Treating OSA Without a CPAP: Options
You’ve likely heard of the “gold standard” for sleep apnea treatment, a machine with a running motor, tubing and a face mask called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Luckily, for many sleep apnea sufferers, there are many CPAP alternatives. Let’s begin with a few conservative options.
- Weight Management — Obesity is a contributing factor to sleep apnea. Obesity can contribute to sleep apnea when fat deposits fill throat tissue. Maintaining a healthy weight and diet can help. It is estimated that a 10% weight gain will worsen the apnea-hypopnea index, and a 10% weight loss will decrease the apnea-hypopnea index. Therefore, a healthy lifestyle and diet that encourages weight loss will improve obstructive sleep apnea.
- Nasal Decongestants — Topical nasal decongestants such as oxymetazoline and neosynephrine can temporarily improve nasal swelling when used for no more than 3 to 5 days. (Source: Medicine Net)
- Elevation of the head of the bed — All of the muscles in the body relax during sleep. In people without obstructive sleep apnea, the throat muscles relax but do not block the airways. In patients with obstructive sleep apnea, the airways do become temporarily blocked or narrowed during sleep, reducing air pressure and preventing air from flowing normally into the lungs. Elevating the head of the bed could help to unblock the airways during sleep.
- Avoid Sedatives and Alcohol — Alcohol use may be associated with apnea. Patients diagnosed with sleep apnea are recommended not to drink alcohol before bedtime.
If you’ve tried implementing these conservative treatment options and find you’re still suffering from apneas, there is another way. An effective treatment called COAT (Continuous Open Airway Therapy)® is an option.
COAT uses a “mouth-guard” like device, called a SomnoDent oral device. SomnoDent is a custom-made oral appliance for the treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). SomnoDent is worn during sleep to provide Continuous Open Airway Therapy (COAT) by moving the lower jaw slightly forward. This movement tightens the soft tissue and muscles of the upper airway, which prevents obstructive apneas while you sleep.
Pioneered by dentists, a growing mass of research is proving that oral appliances are an effective CPAP alternative in treating many people with sleep apnea, and that patients are more likely to use oral devices to get a good night’s rest.
What does COAT offer the sleepless snorer?
- Comfort — Sleeping with a CPAP machine can be challenging. According to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), up to 50 percent of sleep apnea patients do not comply with or tolerate CPAP. In fact, 90% of SomnoDent patients report regular use of their device. Oral appliance therapy can help sleep apnea patients ditch the mask. Patients like SomnoDent oral devices because they are comfortable and easy to wear. Plus, they are a more discreet treatment for those who want to change positions during sleep or snuggle their bed partner.
- Quiet — On average, the bed partner of a snorer loses at least an hour of sleep per night, according to a study published by Mayo Clinic Proceedings. A CPAP machine may silence the snoring, but its constantly running motor might not help the bed partner sleep more soundly. Continuous Open Airway Therapy (COAT™) is a quieter option that can minimize the symptoms of sleep apnea, such as loud snoring, without making a peep of its own.
- Low-maintenance — A SomnoDent oral device is easy to care for and easy to travel with. SomnoDent oral devices only need to be cleaned with a SomTab, and all can fit discretely into a custom SomnoMed container, stowed away in your luggage. No hassles through security or with electrical outlets.
- Effective Treatment — Continuous Open Airway Therapy (COAT™) works and leaves patients healthier, rejuvenated and well rested. SomnoDent oral devices are made with high quality materials, manufactured under ISO 13645 standards, and FDA 510(k) cleared. And, for those with a sleep apnea diagnosis, appliances are often covered by medical insurance plans – including Medicare.
- Evidence-based — There are more than 15 clinical publications reporting efficacy, compliance and outcomes data for oral appliances (OA) compared to CPAP and most trials compared CPAP and OA for their ability to reduce AHI.
If you’ve been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea by a board-certified sleep physician and CPAP is not working for you, a custom-fitted oral appliance can be your key to better sleep and better health. If you are interested in finding a SomnoMed preferred dentist in your area, contact us. To learn more information on treating your snoring or mild to moderate sleep apnea download our free eBook.