Learn More About Sleep Apnea:
Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Apnea:
“Does CPAP also treat snoring?”
Effective nasal CPAP should eliminate sleep apnea and suppress all snoring.
“How long until I feel better with CPAP?”
CPAP begins treating your sleep apnea the very first night of sleep. Subjectively, some patients begin to feel better within the first few nights of usage and other patients may feel better only after several weeks. Response to treatment is dependent upon total sleep time, consistent usage, and unrelated health, lifestyle, and medical matters.
“Can I use CPAP if I am claustrophobic?”
At SleepSomatics, we treat patients with nasal CPAP using a 2 oz. nasal pillow that sits beneath your nose. For more than 9 out of 10 patients, the 2 oz. nasal pillow is sufficient to treat sleep apnea and suppress snoring. The air from the CPAP machine tends to close the mouth, thus eliminating the need for a full face “Darth Vader” style mask. When choosing a sleep clinic, make sure you ask if the clinical team has experience treating patients with 2 oz. nasal pillow CPAP masks, and if so, what their sleep clinic patient population is with those masks.
“What are non-CPAP treatment options for sleep apnea?”
There are generally three (3) treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea: 1) Nasal CPAP; 2) surgery with an otolaryngologist (or ENT); 3) dental sleep apnea appliance customized by a dentist. If you have questions about surgery or dental appliance effectiveness, cost, and side-effects, you should contact an ENT or dentist.
“Is sleep apnea a life-long condition?”
For most patients, sleep apnea is a life-long condition necessitating treatment.
“Does sleep apnea only affect overweight patients? Does weight loss cure sleep apnea?”
Sleep apnea may be exacerbated by excess weight around the neck. However, obesity is not the sole cause of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a combination of structural and lifestyle factors and can occur in average weight or underweight patients.
“What can I do to naturally treat sleep apnea?”
Avoiding supine (on your back) sleep, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and avoiding sedating narcotics may all reduce the severity of sleep apnea and snoring but may not necessarily treat or cure sleep apnea. Nasal CPAP is the most ‘natural’ of treatments, relatively speaking, as CPAP uses only humidified room air to treat your sleep apnea and suppress your snoring.
“What are the common side-effects of CPAP?”
Common side-effects include nasal irritation and nasal dryness. Nasal irritation is usually an indication of poor bedroom air quality and can be reduced with regular cleaning and natural air purification with certain house plants. Use of petroleum jelly within the nares prior to putting your nasal CPAP mask on can temporarily reduce irritation. Nasal dryness can be reduced by adjusting your CPAP machine’s built-in humidifier. A less common side-effect is abdominal discomfort or excess flatulence upon waking (‘aerophagia’), which can be reduced with elevated or lateral sleep but may require adjustment of your CPAP settings by your treating physician or healthcare provider. Shortness of breath and chest pain upon waking are rare side-effects which require follow-up with your treating physician or healthcare provider.