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2 New Sleep Apnea Treatments That Allow Some Patients To Skip CPAP Therapy

by Camila Davidson

If you suffer from sleep apnea and currently use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to manage this sleep disorder, then you may find that this machine does not completely eliminate your sleep apnea symptoms, or you may simply dislike wearing the machine face mask at night. 

Thankfully, there are now two new sleep apnea treatments that allow some sleep apnea sufferers to skip the use of a CPAP machine and other nighttime breathing appliances altogether. Read on to learn about these two new alternative sleep apnea treatments and how they work. 

1. Prescription Tongue Muscle Stimulation Device

Some sleep specialists now offer their patients who suffer from mild obstructive sleep apnea the option to use a prescription tongue muscle stimulation device to help control their sleep apnea symptoms. This device that was recently FDA-approved is not worn at night, but instead just once a day for about 20 minutes. The appliance is designed to improve tongue muscle function around the clock to prevent the tongue from slipping into a position that partially blocks airways at night. 

To use the device, a patient simply inserts the silicone mouthpiece into their mouth and positions the four electrodes on the device along the top and the bottom of the tongue. As the device is left in place for about 20 minutes, it repeatedly sends electrical pulses to the tongue muscles. 

A study revealed that the majority of people suffering from mild obstructive sleep apnea who used the device for just six weeks experienced about a 48-percent reduction in their sleep apnea symptoms. 

2. Neuro-Stimulation Therapy

If you suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnea, then neuro-stimulation therapy may be a better alternative sleep apnea treatment option for you.

There are two types of sleep apnea neuro-stimulation treatment: while traditional neuro-stimulation therapy helps control central sleep apnea, hypoglossal neuro-stimulation therapy helps control obstructive sleep apnea, These sleep apnea treatments both require the implantation of a device in your body that sends impulses to specific parts of the body that control or affect breathing to help control sleep apnea symptoms. 

A traditional neuro-stimulation device is implanted under the skin of the upper chest. The two small wires, or leads, attached to the device are then connected to a nerve in your chest that controls breathing. One wire senses the breaths you are taking naturally, while the other sends a signal to this nerve to stimulate an additional breath when necessary. 

While a hypoglossal neuro-stimulation device is also implanted under the skin of the upper chest or clavicle, the leads of this device are instead attached to the hypoglossal nerve that can stimulate tongue movements and another nerve that senses your breathing pattern. To control sleep apnea, this device triggers the tongue to protrude forward when it is determined to be blocking airways. 

To find the best sleep apnea treatment for you, visit a sleep clinic, such as Upstate Sleep Solutions.