Ways To Correct Your Obstructive Sleep Apnea Without A CPAP Machine

Posted on: 12 June 2020

When a person has obstructive sleep apnea, his or her throat muscles collapse and block the airway during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea can cause symptoms like daytime fatigue, sore throats, headaches, irritability, depression, and so on. 

Some people are able to manage this issue with a contiguous-positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. However, some patients are unable to get used to a CPAP device, or they may not feel as much relief as they'd hope. If your CPAP machine isn't helping you manage your symptoms enough, here are a few other sleep apnea treatments and surgeries to consider.

Invest in a Weight Loss Program

If you are overweight or obese, you may want to visit your doctor to learn more about how you can safely and effectively lose weight. People who carry extra weight are more likely to have extra tissue in the back of their throats which can exacerbate sleep apnea. In fact, Science Daily reported that losing weight could effectively cure sleep apnea in some patients — more so than other treatments. Weight loss programs can be helpful since you have to check in with your doctor and be accountable for your diet and exercise regimen.

Get Fitted for an Intra-Oral Appliance

If you don't need to lose excess weight, then you may want to treat your sleep apnea with an intra-oral device. These devices can help people with milder forms of obstructive sleep apnea. Intra-oral devices look like mouth-guards and should be worn at night. These dental devices gently pull the mandible, or lower jaw, forward so that the soft tissues in your throat and at the base of your tongue do not collapse. Some people with sleep apnea grind their teeth, which can damage enamel, cause muscle tension, and cause headaches. If you're one of these people, the intra-oral appliance can be beneficial since it will correct your sleep apnea and protect your teeth from grinding.

Consider Surgery

Surgery is usually a last-resort when CPAPs, dental devices, and lifestyle changes don't work. However, there are many types of surgical treatments that can correct your obstructive sleep apnea if other routes fail. Here are just a few types of surgery that could help:

  • Septoplasty: Some patients suffer from sleep apnea because they have a hard time breathing through their noses. During a Septoplasty, your doctor can straighten a deviated septum that could be hindering your nasal breathing and causing you to breathe through your mouth.

  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP): During a UPPP, your doctor will remove excess tissue in your throat — like your tonsils — if it is contributing to your sleep apnea. Your doctor may also reduce the soft palate or uvula. This type of surgery can be helpful if you have allergies or severe sleep apnea.

  • Hyoid Suspension: The hyoid is a bone in your neck that attaches to the tongue and epiglottis (a flap of tissue that prevents food from entering the windpipe). During this surgery, your doctor will pull the hyoid bone forward and secure it in place so that the tongue and soft tissues don't collapse.

Contact a doctor in your area for more information on obstructive sleep apnea treatments and surgeries. He or she can also work with you if you want to give a CPAP device another try. Some patients have to experiment with different masks and/or machines until they get a good fit for their symptoms.