Are you living with sleep apnea and using a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine but considering ditching it because you don’t like the noise or how it makes you feel? You’re not alone. Millions of people living with obstructive sleep apnea hate their CPAP machines because they make them feel claustrophobic or keep them up all night with constant noise. But ditching your CPAP can be dangerous for your sleep breathing disorder and your heart.
A study conducted by a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University revealed that ending CPAP use could cause problems with the heart, including morning arterial stiffness and cardiovascular disease. These conditions can be worsened by additional factors, including age, body mass index (BMI), gender and diabetes.
Dr. Darin Ward, a Dallas, Texas, orthodontist, agrees.
“If you don’t like how the CPAP fits or feels, and you no longer want to wear it, talk to your doctor or dentist first to find out about alternative treatment options,” Ward said.
The study’s findings were presented at the annual conference of the American Thoracic Society. They showed that patients with diabetes had an exceptionally high risk of adverse side effects from stopping CPAP therapy.
But if you have sleep apnea, the CPAP isn’t always your only option.
“Many people find relief from their condition with appliance therapy, like custom-fitted orthotics that move the lower jaw into a better position to keep the tongue from falling back and blocking the airway,” Ward said. “These devices are silent and a safe alternative to a CPAP. They’re comfortable and easy to transport, unlike the CPAP, too.”
If you’re interested in switching sleep apnea treatments, schedule an appointment to speak to your dentist and talk it through.
“Some severe cases of sleep apnea may require the CPAP or surgery, but talking to your provider is always a good first step,” Ward said.
According to SleepApnea.org, sleep breathing disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea, have become a serious health issue in the United States. The website estimates that 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, and 80 percent of the moderate and severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea, the most prevalent form of the condition, are undiagnosed.
Sources: MDMag. CPAP Withdrawal Leads to Negative Outcomes for Sleep Apnea Patients. 21 May 2020.
Sleepapnea.org. SLEEP APNEA INFORMATION FOR CLINICIANS.