CPAP Alternatives – Why People Opt for Them?
People with sleep apnea usually opt for a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) treatment in which the CPAP devices are used to create mild air pressure in order to keep the airway open. Although CPAP treatment is very common, it is not suitable for many. Following are the alternatives to CPAP.
- BiPAP (Bi level positive airway pressure): It works similarly as CPAP but it delivers air at two different levels of pressure. One level is the inspiratory pressure which regulates the flow of air into the airways while the other is the expiratory pressure which works at regulating it out of the airway. It has also proven out to be beneficial for heart and respiratory patients. However, people find the traditional BiPAP Mask and devices somewhat disturbing as well as uncomfortable.
- Positional Therapy: This therapy is for people who tend to sleep on their back. This therapy aims to help them sleep in a different position. However, studies have shown that this method is beneficial for moderate cases of sleep apnea only and is not long lasting.
- Surgery: This option seems to be very attractive when it comes to treating sleep apnea because it promises to be long lasting but with it come multiple risks. The two most common procedures are:
– Maxillomandibular Advancement: This is a complex and delicate process by which the airways are expanded to increase the size and capacity in order to inhale air more easily. Although, this procedure involves is disturbing the facial framework around the jaw permanently, it has the highest success rate with a comparatively low risk of complications.
– UPPP (Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty): This method procedure involves fewer complications. It is done by improving the movement and closure of the soft palate by increasing the size of the airways. It may include the removal of the flap that hangs down at the back of the mouth known as uvula. Success rate is 50% to 60% and it is considered to be the most painful procedure and recovery can take several weeks.
- Oral Devices: Dental devices such as tongue retainers and mandibular repositioning devices work best as CPAP alternatives. They act as mouth guards and they move the tongue and the lower jaw forward in order to make breathing easy. However, these devices do not prove beneficial for patients suffering from severe forms of sleep apnea. These devices are also preferable because unlike surgeries, they do not disturb the facial framework.
- Provent: Provent is one of the most recent available options for sleep apnea patients. It consists of two plugs that fit into the nostrils and when air is inhaled, a valve open giving access to free regulation of air. Recently, it has become a very popular alternative to CPAP. However, it is a tad bit costly than CPAP in the long run.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a part of alternative medicine by many but few associate it with sleep apnea. According to a research in Brazil, this method can be beneficial if it is complemented with positional therapy.