Devices to Help You Manage Sleep Apnea - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on September 03, 2013

Devices to Help You Manage Sleep Apnea

If you were to suddenly stop breathing at random times during the day, you’d probably do something about it, right? Well, you should also do the same if you have this issue when you’re sleeping at night.

Those with sleep apnea, a condition that causes people to stop breathing for periods of time during the night, shouldn’t take the issue lightly. Yet many who have been diagnosed with this particular sleep disorder don’t get the treatment they need.

Sleep apnea not only has the ability to prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, it can also cause a variety of health issues as a result. “The consequences of untreated sleep apnea include daytime sleepiness, accidents, and even mood disorders,” says Michael Weinstein, M.D., medical director of the Crozer-Keystone Sleep Center at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. Weinstein says it can also lead to high blood pressure, memory loss, depression, heart issues, liver problems and, in some cases, even death.

Fortunately, there are a variety of different treatment options available to those with sleep apnea. “Weight loss, positional therapy, surgery, and oral appliances are some of the most common recommendations for patients,” Weinstein says.

You can also improve your breathing by using some devices designed to increase airway pressure in those with sleep apnea, which can be prescribed by your doctor. While they may not be the most comfortable, the benefits definitely outweigh the initial discomfort you might feel at first. Here are some of the options:

  • CPAP Machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy): A CPAP works by increasing the air pressure in the throat so the airway doesn’t collapse when you breathe, which occurs in those with obstructive sleep apnea. CPAPs typically require the user to wear a mask that provides a single level of air pressure to keep the throat open throughout the night.

  • Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure Machine: Similar to the CPAP, which increases the air pressure to prevent the airway from collapsing, the Bilevel uses two different air pressures, one for breathing in and one for breathing out. This is often a more comfortable option for patients.

  • APAP Machine (Auto-titrating Continuous Positive Airway Pressure): This machine also works the same way as the CPAP, but can automatically decrease or increase air pressure as needed, providing optimum comfort for users.

  • Winx: This new device is an alternative to the typical CPAP and BiPAP machines, as it does not require the user to wear a mask. It instead works by creating a suction that pulls the soft palate and tongue forward to open up the airway passage to ensure continuous breathing throughout the night.

  • Provent Patch: Another new treatment for sleep apnea, this patch works by using the user’s own breathing to create enough pressure to open up the airway passage. Here’s how it works: The patch contains two small plugs that fit over each nostril, and each plug contains two pinhole-size valves. Since the valves provide some resistance when the user exhales, it creates pressure in the airways that causes the muscles to dilate instead of collapse. While this doesn’t work for everyone, it can be a good alternative to the machines.

For more information, visit Crozer-Keystone’s website at http://sleepcenters.crozerkeystone.org. Crozer-Keystone offers a multidisciplinary approach to the identification and treatment of all types of adult and pediatric sleep disorders. To make an appointment, visit our website or call 1-888-SLEEP-03 (1-888-753-3703).

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