A Promising Paradigm Shift: New Research Challenges the CPAP-First Approach to OSA Treatment

Dr. Dan JensenHearing Loss, Research, Sleep Apnea

A Promising Paradigm Shift: New Research Challenges the CPAP-First Approach to OSA Treatment
Dr. Dan Jensen

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects millions of Americans. If you have sleep apnea, you’re no stranger to disrupted breathing during sleep, constantly waking up through the night, and feeling exhausted during the day.

For decades, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy has been the first line of treatment, helping people get a good night’s sleep. But now some exciting new research is suggesting a whole new way to treat sleep apnea.

What Is a CPAP Machine?

CPAP therapy has been the primary treatment for sleep apnea since the 1990s. This machine includes a mask worn over your nose and mouth, so the machine can deliver a steady stream of air pressure to your airway. This keeps the airways open during sleep, so you won’t wake up throughout the night. CPAP machines have brought relief to countless individuals, dramatically improving sleep quality and reducing the health risks associated with untreated OSA.

However, CPAP machines are not a good option for everyone. Some people find the mask uncomfortable or have a hard time finding a comfortable sleeping position.

Sleep Apnea Isn’t the Same for Everyone

This new research questions the established CPAP-first model, offering fresh insights into how we approach sleep apnea. The researchers reminded us that OSA is different for everyone. It varies in severity, and it’s influenced by a range of underlying factors. Your experience of sleep apnea is unique, so your treatment options should be as well!

To implement this patient-centered model, healthcare providers and audiologists are delving deeper into understanding the specific needs of each client. Providers are starting to think about the severity of the condition, the presence of other health conditions, and each person’s lifestyle and preferences.

Unveiling a Different Perspective

The groundbreaking new study found a more effective treatment model that doesn’t start with CPAP treatment. Instead, researchers gave everyone a dental splint. That’s right, a small dental appliance could have a huge impact on your sleep apnea.

Dental splints are small, custom-made mouthguards that help keep the airways open during sleep. Dental splints are more comfortable than CPAP masks and they’re a lot easier to wear. Mouthguards can reduce pauses in breathing, improve blood oxygen levels during sleep, reduce snoring, and even alleviate daytime drowsiness.

Researchers found that dental splints are almost as effective as CPAP machines! Rather than jumping straight to a CPAP machine, you can start with a dental splint and find out if this straightforward treatment option could work for you.

Treatment Tailored to Your Needs

Mouthguards are not the only alternative to a CPAP machine. In fact, combining other treatment options with dental splints can help manage sleep apnea without a CPAP machine. It all starts with a comprehensive sleep study to find out exactly why you have sleep apnea. Then your provider can suggest additional treatment options, like oxygen therapy or medications, to create a custom treatment plan.

Using this innovative new approach, almost every participant in the study was able to treat sleep apnea without using a CPAP machine!

The Way of The Future

Rather than immediately prescribing CPAP therapy as the default solution, this novel approach takes into account a range of treatments. This may include lifestyle adjustments, changes in sleep positions, wearing an oral appliance like a mouthguard, and managing other health concerns.

Best of all, you’ll have more options when it comes to finding the perfect treatment solution for you. Your health provider will work with you to create a plan that matches your needs and will help you sleep soundly through the night. We’re dedicated to helping you find effective strategies to enhance your sleep, improve your overall health, and maintain your quality of life.

Are You Ready to Treat Sleep Apnea?

In the field of audiology and sleep medicine, this new approach to treating OSA is a promising development. It puts you in the driver’s seat, recognizing that sleep apnea is different for everyone.

If you think you may have sleep apnea, or you’re currently using a CPAP machine, let’s talk about your options. Together, we can explore this new frontier in sleep apnea solutions and create a treatment plan that works for you.