Does Your CPAP Feel Like a Life Sentence?
Have you resigned yourself to the idea that you will have to sleep with a humming, blinking, hissing machine at your bedside each and every night? And an uncomfortable, germ-filled mask strapped to your face forever?
We totally understand how daunting and discouraging that feels. The idea of relying on a CPAP machine for the rest of your life probably makes you feel anxious and frustrated. You probably even dread going to bed at night!
Ultimately, CPAPs can be very effective, viable treatments for people with OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) because it can help keep their airway open resulting in more restful sleep...
However, a CPAP can only do so much if your nose is already tight or plugged up. Imagine snorkeling with a wadded-up piece of paper towel in your snorkel… Or think about how hard it is to sip a strawberry milkshake when your straw gets clogged with a chunk of fruit…
If your nose doesn't work, neither will your CPAP. This is why it's important to get to the root cause of your sleep apnea, instead of tackling it with a band-aid solution.
So, what exactly is Sleep Apnea?
Most people define sleep apnea as simply loud snoring. Or when someone stops breathing in their sleep. While, yes, these are common symptoms, it's not quite so simple...
OSA occurs when muscles in your mouth and throat relax and close in on themselves, essentially obstructing your airflow and suffocating you while you sleep. It's not unlike a dangerous intruder who sneaks into your bedroom every night, and strangles you with a tight grip around your throat…
If it sounds like someone has stopped breathing while they're asleep… it's because they have! And as you can imagine, it's very dangerous and damaging to the brain and body.
You see, the effects of sleep apnea go much deeper than hating a machine on your nightstand. It can cause high blood pressure, depression, irritability, and increase your risk of diabetes, stroke, heart attack and even accidents.
Have you ever experienced brain fog on the job or behind the wheel? You understand how unsafe it can be.
A properly functioning CPAP can help improve your quality of sleep - and decrease these damaging effects - by forcing air into the nose and mouth, keeping these airways open and allowing your body to inhale and exhale naturally. Again, this is only true if your nose is working properly though!
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
Many people suffering from sleep apnea are surprised to learn they have options outside of CPAP to treat their sleep apnea. Treatment options that hone in on the root causes of your OSA. Often, what we find in patients is that their sinus openings are small and their turbinates - the thin bone and soft tissue inside your nose - are too large. Both these anatomical issues can cause significant airway issues.
The good news is there are simple, 20-minute in-office procedures that can help fix these issues - and best of all, there is usually very little downtime:
Balloon Sinuplasty - This is a procedure in which a balloon catheter is inserted into the nasal passage and expanded, creating more room in the sinuses so that they can drain properly.
Turbinate Reduction - Turbinates help cleanse and humidify the air that passes through your nostrils. Sometimes they're simply too large for your nose or they can become inflamed by irritants or allergies. A turbinate reduction is a simple procedure that opens up the airways to allow air to flow more freely through the nose.
Once we ensure your nose is working we can address the best options to treat your sleep apnea. Yes, CPAP is one option...and most likely an option that will work better for you once your nose is functioning properly. But you have other options as well. One popular option is Oral Appliance Therapy. This is as simple as wearing a retainer in your mouth at night. This retainer gently pulls your lower jaw forward allowing your airway in the back of your throat to remain open.
Or you might want to consider the route of more traditional surgeries such as a Septoplasty or a Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) to correct your sleep and sinus issues. However, these have much longer recovery times and require much more commitment. The point is though...
You have sleep apnea treatment options!
Break Free From Your CPAP Misery
There are CPAP alternatives and you deserve to have options. If you already have a CPAP, you've likely fallen victim to the one-size-fits-most approach that really isn't serving you well. Or maybe you haven't even taken the steps to getting treatment simply because you dread the outcome of being prescribed a CPAP.
We can't promise you will ever love or totally get used to your CPAP, but with these more permanent solutions, you may find that it actually starts working better.
When you start breathing better, you can actually start enjoying sleep again. You can go to bed each night confident that you are going to wake up the next day more refreshed and ready to take on anything life throws at you with energy and a clear head!
So what are you waiting for? Ditch the CPAP for good, or… Find a treatment that works for you AND your CPAP. Schedule your appointment today!