Here are some of the best devices to treat sleep apnea:
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machines
These are the most common and effective devices for treating sleep apnea. A CPAP machine delivers a steady flow of pressurized air through a mask to help keep the airways open during sleep. Your healthcare provider determines the prescribed amount of pressure based on your needs. CPAP therapy reduces sleep apnea symptoms and improves sleep quality.
A CPAP machine is non-invasive and requires no medications. Its built-in humidifier makes it easy to use and maintain, and reduces dryness and irritation in the airways. Newer models include automatic pressure adjustments, smartphone tracking apps, and customizable settings.
However, it takes time to get used to using CPAP machines and the feeling of pressurized air. Some users experience side effects such as nasal congestion, dryness, skin irritation, or dry mouth. Address side effects by adjusting your machine or mask, or speaking with a doctor.
These devices are worn in the mouth and reposition the jaw and tongue to keep airways open while you sleep. Oral appliances are an alternative for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea and those who cannot tolerate CPAP therapy.
Types of oral appliances:
There are several types of devices available. Oral appliances are custom-made to fit the user’s mouth. Often small and portable, these non-invasive appliances do not require any medications.
Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs):
This oral appliance moves the lower jaw forward to open up the airways. MADs are ideal for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea.
MADs are custom designed to fit the user’s mouth, and are small and portable. They’re also a non-invasive option and don’t require any medications.
However, using MADs long-term can cause discomfort, tooth movement, and jaw pain. Consult with a healthcare professional and a dentist to ensure a MAD is right for you, fits properly, and is maintained.
Nasal dilators are inserted into the nostrils to keep the airways open while you sleep. They are perfect for users with mild sleep apnea or those who experience nasal congestion during sleep.
These devices do not require medications and are inexpensive and easy to use. However, they are not universal and might not be suitable for more severe cases of sleep apnea.
Benefits and drawbacks:
It takes time to adjust to wearing an oral appliance. It might be uncomfortable, and you risk tooth movement or jaw discomfort with long-term use. Speak with a doctor and dentist to ensure it’s the right treatment option and to ensure proper fit and maintenance.
Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) Devices
VPAP and BiPAP Devices
PAP devices bear similarities to CPAP machines but offer different pressure levels throughout the night to keep the airways open. There are two main types of PAP devices: variable positive airway pressure (VPAP) and bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP). VPAP devices adjust the pressure to the user’s breathing patterns, while BiPAP devices deliver higher pressure during inhalation and lower pressure during exhalation.
Benefits and drawbacks:
PAP devices are ideal for people who have trouble tolerating the constant pressure of a CPAP machine. They are better for treating more severe cases of sleep apnea. The downside is PAP devices can be more difficult to use and maintain than CPAP machines — they can also cost more.
Other Treatment Options
In summary, several devices treat sleep apnea, including CPAP machines, oral appliances, mandibular advancement devices (MADs), nasal dilators, APAP, and positive airway pressure (PAP) devices. Consult a healthcare professional to find the best treatment option for your specific needs and circumstances. They can assess your sleep apnea severity and recommend the best device and treatment plan.