Sleep Apnea Remedies – Are There CPAP Alternatives?

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Sleep Apnea Remedies – Are There CPAP Alternatives?

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder found in a large part of the US population, and is said to affect around 18 million people. CPAP (constant positive airway pressure) is a treatment that is regularly used to manage the disorder. The CPAP system makes use of a small air compressor to provide a constant, pressurised airflow to the sufferers airway. This helps lessen the sleep apnea symptoms.

The cpap therapy works by providing a pressurised airflow to the airway, reducing the chances of a apnea episode occurring by the soft tissues of the throat and soft palate collapsing and causing an obstruction. The pressurised mask can sometimes make exhalation a little uncomfortable, and some patients report headaches and throat soreness when using the treatment. There are however, many cpap alternatives, and we will take a look at some alternative solutions that may be of use to the sleep apnea patient.

One of the most simple alternatives to cpap is the use of positional therapy as a non-invasive treatment. This is simply the act of changing the sleeping position of the sufferer to provide relief. There are a number of products that can help, from foam wedges, to special pillows and shirts that adjust the position that the sufferer can sleep in.

Gravity is the enemy during apnea episodes, when the soft tissues of the throat block the airway. By inclining the body a little, the tissues are less likely to obstruct the airway and the patient will sleep more soundly. This type of positional therapy is generally used effectively for obstructive sleep apnea. The Central sleep apnea form of the condition needs to be treated differently, as it occurs for different reasons. Positional therapy, although not effective on it’s own for central sleep apnea, can be useful if used in conjunction with other treatments.

Another useful alternative to cpap therapy is bipap treatment. Not dissimilar to CPAP, BiPAP (BiLevel Positive Airway Pressure) also offers a positive airway pressure to the apnea patient. BiPAP does however offer a difference. When the patient exhales, the positive airflow is decreased, allowing the person to breathe more easily. So BiPAP can treat both central and obstructive apnea forms but is considered by many patients a far more comfortable system than the CPAP one. Exhalation is easier and less uncomfortable. Both these therapies are ineffective for treating complex sleep apnea, a more complicated version of the disorder.

There is yet another treatment that is similar to BiPAP. This is called ASV (Adaptive Servo-Ventilation) therapy. Currently in it’s experimental stages ASV (Adaptive Servo-Ventilation) sleep apnea treatment is providing good results for complex sleep apnea sufferers. There is FDA approval for this therapy, but the scientific results were not widely published which kept the treatment on an experimental footing.

There are other alternatives to CPAP, such as surgery, but the treatments listed above offer great relief to many sufferers, with reduced side effects. Speak with you physician to try to find the best solution for you.

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