Is CPAP the only treatment for sleep apnea?

Is CPAP the only treatment for sleep apnea?

The best treatment for severe sleep apnea is C.P.A.P. (continuous positive airway pressure). That said, if you have been diagnosed with mild sleep apnea, our Surrey dentists can suggest other approaches that may help you to lessen your sleep apnea symptoms

Sleep apnea is a serious condition, that requires medical diagnosis and treatment.  For those patients who have been diagnosed with substantial or severe sleep apnea, CPAP is typically the first and most effective treatment option. Nonetheless, there are other treatment options you may want to consider trying, to help lessen your symptoms, if you suffer from mild obstructive sleep apnea.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Before making any lifestyle changes it's important to check with your doctor.

Changes That May Improve Sleep Apnea Symptoms

A number of lifestyle changes are often recommended in order to help lesson the symptoms of sleep apnea. While these lifestyle changes may not work for everyone, if your goal is to get a good night's rest and wake up feeling alert, these changes may be able to help you to reduce your sleep apnea symptoms and improve your quality of sleep.

Lose Weight

  • Weight loss is known to be effective in reducing the symptoms of sleep apnea. Patients who are overweight often have extra tissue around their airway. Overall weight loss can help to shrink the excess tissue and allow air to flow more freely into the lungs. Some studies have shown that sleep apnea symptoms may be reduced by as much as a 30% when patients lose as little as 10% of their body weight.

Avoid Alcohol and Sedatives

  • A patient's airway can become obstructed when the throat muscles relax due to the effects of alcohol or sedatives. To help reduce the symptoms of your sleep apnea try avoiding alcohol and sedatives for at least 4 hours before going to bed.  

Sleep on Your Side

  • If you suffer from sleep apnea, try to avoid sleeping on your back. Back sleeping may cause gravity to pull on the tissues at the back of the throat and potentially cause the airway to narrow or even collapse. To help train yourself to sleep on your side try propping pillows up against your back while you lie on your side, or try placing a tennis ball in your back pyjama pocket when you go to bed, to prevent yourself from rolling onto your back while you're asleep. 

Dental Appliances

A number of dental appliances are available from your dentist to help reduce the symptoms of mild sleep apnea. These appliances are relatively comfortable to wear when properly fitted properly, and reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea by holding the tongue and jaw forward, preventing them from slipping backwards and obstructing the airway. 

Our dentists at Cloverdale Crossing Dental Group can fit your dental appliance to the shape and size of your mouth. It is essential that your dental appliance fits comfortably. If you don't wear it, it can't work. So, if your dental appliance is causing you discomfort speak to your dentist about having your appliance adjusted or replaced.

Only a medical professional can accurately diagnose sleep apnea. If you think you might be suffering from sleep apnea contact Cloverdale Crossing Dental Group in Surrey Vancouver to speak with one of our dentists about effective treatment options.

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