Have you heard about the effectiveness of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy in preventing snoring and sleep apnea? CPAP is great but it isn’t for everyone. After all, you can’t bring a CPAP machine while you are traveling, right? So this is probably why you are looking for CPAP alternatives.
Snoring and sleep apnea are two sleeping disorders that used to be considered as mere annoyances. However, more and more information on the dangers of snoring and untreated sleep apnea have prompted snorers to seek treatment.
CPAP is a clinically proven treatment for sleep apnea and snoring. It is a non-invasive method wherein constant flow of pressurized air prevents the throat muscles and air passages from collapsing during sleep. This way, it prevents snoring and eliminates chronic sleep apnea.
The CPAP machine typically has one of the following components— a mask that covers the nose and mouth, a mask that only covers the nose, or prongs that fit into your nose.
There’s a long hose that connects the machine to the mask, and where the air travels from the motor to the mask. Most of the hoses are long enough for you to move around or turn over in your bed. The CPAP machine is typically the size of a tissue box, and it is relatively quiet while in operation.
While numerous studies have proven that CPAP is effective in treating sleep apnea and snoring, there are also disadvantages. You run the risk of having of dry nose and sore throat, excessive dreaming especially in the first few days of use, and nasal congestion when you use a CPAP machine.
There are also problems that may arise from the use of the said machine, such as abdominal bloating, eye and skin irritation and leaks around the mask since it does not fit properly.
And we have not even mentioned the discomfort of using the machine. In fact, several studies show that 50% of CPAP patients stop using the device within three weeks of use because of the discomfort.
Sleep apnea and snoring have too many dangers that you just can’t give up on a treatment option because you find it unbearable. If you’re one of those snorers who would want to finally put an end to your snoring but hesitant on trying CPAP here are some alternatives you might want to give a shot.
These include somnoplasty, or temperature-controlled radio frequency (TCRF). This is a minimally invasive surgical technology using radiofrequency current for the reduction of tissues around the throat. It is best used for patients with mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. However, one concern that you may have is that there is the risk of bleeding and infection with this CPAP alternative.
Another alternative to CPAP is the pillar procedure. Similar to somnoplasty, it is a minor surgical procedure that can be done at your doctor’s office. It is intended to relieve chronic snoring and treat mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. It involves the placement of small polyester rods in the soft palate, which would cause the stiffening of the soft palate and reduce relaxation and vibration of the said tissue.
But like somnoplasty, pillar procedure has its downsides. One is that there are a lot of complications that may arise, the most common of which is the tip of the implant protruding through the soft palate tissue. Other complications include sore throat, difficulty in swallowing and the feeling of having a foreign object in the soft palate all of which would arise after the surgery.
Nasal expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP) is a relatively new alternative to CPAP. It harnesses the own breathing of its user to create positive airway pressure in preventing obstructed breathing.
Nasal EPAP often consists of small patches with two plugs which fit into the nostrils. When you inhale, a valve opens to allow air to flow freely. But when you breathe out, the valve closes and forces the air out through a smaller channel. This way, back pressure is created to keep the airways open.
The problem with nasal EPAP devices is that they’re very expensive. On the average, you’ll be spending $2 per night on a nasal EPAP device as the latter can only be used for a limited time.
Dental appliances are another option for those looking for an alternative to CPAP. A sleep apnea mouthpiece looks like a mouth guard that moves the tongue or the lower jaw forward to open the airways and make breathing easier.
A mandibular repositioning device is the most common type of oral appliance for sleep apnea. It applies the same principles as surgical treatment yet instead of permanent realignment, it temporarily puts the lower jaw in a protruded position during sleep. This way, the airways are opened and snoring is prevented.
If you’re looking for snoring aids that work, you can try Zyppah. This is a mouthpiece for sleep apnea that works like a mandibular repositioning device, although it also keeps the tongue stationary and prevents it from falling back and obstructing the airways during sleep.
Zyppah is a relatively new device, having been introduced in 2012 by a dentist with a biomedical engineering background and who has spent more than 10 years studying snoring and sleep apnea.
Zyppah is cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration. It is made from a BPA-free material. It has a very simple fitting process that lets you achieve a precise fit while there’s an airflow hole that allows you to breathe through the mouth while sleeping.
And unlike the other CPAP alternatives mentioned earlier, Zyppah is proven to stop snoring and treat sleep apnea the very first night you use it. These benefits of using Zyppah make it one of the best alternatives to CPAP right now.