How Do You Control Sleep Apnea Without A CPAP Machine?

How Do You Control Sleep Apnea Without A CPAP Machine?

Feb 13, 2023

Sleep disorders can seriously threaten your health and overall quality of life. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is among the most common sleep disorders. It occurs when there is a complete or partial airway obstruction during sleep.

Several factors can obstruct the airway. Primarily, it happens when the throat’s soft tissues relax too much during sleep, blocking the airway. Then, the brain wakes the body to open the airway to restart breathing. Since OSA happens during sleep, many people with the disorder never know they have a problem. They usually learn it through their dentist, doctor, or sleep apnea.

Signs and symptoms of OSA to watch out for include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Episodes of stopped breathing during sleep
  • Sudden awakening while chocking and gasping for air
  • Morning headaches
  • Awakening with a sore throat or dry mouth
  • Difficulty concentrating during the day
  • Mood changes such as irritability and depression
  • Waking up many times in the night

Seek sleep apnea treatment near you if you or your partner experience these symptoms. While obstructive sleep apnea doesn’t always result in serious symptoms, chronic OSA can increase your risk of health complications like high blood pressure, decreased libido, coronary artery disease, heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, complications with medicine and surgery, and eye problems like glaucoma.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment

A CPAP machine is the most common treatment option for moderate to severe cases of OSA. The treatment involves wearing a mask connected to the CPAP machine over the mouth and nose. The machine then continuously pushes air through the mask to keep your airways open during sleep. It prevents sleep apnea and improves sleep.

While effective, CPAP machines come with downsides. Most patients complain that the device is uncomfortable, cumbersome, and noisy. If the CPAP machine doesn’t work for you, below are a few treatment options to consider:

  • Exercise

Excessive weight is a key risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea. Being obese or overweight around the neck area can narrow the airway, encouraging sleep apnea. Research has shown that exercise and a proper diet can contribute to significant weight loss and reduce or prevent sleep apnea.

  • Sleep position

Your sleep position can increase your chances of sleep apnea during sleep. For instance, sleeping on your back makes it easier for your tongue and other throat muscles to fall back, blocking the airway and increasing the number of sleep apnea episodes.

Experts recommend sleeping on your side to reduce the chances of your throat muscles falling back to obstruct the airway. Sleeping on the left side also helps with digestion. Sleeping with your head elevated with a soft pillow can also prevent or reduce airway obstruction and improve your sleep.

  • Avoiding tobacco and alcohol

Recent studies show that taking alcohol, especially before bed increases your risk of snoring and sleep apnea. Smoking can also increase fluid retention and inflammation in the upper airway, encouraging airway obstruction. Smokers are three times more likely to experience OSA than non-smokers. Limiting tobacco and alcoholic products, especially before bed, can reduce or prevent sleep apnea.

  • NEPAP device

Inserting a nasal expiratory positive airway pressure device into the nostrils before sleeping provides positive pressure when exhaling, preventing the upper airway from collapsing. This device keeps the airway open and improves sleep.

  • Mandibular advancement devices

These devices cover the upper or lower teeth and keep the jaws properly aligned to prevent upper-way obstructions. Compared to CPAP machines, mandibular advancement devices are silent, comfortable, easy to use, and less expensive. However, they only work best for mild cases of sleep apnea.

  • Tongue retaining devices

A tongue-retaining device holds the tongue forward throughout the night, preventing it from blocking the airway.

  • Orofacial therapy

Orofacial therapy is therapy for the mouth and facial muscles. Thistherapyhelps to position your tongue correctly to keep it from blocking the airway. The therapy also helps to control and strengthen muscles in the soft palate, lips, face, and tongue.

  • Surgery

If other treatments aren’t effective, your dentist can recommend surgeries to stop sleep apnea. In children, surgery can involve removing the adenoids and tonsils. Potentially effective surgeries for OSA include:

  • Maxillomandibular advancement (MMA) involves repositioning the upper and lower jawbone to keep the upper airway open.
  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty involves removing some tissues in areas around the upper airway.
  • A tracheostomy entails creating a hole in the windpipe. Your surgeon inserts a tube to improve breathing.

Schedule an Appointment today.

For more information about sleep apnea treatment in Great Neck, NY, contact Great Neck Dental Associates to begin your treatment today.

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