Sleep apnea can be a burden for you. It can make you live under the constant fear of messing with your breathing while you sleep. But the good news is that you can treat obstructive apnoea with CPAP. However, this treatment does not work well for everybody. In that case, CPAP alternatives can be your saviour.
We’ll acquaint you with alternative treatment options that will allow you to lead a normal life. But first, let us tell you more about sleep apnea.
A] What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that leaves you with an affected breathing pattern. This disorder results from the partial or complete blockage of the airway while one is sleeping.
The soft tissue in the back of the throat of people with sleep apnea relaxes as they sleep. This tissue can block the airway and one might end up waking up often in the middle of the sleep schedule.
B] Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea
Watch out for the below-mentioned symptoms of sleep apnea.
● Waking up often while sleeping.
● Gasping for breath.
It is important to treat this condition when you start experiencing these symptoms. Sleep apnea not only interferes with your breathing patterns, but it can also expose you to several health issues. For instance, you might develop a problem of chronic high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke or heart attack.
C] How To Treat Sleep Apnea?
The most common treatment plan for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). The CPAP machine comes with a mask that the patients put over the nose, mouth, or both while they sleep. The machine then pushes the air through the mask so that your airway does not collapse while you sleep.
But most patients find it difficult to sleep with the mask on. Another reason why the CPAP machine lacks efficacy is that it is uncomfortable and noisy. That’s why most people give up on this treatment option before it even starts to show results.
Thankfully, there are other treatment options that work wonders in treating sleep apnea. Let’s explore them.
D] Alternative Treatment Options For Sleep Apnea
Here are some treatment options other than CPAP that you can try!
1. Lifestyle Changes
Making a few lifestyle changes can turn your life around for good. When you incorporate a few changes, you’ll also experience a positive approach toward life apart from helping you treat your breathing disorder.
The below-mentioned lifestyle changes will allow you to make your sleep apnea symptoms less intense.
● Weight Management - The onset of sleep apnea usually begins with obesity. As you put on more weight, your breathing patterns get affected. If you’re experiencing severe breathing disorders while sleeping, it is best to focus on shedding some pounds.
● Positional Therapy - Sleep apnea can be intense in particular positions. So, you can opt for positional therapy to lessen its effect. For instance, sleeping on your side instead of your back may help reduce your breathing disorder.
● Reduce Your Alcohol Intake: Avoid consuming alcohol before your bedtime. It will reduce the muscle relaxation in the airway during your sleep and decrease the likelihood of sleep apnea events.
● Quit Smoking: Smoking can affect your upper airway by increasing inflammation and fluid retention. It can worsen your sleep apnea. Consider quitting smoking to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea.
2. Oral Appliances
Oral appliances, also known as mandibular advancement devices (MADs) are another easy treatment option for sleep apnea. These devices are non-invasive. You can easily place them on the lower jaw and tongue to keep the airway open during sleep.
While choosing this as your treatment option, you should opt for the custom MADs for an effective treatment. An orthodontist or a dentist might be able to supply you with a custom-fitted device. These devices are more comfortable than CPAP machines, making them a better treatment option.
3. Upper Airway Stimulation (UAS) Therapy
This therapy involves a surgery through which your medical practitioner implants a device on the right side of the neck and chest wall. This device monitors your breathing patterns while you sleep.
When it detects any apnea event, the device stimulates the hypoglossal nerve to move the tongue and open the airway. UAS therapy is a highly effective alternative for individuals with moderate to severe sleep apnea.
This therapy is the best for people who do not respond well to the CPAP machine. However, it requires surgery. So, make sure that you consult a sleep expert so that he can determine whether you are eligible for this surgery.
4. Positional Therapy Devices
For some individuals, sleep apnea is only positional. It means that they experience breathing disorders only when they sleep in specific positions, such as on the back.
Such people can opt for positional therapy devices to make the breathing issues go away. Positional pillows or wearable devices can encourage individuals to sleep in positions that reduce apnea events.
These devices may provide relief for mild to moderate positional sleep apnea that does not require any invasive treatment.
5. Acupuncture and Yoga
Acupuncture and yoga are complementary therapies that are also effective in treating sleep apnea. The research on their efficacy is ongoing. However many people who have opted for these therapies have reported improvements in sleep quality. They’ve also witnessed a reduction in apnea events after incorporating yogic practices into their daily routines.
These practices can not only treat apnea but also change your life for good. Acupuncture and yoga can help you feel relaxed, and stress-free and improve your health. Here are the tips and benefits of yoga for beginners.
CPAP therapy is the best and the standard for treating sleep apnea. However, it is not the only option available since most people find this treatment plan highly uncomfortable.
These alternative treatment options for breathing disorders can provide relief for individuals who are unable or unwilling to use CPAP machines. All these treatment plans are easy to incorporate and make your life easier.
But before you opt for any treatment, you must consult a physician expert in treating sleep apnea. He might help assess the intensity of your apnea and suggest the best option based on your individual preferences.