Dr. Anna Charbonneau

Therapy for people living with stress, depression, and medical conditions

Are there any alternatives for treating sleep apnea without a CPAP?

by Dr. Anna Charbonneau | Tags: sleep, physical health

Are there alternatives to treating sleep apnea besides a CPAP machine? Today we're going to take a look at what else you can do to help sleep apnea.

Alternative treatments for central sleep apnea

If you've been diagnosed with central sleep apnea, then CPAP is the first line of treatment. The CPAP is proven successful in treating sleep apnea and establishing normal sleep routines.

If you're struggling with the CPAP or feel it's not working, talk to your doctors. There is an alternate treatment called BiPAP. The BiPAP is similar to a CPAP. In the CPAP the air pressure is continuous. The BiPAP air pressure ebbs and flows, which can help establish a more normal breathing and sleep rhythm.

Depending on the cause of your central sleep apnea, there may be ways to treat any underlying medical conditions that could help. However, only your medical providers who are familiar with your background and medical history will able to discuss this with you.

Alternative treatments for obstructive sleep apnea

You can read up on risk factors for sleep apnea in this post.

Depending on how severe your sleep apnea is, there are several strategies besides the CPAP that can help. This is meant to be a general discussion, you'll have to talk with your own doctor about whether any of these strategies might help.

None of these strategies are harmful to your health. Undertaking the steps listed below will only serve to increase your overall health and well-being. But they may or may not help with your sleep apnea. It is crucial to treat your sleep apnea effectively. Select a treatment plan with input from your medical providers because your health is at stake.

  • Lose weight
    • One of the biggest risk factors for sleep apnea is being overweight. Losing weight can be effective in reducing the severity of sleep apnea. However, if you're chronically exhausted, it's going to be very difficult to lose weight. Using a CPAP temporarily to get good solid sleep can be an effective part of a weight loss plan.
    • In future posts, I'm going to be discussing science-based strategies for losing weight. If you'd like to get those articles when they're released, click here and I'll send them straight to your email.
  • Stop smoking
    • Another risk for sleep apnea is poor cardiovascular health. If you smoke cigarettes, stop. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. Quitting smoking may also help with sleep apnea by improving the health of your heart and lungs.
    • Recent studies have suggested that switching from cigarettes to a vaporizer can help with this process.
    • Free help for quitting cigarette smoking is here.
  • Use a specialized mouth guard
    • There are specialized inserts you can purchase that might help with sleep apnea. These inserts go by several names including "oral mouthpiece", "apnea mouth guard", and "mandibular advancement device." How's that for a mouthful? (Sorry not sorry. My dad would be proud of that joke!)
    • These devices have mixed results and are not a guaranteed treatment for sleep apnea.
    • Considering using one of these devices to treat your sleep apnea? Do your research carefully and let your doctor know about your plan. If you have any soreness in your jaw, headaches, or other problems after using one of these devices, stop using it and tell your doctor.

    What's next?

    This month, you can expect more posts on sleep, health psychology, and other topics related to living well with chronic conditions.

    I'm also writing a private series of newsletters on living well with chronic conditions. Sign up for this series to get advanced copies and a special discount for my new book "Outsmart Your Pain".