Alternatives to CPAP

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Tom

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Over the years, I've read about various alternatives to CPAP machines for dealing with sleep apnea. One acquaintance had surgery, and declared he was "a new man". I recently became aware of this option offered by a dentist. Anyone have experience with this or similar devices?
 

DearMissMermaid

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I don't use a CPAP. When I was told I might need one, I was freaked out because I didn't think I could sleep with that contraption. I know other folks love their CPAP but I was searching for alternatives.

I cured my snoring and apnea through sheer luck.

1-Eliminated alcohol
2-Gargle with salt water several times a day (exercises that flap in the throat and as a bonus reduces the chance of choking on food, another problem I used to have)
3-Sleep on side instead of back, even when I do sleep on back, I am told I do not snore anymore. YAY!

I am one of the lucky ones!

I think gargling has been the biggest help for many cures. I used to sometimes start choking while eating and that was scary. Also I snored. Once I started gargling every day, both problems went away.

I use these stemless plastic wine glasses for mixing salt and warm/hot water. They swirl around fast and easily dissolving the salt without spilling the contents. The ones I have are unbreakable so no worries in the bath or kitchen.

The ones I use are from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0178GUY8Q/

I also use pure pink Himalyan sea salt, I love the flavor (I use it for cooking and eating too) and it gargles up nicely.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005MER0RA/

This has also helped chronic sinus problems I used to have that also went away. I figure the salt gargle may have helped that too as sometimes after gargling I have to blow my nose and then I breathe nicely all night long and my sleep is much improved.

This worked for me, and it might work for you, might not. But gargling is fast and quick.  8)
 

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Tom

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Thanks. I have another reason(s) I should gargle, so I'll give it a try.
 

John From Detroit

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Davison Michigan
When I was in hospital with heart issues the Cardiologist and my Primary both insisted I had Sleep Apnea and needed a CPAP.. Well we went for the sleep study and they found.. NOPE.

(The pulmonologist did not think I had that problem. I mean it's his jurisdiction. but the others did not listen to him so.._)

They explained the problem as this. When you sleep and your muscles relax your tongue falls back and blocks your air passages...  (Much simplified version).. Well I can not sleep on my back due to other issues. So i sleep face down and to the side... Gravity works great :)
 

Tom

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Aye John, whatever works to keep the flap from closing the airway. I can't sleep face down.
 

Koodog

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With Healthcare now being a business it's easy to see how CPAP is just another money making product.
Outrageous costs for equipment and supplies. An ongoing money stream just in replacement components.
Interesting how it's stressed to replace filters, hoses, masks, ect.
We no longer treat the illness, only the symptoms.
Can't make money is one fixes the problem.
As I'm getting older and the machine breaks more often it's been a real eye opener !
 

Rene T

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This is garranteed to work:  :eek: ::) :-[ :-\ ;D

https://www.google.com/search?source=hp&ei=Hk7cW8L3N4uSzwKdtKjgCg&q=tracheal+tube&oq=trachea+tube&gs_l=psy-ab.1.0.0i10l10.1123.5163..7695...0.0..0.142.1240.8j4....2..0....1..gws-wiz.......0j0i131.qB0G3nXNcpY
 

Gizmo100

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Tom said:
Over the years, I've read about various alternatives to CPAP machines for dealing with sleep apnea. One acquaintance had surgery, and declared he was "a new man". I recently became aware of this option offered by a dentist. Anyone have experience with this or similar devices?

I worked for a medical supply company and I can tell you that at least 1/3 of the C-Pap PT's. would not have needed a C-Pap if they would have made some life changes.

I think it will all depend on the root causes of the sleep apnea. I would consult with your doctor. Some of the PT's need for a C-PAP were very real and life saving. A good measure of this was the prescribed pressure settings.

DearMissMermaid listed some good advise. I would also add weight loss (If needed).

All of that said..in the D.M.E. business C-PAP's can generate profits but we made more money on hospital beds and oxygen concentrates.
 

Punomatic

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Tom, I am a retired dentist. I have both made and used appliances similar to the one you linked to. So, FWIW:
[list type=decimal]
[*]This appliance will help to keep the airway open, i.e., reduce snoring/sleep apnea.
[*]The biggest problem I have had with this style was with one I purchased. It had a hole in the front for you to breathe through. Unfortunately, I ended up with a very dry mouth every night.
[*]I made a simple one out of two athletic mouth guards bonded together back to back with no air hole. That solved the dry mouth problem.
[*]Finally, because this appliance displaces the condyle of the mandible in the Temporo Mandibular Joint (TMJ=lower jaw joint), you will probably find that your upper and lower teeth don't seem to come together properly in the morning for some time after you remove the appliance. If you have had any problems at all with your TMJ, I would recommend you have this type of appliance custom made by a dentist who specializes in treatment of snoring/sleep apnea, rather than buying OTC.
[/list]
 

Tom

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[quote author=Punomatic]... I am a retired dentist. I have both made and used appliances similar to the one you linked to. So, FWIW:[/quote]
A big thanks for that info. I'd put this on the back burner after receiving an input from from one dentist that "nothing can replace your CPAP machine". In the last week, I received a flyer from another dentist (here at our winter retreat in the MidWest) specializing in these devices, and did some research on his web site before making a planned phone call. I was directed to some reviews of 3 types of appliance, including the one you mentioned, and came away convinced that none of the three options would work for me.

I threw away the flyer, didn't make the phone call, and resigned myself to continuing use of the CPAP machine, until seeing your post. Now I'm confused  ???
 

Bill N

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Another educational thread.  I have learned that because I am a side/face down sleeper my chances of needing a CPAP are probably pretty slim. As it is I would have to figure how to use it AND the oxygen cannula that I currently use.  Thanks Tom and all others who contributed.

Bill
 

garyb1st

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Sorry if I missed it but can someone tell me what health condition causes difficulty breathing at night and the need for a C-pap machine.  I've seen it come up numerous times on the forum and am thinking maybe I need some help.  If I'm not able to sleep with a window open and fan blowing directly on me it can be difficult to get enough air to breath.  This is more of a problem traveling when we can't open the bedroom slide.  Also much more of a problem during the summer when the temps are higher. 

Never connected it with drinking but MissMeraid may have something regarding alcohol.  I quit drinking 8 months ago for financial reasons.  I'm cheap and was drinking almost a bottle of wine a night.  ;)  Actually It was like taking a sleeping pill.  Only problem I'd wake up after a few hours with a headache.  Long story short, my sleeping has improved quite a bit since.  I quit candy about a month ago since I'm trying to lose some of the 35 lbs I've gained since RVing.  I quit smoking more than 35 years ago.  Relatively easy as was quitting alcohol.  But quitting sugar, that's a huge problem.  The craving is less but I'm still thinking of my favorite candy and ice cream.  Aside from sleeping, I'm pretty sure the extra weight is contributing to my growing back problems.  Then again I never connected the weight with difficulty breathing.  So maybe another benefit from losing weight.  Time will tell.
 

Lowell

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What prompted me to go in for the sleep test is that I would come awake in my bed and my heart would be beating very fast.  I first went to a cardiologist and after a EKG, sonogram and stress test showed no problems with my heart, the cardiologist suggested I get a sleep test. He said perhaps if one stopped breathing, the brain sent a shot of adrenaline to the heart that was causing the rapid beating.

When I went to the sleep lab and spent the first night, I was told that I had stopped breathing 49 times in one hour.    The sleep lab scheduled a second test and this test was with a CPAP machine hooked up the whole night.  I was told that I was prescribed a CPAP machine but am still awaiting the place to call me to schedule a time to pick up the machine and be taught how to use it.
 

Punomatic

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garyb1st said:
Sorry if I missed it but can someone tell me what health condition causes difficulty breathing at night and the need for a C-pap machine.  I've seen it come up numerous times on the forum and am thinking maybe I need some help.  If I'm not able to sleep with a window open and fan blowing directly on me it can be difficult to get enough air to breath.  This is more of a problem traveling when we can't open the bedroom slide.  Also much more of a problem during the summer when the temps are higher. 

Never connected it with drinking but MissMeraid may have something regarding alcohol.  I quit drinking 8 months ago for financial reasons.  I'm cheap and was drinking almost a bottle of wine a night.  ;)  Actually It was like taking a sleeping pill.  Only problem I'd wake up after a few hours with a headache.  Long story short, my sleeping has improved quite a bit since.  I quit candy about a month ago since I'm trying to lose some of the 35 lbs I've gained since RVing.  I quit smoking more than 35 years ago.  Relatively easy as was quitting alcohol.  But quitting sugar, that's a huge problem.  The craving is less but I'm still thinking of my favorite candy and ice cream.  Aside from sleeping, I'm pretty sure the extra weight is contributing to my growing back problems.  Then again I never connected the weight with difficulty breathing.  So maybe another benefit from losing weight.  Time will tell.

Hey, Garyb1st, DISCLAIMER: I am not a sleep expert! OTOH, I am a retired dentist and have struggled some with sleep issues. The primary concern in this problem area is sleep apnea (lack of breathing). Some of the things you mentioned can definitely contribute to sleep problems. 
[list type=decimal]
[*] Excessive weight contributes because the tissues in the head and neck region become enlarged. When that happens the spaces surrounded by those tissues become smaller. CPAP, jaw-repositioning appliances and other breathing aids are designed to help open those passages mechanically. CPAP forces air through the passages under pressure rather than the body drawing air into the lungs via vacuum pressure, which tends to close the relaxed airway. The appliances reposition the jaw, which advances the tongue so that it doesn't close off the airway when it relaxes and drops back during sleep.
[*]Alcohol contributes to sleep apnea (and snoring, which is my main problem...or perhaps, I should say it is DW's main problem!) in that it relaxes the tissues surrounding the airway, making them flabby and more likely to block the airway. DW (a life-long non-sleeper) also finds that, whereas a little wine helps her go to sleep, she awakens later either with headache or restlessness that prevents her falling back to sleep.
[*]Smoking contributes by irritating the tissues along with all the other negatives associated with it.
[*] I have never seen any references in the literature to sugar intake directly leading to sleep apnea, but there are enough problems associated with refined sugar intake that I applaud your efforts to reduce your intake. Indirectly, of course, excessive sugar intake can exacerbate the weight problem.
[/list]
Your description of needing the window open and a fan blowing on you sounds suspiciously like an indication that your are experiencing compromised air flow during sleep, if not sleep apnea. I would recommend you continue your weight loss plan and look into having a sleep study done. Be aware that sleep apnea contributes to heart disease, so it is well worth exploring. BTW, I have lost 45 lbs in the last year using a phone app called Lose-It. If you don't already have a specific weight loss plan underway, you might check it out. Good luck, and congrats on giving up cigarettes and alcohol.
 

Punomatic

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Tom said:
Now I'm confused  ???
Oh, no! I hope I didn't throw a monkey wrench in the works. PM me if I can help clarify something I wrote or otherwise shed some light on the subject.
 

garyb1st

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Punomatic, I thought I had sleep apnea 25 years ago and went to UCLA for testing.  Interestingly, the technician thought I might have it, but the Docs said no.  Don't recall what followed but for most of my life, I've had problems sleeping. 

By the way, I was married to a Dentist for almost 10 years.  She was educated in South America, then certified as a DDS after attending classes at USC.  Aside from being a real bear to live with, she was probably the best dentist I ever went to.  Continued to work on my teeth for many years after our divorce. 
 

Daffy

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BFE Illinois
Koodog said:
With Healthcare now being a business it's easy to see how CPAP is just another money making product.
Outrageous costs for equipment and supplies. An ongoing money stream just in replacement components.
Interesting how it's stressed to replace filters, hoses, masks, ect.
We no longer treat the illness, only the symptoms.
Can't make money is one fixes the problem.
As I'm getting older and the machine breaks more often it's been a real eye opener !

This ^^^^^
ten fold.
Try still being a working stiff, I can tell many on here are not.. God bless you.

Keeping a DOT Medical Card has become a challenge.

If you go to the sawbones with an issue I'm sure when they ask you what insurance you have it lights up the list of available testing that can be performed via the ins company. Battling to get my blood pressure under control to keep my card right now and even though I had a clear "OSCOPY" 2 years ago they want further testing in that area.

You really have to become your own patients advocate anymore and stay educated to the ever changing methods.
 

catblaster

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Bill N said:
Another educational thread.  I have learned that because I am a side/face down sleeper my chances of needing a CPAP are probably pretty slim. As it is I would have to figure how to use it AND the oxygen cannula that I currently use.  Thanks Tom and all others who contributed.

Bill

  I was also a face down or to the side sleeper until my first heart attack and they realized I stop breathing several times depending on conditions. My CPAP machines are continually improving from a CPAP to a BIPAP, next an AVAP and finally an IVAP.  No testing necessary for the new IVAP, it senses pressures and wave fluctuations and adjusts, also has remote monitoring so the first night a tech goes over the information and make manual adjustments to the machines parameters.
    Before xplant I was on oxy (15L) and the solution is very simple, there is a tee fitting added to the hose at the machine and the oxy line attaches there. If you get up in the night you detach the hose and connect to your cannula. I quickly learned that too much oxy at night can cause a person to stop breathing since the body sees its oxy level as satisfactory and slows down breathing too much. This is where an IVAP comes into play. When it sees no breath being taken it will sent a pulse of air to remind the body it needs to breath.....so far it works every time.  Best solution for this is to follow advice and cut back on oxy flow at night when the need is not as great.Also a water tank and heater is a necessity since the oxygen will dry out sinuses to the point of bleeding.


Lowell said:
What prompted me to go in for the sleep test is that I would come awake in my bed and my heart would be beating very fast.  I first went to a cardiologist and after a EKG, sonogram and stress test showed no problems with my heart, the cardiologist suggested I get a sleep test. He said perhaps if one stopped breathing, the brain sent a shot of adrenaline to the heart that was causing the rapid beating.

When I went to the sleep lab and spent the first night, I was told that I had stopped breathing 49 times in one hour.    The sleep lab scheduled a second test and this test was with a CPAP machine hooked up the whole night.  I was told that I was prescribed a CPAP machine but am still awaiting the place to call me to schedule a time to pick up the machine and be taught how to use it.

    When there are times I use my old BIPAP machine the same thing happens. Waking up in a panic with my heart pounding.  After two or three times in one session I refuse to sleep and stay awake until I can get to my other machine (IVAP).

  If you are eligible for VA benefits they will provide a state of the art machine and consumables.
 
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