Constant positive airway pressure, or CPAP, is a form of treatment for the disorder known as sleep apnea, which affects over 18 million people in the United States. CPAP treatment involves the use of an air compressor administering a constant air pressure into the patient’s airway to alleviate the effects of sleep apnea. The constant pressure allows for easier breathing in the event that the patient’s airway becomes obstructed or if the patient’s brain fails to properly induce normal breathing. However, CPAP is administered through a pressurized mask that may make sleeping or exhalation uncomfortable, making sleep even less restful for some patients. There are, however, man viable alternatives to CPAP to treat sleep apnea.
One of the most non-invasive alternatives to CPAP is positional therapy. Positional therapy is altering the patient’s sleeping position. This can be achieved using several methods, such as specially made shirts that force the patient to sleep on their side and foam wedges that put the patient on an incline. The goal of positional therapy is to reduce the effects of gravity on the tissue in the throat, thereby reducing the chance of the airway collapsing or becoming obstructed. Positional therapy is most effective when used to treat obstructive sleep apnea, as central sleep apnea is caused by the brain’s inability to properly induce normal breathing. However, when used in conjunction with other treatments, positional therapy can aid in the treatment of central sleep apnea.
An alternative to Sleep Apnea is BiPAP. BiPAP stands for bilevel positive airway pressure, which is similar in that it creates positive airway pressure to aid the patient in breathing. However, BiPAP monitors when the patient exhales, and reduces the positive pressure to ease the patient’s breathing further. This is equally as effective in treating obstructive and central as CPAP, and allows the comfort of easier exhalation when the patient is discomforted by the constant pressure that the CPAP administers. BiPAP is equally ineffective in the treatment of complex sleep apnea, however, and usually creates further complications in a similar manner as CPAP.
Another alternative to THIS TREATMENT that is similar to BiPAP is ASV, or adaptive servo-ventilation. ASV is an experimental alternative to THIS TREATMENT and is currently being used primarily to treat complex sleep apnea. ASV calculates the patient’s average breathing and then adjusts the pressure to match, normalizing erratic breathing by forcing the patient to ventilate steadily. ASV has been approved by the FDA, but is still considered to be an experimental method, as few if no results of treatment have been published in the scientific world.
One of the most dramatic alternatives to THIS TREATMENT is surgery. This can involve removal of excess tissue, located in the back of the throat, the base of the tongue, etc., as well as tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies. Surgery is usually performed with the intent of creating a larger airway and therefore less chance of obstruction.
Although a popular method of treatment, THIS TREATMENT has many viable alternatives, depending on the wants and needs of individual patients. Each alternative has its positive aspects and its drawbacks, each to be taken into consideration. Although THIS TREATMENT is quite effective, it isn’t for everyone, and the various alternatives are more than adequate to satisfy most patients.