CPAP Alternatives

Alternative Sleep Apnea Treatment in New Jersey

If you don’t want to wear a CPAP mask, then one of our qualified sleep doctors can recommend alternative sleep apnea treatment options.  Sleep Apnea is a serious sleep disorder that requires professional medical attention when diagnosed. CPAP Therapy is one of the most common treatment methods sleep physicians recommend to those who have sleep apnea. But what if you are not compliant with CPAP therapy?

The good news is that there are several alternative sleep apnea treatment options available to those who want to avoid wearing a mask as much as possible.

1. Wear An Oral/Dental Appliance Instead

oral appliance sleep apnea

Dental and oral appliances have emerged as a popular option for sleep apnea. Patients who prefer to wear an oral device instead of wearing a CPAP mask have become increasingly comfortable with this treatment option.

How It Works

A dentist at Sleep Dynamics would create a custom Oral Appliance to prevent the airway from collapsing by holding the tongue in position or by sliding the jaw forward so that you can breathe while you sleep.

Who Is It For?

Oral appliance therapy is recommended for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea who cannot tolerate CPAP.

2. Surgery for Sleep Apnea

How It Works

The most common options reduce or eliminate the extra tissue in your throat that collapses and blocks your airway during sleep. Keep in mind that while some surgeries may be minimally invasive, others can be more complex. But generally undergoing surgery to treat sleep apnea means surgery in one of the following areas:

  • Soft palate and uvula
  • Tonsils and adenoids
  • Tongue
  • Upper and lower jaw

If you are considering surgery to treat sleep apnea, you need to ask the following questions:

  • What is the success rate of the surgery?
  • How will this procedure improve my snoring or sleep apnea?
  • Why is surgery a better option for me than CPAP or oral appliance therapy?
  • What are all of the possible risks and side effects?

Surgery is not the right choice for everyone. Some people may benefit more from surgery than others. Negative aspects of surgery may include:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding and throat swelling
  • Jaws wired shut for several days and a limited diet for several weeks
  • Overnight hospital stay

In many cases, the benefits may not be permanent. Sleep apnea may reoccur at a later time for some patients.

Sleep Apnea Surgery

Who Is It For?

Surgical therapies are not as effective in treating sleep apnea as CPAP and oral appliances. There are a variety of surgical options that may work if CPAP or oral appliance therapy do not.

3. Undergoing a Weight Management Program

person on scale

In some cases, weight loss can help improve or eliminate your sleep apnea symptoms if you are overweight or obese.  Overweight people often have thick necks with extra tissue in the throat that may block the airway.

Who Is It For?

This is for people who are overweight and are physically able to engage in a weight management program. There is no guarantee that losing weight will eliminate sleep apnea, though it may help.

What to Keep In Mind

This approach is unlikely to make a difference in patients with a narrow nasal passage or airway. Please consult with one of our sleep physician to determine the best course of treatment.

4. Positional Therapy

What is positional therapy?

positional therapy

Positional therapy is a behavioral strategy to treat positional sleep apnea. Some people have sleep apnea primarily when sleeping on their back. This is called the “supine” position. Their breathing returns to normal when they sleep on their side. Positional therapy may involve wearing a special device around your waist or back. It keeps you sleeping in the side position.

Who Is It For?

In a clinical study published in 2012, scientists tested the long term efficacy of this therapy and found that positional therapy can be an effective form of treatment. They tested patients with “positional OSA who refused or could not tolerate continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).”

5. Consider Changing Some of Your Everyday Habits

There are a variety of lifestyle changes that you can make to help reduce snoring and improve sleep apnea symptoms. Behavioral changes such as quitting smoking or not drinking alcohol may improve sleep apnea symptoms. Alcohol relaxes your throat muscles which can cause you to snore or your airway to collapse. If you have allergies, taking a decongestant before going to bed may help improve airflow through your nose.

If you have difficulty staying with a treatment plan or cannot sleep well even with treatment, you may be a candidate for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Sleep Dynamics has a qualified sleep Psychologist on staff who can help eliminate the thoughts and behaviors that may be preventing you from getting restful sleep or complying with treatment.

Key Takeaways:

  • If you don’t want to wear a CPAP mask, then you can try alternative sleep apnea treatment options.
  • Five alternative sleep apnea treatment options include:
    • Wearing an oral/dental appliance to help prevent the airway from collapsing.
    • Getting surgery to potentially reduce or eliminate the extra tissue in the throat.
    • Undergoing a weight management program to potentially improve or eliminate sleep apnea symptoms.
    • Partaking in positional therapy to treat positional sleep apnea.
    • Considering changing some everyday habits, such as negative behavioral actions.

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