Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) afflicts millions of people worldwide, yet a large share of these individuals never seek treatment. While CPAP therapy is the most popular treatment, it isn’t for everyone. There are many alternatives to CPAP therapy, including the ones below.
Are EPAP valves Good Alternatives to CPAP Therapy?
Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure valves help support better respiratory health by creating mild resistance during the exhale phase of each breathing cycle and are great alternatives to CPAP therapy.
These are commercially available and look like bandages that stick to the outer surface of the nostrils, increasing the volume of air that can pass through the nose.
Though generally inexpensive, EPAP valves are often only used in patients with very mild symptoms. One unique option that is FDA-approved is the Provent Sleep Apnea Therapy system. This system uses a set of disposable microvalves that are placed just inside the nostril, then sealed with a comfortable, hypoallergenic adhesive. The exhalation breath keeps the airways open and eliminates the need for a mask or CPAP machine. You will need a prescription for Provent, so talk with your doctor before placing an order.
How is BiPAP Therapy Different than CPAP Therapy?
Yes, it sounds similar, but the BiPAP machine and mask operate a bit differently than a traditional CPAP. The difference lies in the way the air pressure is administered.
In a CPAP, the air pressure is constant, while the BiPAP utilizes two different pressures – a higher pressure for the inhale and a lower pressure for the exhale.
For those who have trouble tolerating the pressure of a CPAP (often those who have co-current conditions, like lung disease or COPD), a BiPAP might be the best alternative to CPAP therapy.
Can Oral Surgery Alleviate Sleep Apnea?
OSA is often caused by abnormalities in the mouth, throat or sinuses, and a variety of modern surgical procedures can help alleviate Sleep Apnea concerns in some patients. Tough-to-pronounce procedures like uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) or expansion sphincter pharyngoplasty can address the structural anomalies in the breathing passages that are causing or exacerbating the Sleep Apnea and are a medical alternative to CPAP. Other surgical options for sleep apnea include hyoid suspensions, tongue radiofrequency, and partial glossectomy. A new therapeutic option is called hypoglossal nerve stimulation, and it involves controlling tongue movements while the patient is asleep, such as jutting it forward to open up the breathing passages.
Can Weight Loss Cure Sleep Apnea?
Yes, weight loss might be an “easier-said-than-done” alternative to CPAP therapy, but it is the most natural, affordable and overall beneficial option when a lifetime of good respiratory health is the goal.
An important thing to note, though, is that obesity is not a direct cause of Sleep Apnea and some people might not see their OSA resolved after losing weight.
That being said, studies have shown a firm correlation between weight issues and Sleep Apnea, and with today’s elevated obesity rates around the world, weight loss should be a priority. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be an alternative to CPAP for you, it is a great way to live an overall healthier life.
CPAP machines and masks are the standard when it comes to addressing OSA and other related sleep anomalies, but alternative Sleep Apnea therapies certainly exist for those who don’t want to deal with CPAP. Consult your doctor today to discover the ideal solution for your particular needs.
Daniela has researched and published over 60 articles covering topics that aim to inform and empower people living with Sleep Apnea. As an avid reader and researcher, Daniela continues to grow her knowledge about Sleep Apnea and CPAP therapy everyday with the help of coworkers, CPAP.com customers, and members of other CPAP communities online.