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If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor may prescribe CPAP therapy to help you breathe more easily while you sleep. But some people have difficulty sleeping while wearing CPAP machines. Fortunately, patients have several alternatives that will bring them the relief they need.
What should I do first?
A key early step in treating your discomfort with CPAP is to see an otolaryngologist to assess if there are any specific structural reasons why your CPAP is difficult to tolerate. A thorough in-office assessment of your nasal and oral airways may uncover correctable blockages to airflow that will make CPAP easier to use. It is also helpful to see the provider who prescribes your CPAP to explore the different types of masks that can be used, since a different type of mask may be more comfortable for you. If, after these assessments, CPAP is still not the best fit for you, your ENT doctor or sleep doctor can help you explore these alternatives.
Mild cases of sleep apnea can be managed with changes in your personal lifestyle. For example, changing your sleeping position may help bring you relief. Reducing alcohol consumption and use of sedating medications can be of benefit as well.
Studies have shown that being overweight is a significant risk factor for sleep apnea and may limit your response to sleep apnea treatment. As we gain weight, the amount of fatty tissue in the tongue and around the throats increases as well, worsening your airway blockage as you sleep. Losing weight can help address this issue and improve your sleep quality.
Oral appliances are mouth guards that can hold your tongue in place or gently push your jaw forward. This can help keep your airway open as you sleep.
Inspire is an FDA-approved implantable device that opens your upper airway, allowing for easier breathing while you sleep. When you are ready to sleep, you click a button on a remote control to activate the device. While you sleep, the Inspire device senses your breathing and sends a gentle pulse that moves your tongue and upper airway to keep you breathing freely. Inspire is implanted during outpatient surgery and is fine-tuned during follow-up appointments to ensure the best results.
In some cases, surgery to correct blockages and open your airway might be the best alternative. Nasal surgery, throat procedures such as a tonsillectomy, and surgery on your jaw are a few of the many surgical options that may help resolve your sleep apnea. A thorough evaluation from your ENT doctor will help determine where your blockage is most significant in order to find the best therapy for your specific pattern of obstruction.
Sleep apnea care at CEENTA
“There is hope for people suffering from sleep apnea but have difficulty tolerating their CPAP device,” CEENTA ENT doctor Adam Gigliotti, MD, said. “Our team at CEENTA will help you evaluate why CPAP may not be working for you and will use our expertise to find the treatment that best fits your lifestyle and health needs. We look forward to helping you sleep more peacefully so you can greet each day feeling rested and refreshed!”
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. Would you like an appointment with Dr. Gigliotti? Call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.
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