THE ALTERNATIVES TO CPAP THERAPY

Sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder wherein the patient faces disturbed breathing during sleep. The most common telltale sign of sleep apnea is when you snore loudly and feel tired despite getting an entire night’s sleep. Up until a few years ago, sleep apnea was only treated as an annoying trait but today the potential complications of untreated sleep apnea concern many.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is the most widely known, clinically proven treatment for sleep apnea. With this non-invasive therapy, the patient has a continuous flow of pressurized air passing through their air passages and throat muscles throughout the night. It effectively helps prevent loud snoring and other symptoms of sleep apnea. CPAP machine cost is considerable and such equipment are easily available in the market.

Despite its popularity, it has been argued over time that CPAP is only a therapy and not a cure. To achieve best results and prevent relapse of symptoms, the patient must use the CPAP machine on an everyday basis. Additionally, many patients also find the treatment difficult and tend to discontinue the therapy due to extensive discomfort.Given the importance of treating sleep apnea, it is critical for the patient to seek proper medical aid and not leave the condition untreated merely because of the discomfort associated with CPAP therapy.

Here are a few alternative forms of treatment that deserve a close consideration:

1.Automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) therapy

One of the most common complaints against CPAP is because of the continuous, single-setting air pressure created by the machine. Patients find the single setting bothersome, as it doesn’t leave scope to be adjusted as per requirement. APAP therapy on the other hand allows you to set the air pressure at a low range as well as a high range. The machine adjusts this pressure automatically throughout the night to ensure that you enjoy a comfortable sleep. This is possible because of a smart algorithm that can sense minor changes in your breathing pattern and accordingly adjust the air pressure.

2.Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) therapy

Another common source of discomfort from CPAP is that many find it uncomfortable to exhale properly against the continuous air pressure maintained by the CPAP machine. BiPAP solves this by adjusting the volume of air pressure based on whether the patient is exhaling or inhaling. During inhalation, the air pressure is higher as opposed to exhalation, when the air pressure is reduced to avoid resistance during breathing. This is highly recommended for patients who suffer from high BP or low levels of oxygen in the body.

3.CPAP with C-Flex

C-Flex is quite similar to BiPAP therapy in the sense that it aids pressure relief for the patient – so they don’t face resistance during breathing. However, C-Flex is only a comfort feature added by medical device companies to CPAP machines. It can only offer pressure relief up to 3 cm. On the other hand, BiPAP pressure relief starts at 4 cm and goes beyond. C-Flex is the right choice for those who only require a minor level of adjustment.

4.Nasal surgery

For patients who suffer from the sleep apnea due to a narrow nasal valve or deviated septum, nasal surgery can be a highly effective solution to correct breathing difficulties and reduce symptoms. For patients who suffer from a mild form of sleep apnea, nasal surgery can entirely correct the patient’s breathing problems. For patients suffering from medium to severe sleep apnea, surgery may help improve the effectiveness and comfort of CPAP treatment.

5.Tracheostomy

For extreme cases of obstructive sleep apnea, wherein most other treatments have been unsuccessful in providing relief, a tracheostomy may be able to produce positive results. Through this surgery, the doctor creates a permanent opening in the windpipe so that a breathing tube may be inserted. This tube comes with a valve that adjusts its opening during the day to facilitate normal breathing and opens it at night for proper flow of air.

CPAP therapy is very popular for its effectiveness, but many patients also complain of discomfort while using the machine. Solutions for different types of discomfort are found in alternatives such as APAP, BiPAP and other surgical interventions. It is advisable to seek professional medical advice and decide on a course of treatment that best suits severity of the condition and the patient’s individual level of comfort.

Summary

CPAP therapy is very popular for its effectiveness, but many patients also complain of discomfort while using the machine. Solutions for different types of discomfort are found in alternatives such as APAP, BiPAP and other surgical interventions.

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