HOW IS SLEEP APNEA TREATED?
Ways to avoid CPAP Therapy
HOW IS SLEEP APNEA TREATED without CPAP?
Many Questions, hopefully, there are some answers below.
Position therapy. You may snore on your back and have more apnea events. Sleeping on your side could help both of these conditions. You can sew a tennis ball into the back of a t-shirt to stop you from turning onto your back when sleeping. See sleeping wedge pillow below.
Dental Appliances. A device that fits in your mouth like a mouth guard that keeps your lower jaw ahead of the upper jaw, this helps keep the airway open and prevents the apnea events and snoring from happening.
Avoidance of Sedatives and Alcohol. Either of these will relax those upper airway muscles causing apnea events. Try to avoid these in the hours before you go to sleep.
Inspire Therapy – Upper airway stimulation is an implanted device that activates the muscles in the upper airway. No mask, No machine, no external devices at all. Uses a remote to turn it on @ night and off in the morning. This treatment is used when you are not a good candidate for using Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). The system delivers mild stimulation to the hypoglossal never which controls the movement of your tongue and other muscles in the airway. More information can be found here: https://www.inspiresleep.com/
Coverage for Inspire Therapy
If you are a Veteran, you are eligible for care at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center. If you are an active duty member, family of an active duty member enrolled in TRICARE, a retiree, family member of a retiree who is enrolled in TRICARE, or an otherwise eligible person, you may also have the opportunity to access Inspire therapy through a Military Treatment Facility. TRICARE utilizes military health care resources and supplements them with networks of civilian health care providers. If you are a TRICARE member, Inspire therapy will be reviewed and approved on a case by case basis. Your Inspire physician will first confirm you meet the candidacy requirements, then we will work on your behalf for insurance coverage.
A similar approved device in Europe is called the Aura6000. You can learn more by clicking on this link: http://imtheramedical.com/blog/2012/03/14/imthera-medical-announces-european-ce-mark-approval-for-the-aura6000-system-to-treat-obstructive-sleep-apnea/
There is also a strap you can buy that goes around your head and it keeps your mouth closed. When your mouth is closed that passage in your throat that causes the apnea events and snoring does not close. I do not believe this device has a medical name. I have seen it called a Chinstrap. There are many styles. Prices range from the $20’s to over $100.
Surgery. The most common procedure is called uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). UPPP is the surgical removal of excess tissue in the upper airway, Surgery of the soft palate is also an option. Other options include a tracheostomy which is a surgical incision at the front of the windpipe. Removal of the tonsils and adenoids or even surgical advancement of the jaw. This seems pretty invasive. I would for sure try CPAP therapy before any of these, but then that is just my opinion. Removal of the tonsils may be the first choice for children, but typically the second line of therapy in adults.
Sleeping Wedge Pillow. A pillow that raises your head can help reduce not only sleep apnea events but snoring, acid reflux and indigestion. There any many shapes of these pillows but in the end, they all do the same thing and that is to raise your head at an angle so it is not lying flat. I have seen these priced from $39.95 to almost $200. Be sure to search around for the best device that fits your needs and the best price.
Being overweight. Upper-body obesity is a risk factor for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Carrying the extra weight can narrow your upper airway which will cause apnea events. Losing weight in itself can be a treatment for sleep apnea.
HOW IS SLEEP APNEA TREATED for toddlers and children?
Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea may contribute to daytime fatigue and behavioral problems. Children who snored loudly were twice as likely to have learning problems. Following a night of poor sleep, children are more likely to be hyperactive and have difficulty paying attention. These are also signs of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Apnea may also be associated with delayed growth and cardiovascular problems.
Treatments include tonsils and adenoids removal. There are also child-sized CPAP masks.