Masks: They Are A Love-Hate Relationship
Almost all sleep apnea sufferers are familiar with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines, and their corresponding masks. Millions of Americans are dealing with sleep apnea, and CPAP therapy is the most frequently prescribed treatment for the disorder.
CPAP machines help people with obstructive sleep apnea to sleep better by increasing air pressure in the throat so that the airway does not collapse while breathing. The therapy is very effective and helps compliant patients to sleep more soundly.
Unfortunately, compliance with CPAP therapy is low. In fact, up to 83% of sleep apnea patients are non-compliant. Many sufferers have developed a love/hate relationship with the CPAP mask. The treatment helps, but dealing with bulky equipment is not worth the hassle. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to significant health issues, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and increased accident risk. The good news is, there are several ways to make sleeping with your mask easier, along with a host of CPAP alternatives.
Compliance Tips and Tricks
- Try a full-face mask. You might be waking up due to a lost seal when your mouth opens. Though smaller masks might seem more appealing, they are not always the most comfortable.
- If drooling is a problem for you, try stuffing some tissue into the bottom of your mask. It should be placed below the hose intake, so you don’t block your airflow. The tissue will collect moisture and keep it from irritating you.
- Invest in mask liners, which can greatly increase your comfort level. Liners keep the silicon off your face so that oil does not build up, causing itching. This will also help with drooling.
- Find a sleep doctor who will thoroughly review your sleep data with you. If you are not compliant, you should speak to an ENT specialist. Your treatment provider should discuss your options and the alternative treatments with you to ensure that you are consistently treated.
- Talk to a board certified otolaryngologist (ENT doctor) to determine if you are having problems breathing out of your nose. Simple surgery can often correct issues, making compliance easier.
Alternative Treatments for Sleep Apnea
If CPAP treatment has become intolerable, it might be time to seek out an alternative treatment. The first step is to speak to a doctor about your options. Based on your diagnosis, there are permanent and long-term alternatives.
Your individual sleep apnea treatment options will be based on the source of your airway obstruction. A variety of alternatives should be considered, from in-office procedures to oral appliances to minor surgery. Many minimally invasive procedures take 30 minutes or less and can be performed in an office or outpatient setting.
For those not yet ready to try a medical treatment, an oral appliance might be the right alternative. Over time most patients tolerate these devices well and experience notable improvements in sleep apnea symptoms. Another benefit to this non-surgical treatment is that it is effective, right away.
If you are looking for a minimally-invasive CPAP alternative for your sleep apnea that does not require you to rely on equipment or devices, balloon sinuplasty, Palate Cobulation or laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty might be viable alternatives. There are multiple procedures that can provide amazing results. The most important consideration, when deciding on a treatment, is that it is customized to your unique condition.
If you are struggling with CPAP compliance, contact the specialists at eos sleep. Our team of board certified otolaryngologists will consult with you, discuss all of your available options and develop a personalized treatment plan. Don’t expose yourself to the continual risks of untreated sleep apnea. Find your permanent sleep apnea solution and start sleeping better.