August 2, 2014

Sleep Apnea Treatments

For mild and some moderate cases of sleep apnea, doctors may recommend only lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or quitting smoking if applicable. Another suggestion may be be using supports to help you sleep in your side. If these suggestions don't improve your signs and symptoms then you may be required to use the equipment for moderate to severe sleep apnea. As a last resort, you will be assessed for different types of surgery.

Treatments for moderate to severe sleep apnea include:
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). If you have moderate to severe sleep apnea, you may benefit from a machine that delivers air pressure through a mask placed over your nose while you sleep. With CPAP (SEE-pap), the air pressure is somewhat greater than that of the surrounding air, and is just enough to keep your upper airway passages open, preventing apnea and snoring.

Although CPAP is the most common and reliable method of treating sleep apnea, some people find it cumbersome or uncomfortable. Many people give up on CPAP, but with some practice, most people learn to adjust the tension of the straps to obtain a comfortable and secure fit. You may need to try more than one type of mask to find one that's comfortable. Some people benefit from also using a humidifier along with their CPAP system. Also see my blog here for an accessory that will help prevent air leaks and allow for slightly less strap tension.

Don't just stop using the CPAP machine if you experience problems. Check with your doctor to see what modifications can be made to make you more comfortable. Additionally, contact your doctor if you are still snoring despite treatment or begin snoring again. If your weight changes, the pressure settings may need to be adjusted.
There are other equipment options.

Adjustable airway pressure devices. If CPAP continues to be a problem for you, you may be able to use a different type of airway pressure device that automatically adjusts the pressure while you're sleeping. For example, units that supply bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP BiPAP) are available. These provide more pressure when you inhale and less when you exhale.

The other types of positive airway pressure machines are:
CPAP – Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
APAP – Auto Adjust Positive Airway Pressure
BiPAP – Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure
VPAP – Variable Positive Airway Pressure
Auto-titrating Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

Expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP). This is the most recent treatment approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These small, single-use devices are placed over each nostril before you go to sleep. The device is a valve that allows air to move freely in, but when you exhale, air must go through small holes in the valve. This increases pressure in the airway and keeps it open. The device helped reduce snoring and daytime sleepiness when compared to a sham device And, it may be an option for some who can't tolerate CPAP. Read this for further explanation = .

Oral appliances. Another option is wearing an oral appliance designed to keep your throat open. CPAP is more reliably effective than oral appliances, but oral appliances may be easier to use. Some are designed to open your throat by bringing your jaw forward, which can sometimes relieve snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea.

A number of devices are available from your dentist. You may need to try different devices before finding one that works for you. Once you find the right fit, you'll still need to follow up with your dentist at least every six months during the first year and then at least once a year after that to ensure that the fit is still good and to reassess your signs and symptoms.

One option not found in any of the medical articles is this device. Now that you have digested all of this, consider if you want a mask and check out this site. This needs to be considered by some people. Not everything works for every person. There could be medical reasons making this more important than the masks.

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