CPAP Treatment Vs. Oral Appliance Therapy
Historically, the Gold Standard in the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea was through the use of CPAP therapy. The CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, works through the use of a face mask connected to a tube, which is connected to a machine. The machine pumps oxygen up through the tube and into the mask of the sleeping patient. The pressurized force of oxygen via the CPAP ensures that the body and brain receive the oxygen they needs. Additionally, the pressurized air works to keep the soft tissues from collapsing in on themselves, and forces the airway open.
The Trouble With CPAP Therapy
CPAP therapy holds the title of Gold Standard in the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and for those patients who can tolerate the bulky equipment and the unwieldy tube forcing pressurized air into the face mask, the CPAP is known to get the OSA patient breathing normally faster and more efficiently during sleep.
However, with a non-compliance rate of over 50%, a closer look is warranted at this particular treatment method. The majority of complaints in regards to CPAP therapy is due to the level of discomfort the patient is subject to. Many OSA patients complain of an inability to fall and stay asleep while undergoing CPAP therapy.
Skin irritation around the facial area is an unwanted effect of wearing the CPAP mask. As a matter of fact, repeated use of the CPAP has been noted to promote the appearance of premature aging in the face. In addition, some patients tend to become claustrophobic while using a CPAP mask.
Common patient complaints due to wearing a CPAP mask include:
- Dry mouth and nose,
- Swelling in abdomen,
- Runny nose,
- Face skin and eye irritation,
- Nose bleeding.