Obstructive Sleep Apnea: What Are The Latest Treatment Options?

September 17, 2020

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: What Are The Latest Treatment Options?

Is feeling fatigued during the day or wanting to nap at your desk a familiar feeling for you? Well, this could be an indication that you’re suffering from poor sleep quality due to untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

In the world of sleep-related breathing disorders, OSA is one of the most widely treated across North America and has been growing more prevalent in recent decades. This prevalence has also come with new and improved ways of treating this sleep disorder.  In this post, we are going to discuss the sleep disorder of Obstructive Sleep Apnea along with the latest treatment options being used to manage it. 

 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A Leading Sleep Disorder

As a sleep disorder, Obstructive Sleep Apnea is becoming more widely recognized and discussed. While many may automatically think of insomnia when it comes to sleep-related disorders, OSA is certainly holding its own as a competitor for the leading sleep disorder label. 

What exactly is this condition that is impacting the sleep of many across the world? OSA is known for its ability to limit a person’s breathing capacity during sleep. This disorder is diagnosed when it is found that an individual is experiencing a full or partial blockage of their airway passage. This is most commonly caused by soft tissue collapsing in the throat. 

When this blockage occurs, the person is unable to receive enough oxygen to maintain a normal breathing pattern. This sudden drop in oxygen levels causes a signal to be sent to the brain. The brain then reacts by signalling the body to jerk awake in order to re-initiate breathing. This is known as an apneic event. 

Depending on the severity, these events can happen up to 30 or more times per hour and cause sleep to be fragmented. 

More and more individuals are getting diagnosed with OSA on a yearly basis. It is estimated that millions of Canadians have been diagnosed or are at risk of developing Sleep Apnea during their lifetime. In a 2017 survey, 6.4% of Canadians had been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea by a health care practitioner. 

 

Why Many Canadians May Be Suffering Silently


The alarming fact about this sleep disorder is that there are potentially many Canadians today that are suffering silently with this form of Sleep Apnea. Why is this? 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea has telltale signs and symptoms. These include daytime tiredness, chronic fatigue, snoring, and impaired concentration among others. However, for those that live alone, it may be harder for them to connect the dots and know when their symptoms are due to lack of sleep or are an indication of Sleep Apnea. 

Additionally, when OSA is left untreated it can also lead to the development of other serious health conditions including: 

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke 
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes

In order to ensure that you are not suffering silently, it is important to investigate any prolonged symptoms that you believe are sleep-related. Struggling to sleep well each night is not always due to stress and other stimulants. If you consistently feel less than refreshed each morning, you should seek professional advice as soon as possible. 

 

What Are The Latest Treatment Options For OSA?

If you have recently been diagnosed with OSA, you may be interested in discovering what the latest Obstructive Sleep Apnea treatment options are.  As we mentioned, research is always being conducted on how to improve the sleep quality of those with Sleep Apnea. 

Below, are the latest standard treatment options for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Important to note: Some of these treatment options are often only prescribed for patients that aren’t receiving enough benefit from PAP therapy. 

 

Expiratory Positive Airway Pressure (EPAP)

You may have heard EPAP mentioned before when discussing the application of BiPAP therapy but this can also be simulated in other ways. This form of OSA treatment can also be applied by using disposable adhesive valves that are placed over the nose when sleeping. 

When you breathe in, the valves open helping to keep the airway unobstructed. As you breathe out, the disposable valves help to create pressure on the nasal passages, keeping them open. This means fewer interruptions in sleep disturbances. 

 

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

Continuous positive airway pressure is the most common treatment for those that are suffering from moderate to severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea. As you may already be aware of, PAP therapies are most commonly provided through the use of a motorized machine, tubing and a face mask. 

Pressurized air is delivered to the upper airway passages to keep the airways open during sleep, therefore, preventing the throat muscles from collapsing. CPAP therapy is known as the golden standard for OSA treatment, however, there are other alternative PAP therapies including BiPAP and APAP. 

 

Oral Appliances

Oral appliances look similar to a mouthguard and are worn during sleep. These appliances act to move the lower jaw and tongue forward and upward to help increase the size of the airway and therefore increase the chances of adequate breathing patterns at night. These oral appliances are often fitted by either sleep specialists or dentists and can be beneficial in the treatment of severe OSA. 

 

Surgery 

In some cases, an OSA patient may be a candidate for surgery. This is usually only offered in those situations where a facial abnormality may be contributing towards OSA. There are many factors that a physician and sleep specialist will consider before approaching this as an Obstructive Sleep Apnea treatment option such as the anatomy of the upper airway passages. 

 

Behavioural Changes

Behavioural changes are only ever suggested when a person is suffering with mild OSA. Where an individual is only experiencing very few apneic events during sleep, lifestyle changes such as losing weight and limiting known stimulants such as alcohol may be advised. 

For example, some people who experience mild OSA may only have apneic events when sleeping on their back. By using positional aids and learning to adjust to sleeping on your side, this can improve our breathing patterns and promote healthier sleep quality. 

Keep in mind that the go-to OSA treatment option is largely PAP therapy. The reason for this is that many sleep specialists and OSA patients have seen tremendous improvement in sleep quality with this form of treatment. 

 

Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Truly Curable? 

Many who are newly diagnosed ask the question: Is OSA curable? Unfortunately, the answer is no. However, the good news is that it is treatable. 

Once you have been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the only way to ensure that you will be able to improve your sleep going forward is to ensure that you stay consistent with the form of treatment that has been prescribed to you. When left untreated, Sleep Apnea can lead to the onset of other serious health conditions that have the ability to make a damaging impact on your health and quality of life. 

Here at CPAPMachines.ca, we provide OSA patients with all the PAP equipment that they will need as part of their Obstructive Sleep Apnea treatment. Whether that is a CPAP mask, a BiPAP machine or even sanitizing equipment to keep PAP equipment sparkling clean.

Get in touch with our team of experts today for any questions that you may have about PAP machines and masks.





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Kit includes: A mini portable sanitizing device, 3 or 6 pack of filters (depending on machine purchased), 2 packs of cleansing wipes and a premium tubing brush. Cannot be combined with any other offers.