Did you know that there are records of sleep apnea that date back to 2,000 years ago? Despite the fact that this condition has been around for so long, modern treatments weren’t developed until the 1980’s. For many years, the only option was a CPAP machine, but (as anyone who’s worn one will tell you), they can be difficult or impossible to tolerate. Fortunately, there are wonderful alternatives for sleep apnea in McLean that don’t involve a CPAP machine. Now, the estimated 25% of Americans with sleep apnea have more ways to get a better night’s sleep and reduce their risk of serious conditions like high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. Keep reading to learn about 4 alternative treatments for sleep apnea below!
Although it’s usually a last resort, surgery can be effective for people with moderate to severe sleep apnea who have tissues in their mouth or throat that block their airway, such as the tonsils, uvula, adenoids, or tongue.
However, surgery often requires an overnight hospital stay and may have side effects such as an uncomfortable recovery period or having the jaws temporarily wired shut.
2. Weight Management
The root cause of sleep apnea is different for each person. For people who are carrying extra weight, their larger neck circumference may be one contributing factor to their sleep apnea. In these cases, even a moderate weight loss of 20-40 pounds can make a big difference in their symptoms.
3. Change Your Sleeping Position
Known as positional therapy, this treatment involves wearing a device around your neck or back that encourages you to sleep on your side instead of your back. Sleeping this way changes the position of your tongue and jaws, which opens the airway and allows for better breathing.
One potential downside is that, even when wearing a device, it can still be very difficult for some people to change the way they sleep.
4. Wear an Oral Appliance
For patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea, a dentist in McLean can make a custom-made oral appliance to reposition the lower jaw and tongue and open the airway at night.
Many people find that this is one of the easiest options for treating their sleep apnea. Since these appliances are lightweight and portable, they don’t feel uncomfortable and are much easier to comply with.
Remember, the side effects of sleep apnea are unpleasant – but treatment doesn’t have to be!
About the Author
Dr. Fred Farahi is an award-winning general dentist who wants to help every patient with sleep apnea restore their quality of life. He knows that his patients are more likely to stick with treatment if it’s easy and comfortable and has gotten great feedback from the oral appliances he provides. If you have sleep apnea and have any additional questions, he can be contacted via his website or at (703) 821-1633.