According to a statistics report from 2018, about 22 million Americans have moderate to severe sleep apnea. At its core, sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts. But do not worry; you have a handful of options if you have sleep apnea.
Some of the sleep apnea treatment options include CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure), Oral Appliances (MADs), and ASV (Adapto Servo Ventilation Machine) therapy.
Wondering what is so different about all these sleep apnea treatment options? Stick around if you want to learn all about them.
Different Options for Treating Sleep Apnea
There are multiple non-invasive treatments available for sleep apnea. And some sleep apnea treatments work so efficiently that you will forget what it was to have obstructive sleep disorders.
1. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
According to the primary care doctor and other health specialists, continuous positive airway pressure is the gold sleep apnea treatment. In fact, it is the first treatment that is offered to patients with OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea).
CPAP therapy works for all, whether you are diagnosed with severe or moderate sleep apnea.
At its core, the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment involves a CPAP machine and CPAP mask. The CPAP machines will need power through the outlet and are positioned next to the bed. Patients with obstructive sleep disorders will wear the CPAP mask when sleeping.
The CPAP mask is a nasal mask covering the patient’s nose and mouth. There are CPAP machines that come with a different CPAP mask that covers the nostrils.
After the mask is worn, the CPAP machine will blow air directly into the sleeper’s airway. This blowing from the CPAP machine lowers the chances of the airway closing when the patient is sleeping.
Sometimes, the CPAP machine will also offer oxygen. This combination is for people with mixed sleep apnea or CSA. However, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is less effective for people with central sleep apnea.
Additionally, the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine must be calibrated continuously for people who can not tolerate CPAP.
2. BiPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure)
CPAP therapy is not for everyone. Many do not find a CPAP machine relaxing as it gives constant pressure all the time. That is where a Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machine steps in.
Like a CPAP machine, the BiPAP machine requires a mask that the patient with obstructive sleep apnea must wear. But unlike CPAP therapy and CPAP machine, the BiPAP machine pushes the air into the airway in specific pressure settings.
That is, the machine will push the air at high pressure and keep the airway open during inhaling. However, it will lower the air pressure during exhaling. This air pressure setting makes treating obstructive sleep apnea a bit more relaxing.
Alongside that, it eliminates the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine’s drawback, which is the patient having trouble while exhaling.
3. ASV (Adapto Servo Ventilation)
People with central sleep apnea do not get many benefits from a CPAP machine. The same is somewhat applicable to BiPAP machines. And that is why most doctors will prescribe ASV for patients with central sleep apnea.
ASV works pretty similarly to the OSA treatment options mentioned above. It utilizes a mask and tube, which push out air to not make the sleeper stop breathing. However, ASV customizes the pressure instead of delivering the air according to breathing patterns. That is where it gets its “Adapto” name.
However, it should be noted that ASV is not a good choice for people with central sleep apnea and more advanced heart failure.
4. APAP (Automatic Positive Airway Pressure)
The automatic positive airway pressure, often called Auto-CPAP, machines have a similar working mechanism to the CPAP machine. It pushes air to keep the airway open. However, unlike a CPAP machine, APAP machines can automatically adjust the pressure of the air that is being released.
This automatic adjustment makes it easier for the patient with obstructive sleep apnea to use the machine. And as it adjusts the pressure by considering the sleep stage, amount of congestion, and sleep position, it can effectively take on obstructive sleep apnea symptoms.
5. Oral Appliances (MADs)
Wearing oral appliances or opting for positional therapy is not everyone’s cup of tea. Well, for them, there are oral appliances that can help to keep the throat open. Some are designed to make the throat muscles relax and effectively relieve mild OSA symptoms.
Furthermore, you have a large number of options for oral appliances. So you can seek the help of your sleep specialist and get one that you are most comfortable with.
6. Treatment of associated medical problems
If obstructive sleep apnea is associated with other medical problems, you can solve the sleep disorder by treating those related issues.
7. Supplemental Oxygen
Supplemental oxygen can help you with obstructive sleep disorder. It is highly effective for people with central sleep apnea. And the good news is that various forms of oxygen are available, which utilize different types of devices. Again, you can consult your sleep specialist to get the right one.
What Other Options Do You Have For Treating Sleep Apnea
Other than the treatment options, you can improve sleep apnea symptoms by making some lifestyle changes. The changes include:
1. Weight loss
Even a slight amount of weight loss will improve the OSA symptoms. In fact, many doctors recommend losing weight before trying out the treatments.
2. Stop drinking alcohol
Alcohol can inhibit weight loss, and, most importantly, it is linked with sleep apnea.
3. Switch Positions When Sleeping
People who sleep on their backs can struggle with sleep apnea. Try positional therapy and switch sleeping positions from time to time.
4. Stop Smoking
Quitting smoking will help you to fight obstructive sleep apnea. Tobacco causes the airways to swell, which worsens sleep apnea.
Nasal surgery, bariatric surgery, tongue reduction surgery, and other invasive treatments are not the only OSA treatment options. As you can see, there are multiple non-invasive sleep apnea treatment options that you can rely on.