The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) has been considered the “gold standard” to treat people that have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and is usually the first choice prescribed by medical doctors.
But is it the “best” treatment for you??
The patient has to wear a specially designed mask that covers the face or nose or an insert into the nose. The CPAP uses air under pressure through the nose or mouth to keep the throat open during sleep. But the patient has to force air out of his lungs against the pressure and then let air back in under pressure; this has to happen 12-15 times every minute! CPAP is the most common sleep apnea treatment option, but it also is tolerated the least of the treatment methods. And even though it is the most common, it may not be the best—especially for you. It may be the most common because it is the only option the doctor gives to the patient. Most users do not know that there is a comfortable alternative. There are so many CPAP users who are intolerant to its use that there is a website called “I HATE CPAP!” (IHateCPAP.com).
And here is why. Only a third of CPAP users have success with it. What do the other two thirds do if they do not know that there is a comfortable alternative? A patient came to my office and said that 6 years ago she was diagnosed with OSA and was prescribed CPAP. She tried to use it for 1 month and then put it in her closet where it is today. So for the past 6 years she has been an untreated OSA patient. night. Some people can tolerate it only 4 hours or less per night; others cannot tolerate the face breakouts, the marks from the straps, eye and nose irritation, dry mouth, runny nose and sore throat. And they cannot sleep on their stomach.
Many patients who are intolerant to CPAP have found oral appliance therapy to be the comfortable alternative they have been looking for.