You won’t be sluggish and tired all throughout the day and require a nap every afternoon, which means that you will be more productive overall. You’ll experience increased energy and less irritability.
The Common Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Often, a person’s bed partner will notice that their other half is gasping for air or snoring regularly during the night. Feeling overly tired and requiring a nap daily can also be a common sign of apnea. If you are overweight with a large belly and have a neck collar size that’s bigger than sixteen inches for women and seventeen inches for a man then you may be suffering from apnea. The signs of apnea can be different in children who tend to get hyperactive or have issues with learning when they are tired, so they will frequently get misdiagnosed. The signs of central and obstructive sleep apnea will overlap at times making the type of apnea more difficult to determine. Other common symptoms include loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep witnessed by a bed partner, morning headaches, attention problems and sore throat or dry mouth in the morning.
You should consult a medical professional if you experience shortness of breath that awakens you from sleep, disruptive snoring that awakens your bed partner during the night and intermittent pauses in your breathing while sleeping.
Many people do not think of snoring as a sign of a serious condition and not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Be sure to speak with your physician if your partner reports loud, disruptive episodes of snoring, especially if it’s also punctuated by periods of silence.