Do you suffer from sleep apnea? Are you wondering what other options are available to you besides the CPAP mask? We have compiled a list of alternative treatment options for sleep apnea.
Oral and dental appliances have become an increasingly more popular choice for sleep apnea treatment. Once you have gotten used to wearing an oral or dental appliance, they have been described as being much more comfortable than having to wear a CPAP mask. Oral and dental appliances work by either sliding the jaw forward or by holding the tongue into position. This helps to prevent the airway from collapsing.
In some cases, there are cases of sleep apnea that cannot be treated with CPAP masks or oral and dental appliances. In these cases, surgery may be the best option. Surgery for sleep apnea usually includes a procedure that corrects one of these four things: soft palate and uvula, upper and lower jaw, tongue, or tonsils and adenoids. Surgery is usually not as effective as the CPAP mask or dental/oral appliances, so it is best to go this route only if you have to. Sleep apnea surgery often means pain, bleeding and throat swelling, and having the jaws wired shut for up to several days. Effects of sleep apnea are also not always permanent.
Those who are overweight often have thick necks that consist of extra tissue. This extra tissue can cause the airway to become blocked. In many cases, joining a weight management program can help treat sleep apnea. However, weight loss will not help those who have a narrow nasal passage or airway.
Positional therapy is more of a behavior adjustment. Many people experience sleep apnea when they are positioned flat on their back. Choosing to sleep on your side may help you to breathe as you normally would if you were awake. Special devices can be worn around the waist or back to help maintain this sleeping position.
Lifestyle changes may also be a good solution for sleep apnea. For instance, smoking and drinking have been linked to making sleep apnea more severe. Alcohol will actually relax the muscles of the throat, which allows it to collapse more easily. Taking a decongestant before be may also be helpful.