The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) has been the gold standard of sleep apnea treatment for many years. There are a few advantages to the CPAP, it is non-invasive, daytime sleepiness improves or resolves, heart function and hypertension improve and quality of life improves. Around fifty percent of the people who use the CPAP are compliant with the device meaning the wear it at least 4 hours a night and 70 percent of the nights they sleep. For people who wear the CPAP correctly, their sleep apnea is lessened greatly allowing the to get restful sleep while reducing their chances for more serious health problems.
Sleep apnea sufferers who stop using the CPAP or become non-compliant fall back into serious risk for other health conditions. Some of the major conditions to be worried about if you are a sleep apnea sufferer are high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and diabetes.
Here are the Top 5 reasons people quit using the CPAP:
Discomfort: This can be due to a variety of reasons including the mask being too large, small, or tight which can cause red marks on the face or claustrophobia. If a fitting problem is the issue, it may simply be a matter of finding the mask that is right for you. Red marks can be due to skin irritation or allergy to the rubber or plastics being used. There are a number of different masks to choose from, and mask pads for the straps may be purchased to help cushion the face. Another possibility is tightening the headgear a little bit at a time on each side. Those with claustrophobia will benefit by increasing the use of the mask in longer and longer increments.
Excess gas in the stomach: the trapping of air in the stomach causes Gas pains, or aerophobia. This occurs due to the flow of air by the CPAP machine into the body that is ultimately being swallowed when the head tilts forward and the airway is blocked. This typically occurs when a person sleeps with either multiple pillows, or one very large pillow. In order to remedy this, use the CPAP chinstrap to keep from breathing through your mouth while in therapy. Another method is using a wedge pillow to elevate the head. However, as sleeping with the head aligned with the body is recommended, losing pillows altogether is preferred.
Ear pressure: It is called the continuous positive air “pressure” machine for a reason. The CPAP machine increases air pressure in the body. If a person experiences congestion from illnesses like cold or flu, sinuses or allergies, it will block the ear canals, causing an imbalance of pressure throughout the body and pressure of the head.
Dryness of the nose, mouth or throat: This can be a troubling problem for many people that use the CPAP as it can cause inflammation, runny nose, pain, nasal congestion and in some cases, nosebleeds. The fast-moving air irritates the inner tissues of the throat and nose, which are already under extreme exertion in preparing air for the lungs. Many CPAP machines now have a humidifier that can be attached, adding moisture to the incoming air so the flow is easier on the body. In some cases, a corticosteroid nasal spray may be recommended.
Noise of the machine: Though machines have gotten much quieter over the years, some can still be quite noisy and keep sufferers up through the night.
Sleep Treatment Centers of America uses an innovative treatment option to solve the problem of CPAP non-compliance. Radio Frequency Ablation of the Tongue (RFA) is a curative option that reduces the size of the tongue base and keeps the tongue from collapsing back on the pharynx and closing off the airway. RFA directs small amounts of targeted energy to the base of the tongue in the back of the throat using a non-invasive device. Following the procedure, the treated area heals, and the tissue is tightened and reduced in size, which directly prevents the tongue from blocking the airway while the patient is sleeping.
If you suspect you might have sleep apnea, been diagnosed or would like to find out how you can avoid the high risk of developing other conditions, contact one of our medical concierges today at 1-855-863-4537 to schedule a consultation.