What is the best alternative to CPAP for sleep apnea? I cannot use CPAP. I cannot sleep with that feeling of suction in my throat. It is too uncomfortable for me. I have only tried to use the CPAP a few times.
Doctors Answers (7)
Although a few other treatment options have made their way into the market recently, CPAP is still considered the gold standard in treating sleep apnea. It's best to contact the provider of your device and look into other mask options. Also, discuss this with the physician who prescribed your CPAP therapy. It may be that your machine needs to be adjusted.
There is no "best" alternative to CPAP therapy. Nothing short of a tracheotomy is so successful in treating sleep apnea. Dental devices which advance the mandible can help some but there are side effects such as aggravating the temporomandibular joint. Surgery to remove excess tonsillar tissue, part of the soft palate and uvula and even part of the tongue helps a few patients but may leave you with liquid escaping through the nose if you cough while drinking. A new device, the Provent nasal patch, helps reduce snoring and apnea in a few patients. There is a new technique called The PAP NAP where you spend an afternoon in the sleep lab with one on one attention to address the issues you describe such as getting used to the suction pressure, etc from the mask. There are many types of masks and maybe you have not tried them all. You may benefit from a sleep aide until you become accustomed to the mask and airflow. Local sleep labs may offer the PAP NAP.
An Oral Appliance is an excellent alternative for individuals who cannot tolerate nasal CPAP, especially for individuals with mild to moderate sleep apnea. If an Oral appliance is not been helpful, then there are various surgical options available that may help those who are suffering with sleep apnea.
First, it would be advisable to be evaluated by a sleep specialist who can discuss with you the severity of your sleep apnea and whether or not alternate treatment can be considered. Second, as a relatively new CPAP user your mask fit and mask style should also be evaluated to determine that you are using the best option possible. Keep in mind that there are numerous mask options available and this may be the main cause of your inability to tolerate it. If it is determined by the doctor that CPAP is not a viable option for you, he/she will provide other options to pursue.
An alternative to CPAP may be an oral appliance that will shift your bottom jaw forward opening the pharynx (breathing tube) behind the tongue and soft palate. You would need an evaluation by a dentist to see if you are a candidate.
The answer to you question depends on a number of things...primarily the severity of your sleep apnea. If severe, that is truly the best options. There are new masks that are very comfortable and machines that provide pressure relief. You could also increase the ramp. If your apnea is mild to moderate you could consider an oral airway patency device. Have you been working with a sleep clinic? If not I would strongly recommend that as the sleep professionals could help you acclimatize or desensitize to CPAP.
An alternative to CPAP is and FDA approved Oral Sleep Appliance. In mild and moderate cases, it's a great treatment.