This is the second post in a two-part series about sleep apnea in women. Read the first post.
Diagnosing sleep apnea
Traditionally, you do a sleep study at a clinic in order to diagnose apnea. However, a home device called AccuSom® is now available for easy home diagnosis! Your insurance may even cover it, with a prescription. If not, it’s relatively inexpensive compared to a sleep study. In addition, you’re much more likely to feel comfortable at home. Find out about this home device. I recently registered with this company to order this device for patients, and I’m eager to try it out.
First-line treatment: CPAP, weight loss, repositioning
If you have severe apnea, then you may need a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure breathing machine), which requires a mask. However, not everyone with apnea needs to go right to a CPAP machine! There are many other options.
Mild to moderate cases can respond to:
Tonsilectomy (usually in children)
Repositioning to lie on your side
Winx device for mild to moderate apnea
If you have mild to moderate apnea, you may want to try this Winx device. This meta-anaylsis reported a 42.6 % reduction in the apnea index. It does not require a mask, so it tends to be more comfortable than CPAP. Your sleep specialist can order this machine for you, or you can actually purchase this device directly on your own, from the company.
Myofunctional tongue exercises
Myofunctional Therapy tongue exercises is another option. This meta-analysis reports that Myofunctional Therapy decreases the apnea index by 50% in adults and 62% in children. Low oxygen saturation, snoring, and sleepiness improve in adults. The folks who do this therapy can be from the dental profession, such as hygienists. Other types of therapists also train in this method, such as Occupational Therapists. Here is a good resource to find a practitioner.
Expiratory positive airway pressure nasal devices (EPAP) are a simple nasal “attachment,” as pictured here. This review reports patients generally prefer EPAP to CPAP, and there are no adverse effects. Patients with mild to moderate OSA who do not tolerate CPAP are appropriate candidates for EPAP.
This 2015 review of research reports that EPAP does not completely eliminate OSA, but does improve outcomes. The devices are highly portable and easy to use. EPAP might be an alternative for OSA patients who are intolerant to CPAP, in circumstances without electricity, on short trips away from home, and for those with mild or position-dependent OSA. Provent is a well-known brand. All EPAP devices require a prescription, which usually comes from a sleep specialist.
Tongue retaining devices (TRD)
This 2017 meta-analysis reports that tongue retaining devices reduce the apnea index by 53%, and provide a statistically effective alternative treatment option for OSA. These devices hold the tongue in a fixed position, so that it does not obstruct your airway. One of the most famous tongue stabilizing device is Good Morning Snore Solution, which is an anti-snoring and sleep apnea aid approved by the FDA as a medical device. I recommend seeing a dentist who can make a custom device.
Mandibular advancement devices (MAD)
This study reports the application of MAD significantly improved sleep respiration and quality, in patients with OSA, even with severe OSA. MAD can be a good alternative treatment, regardless of severity because it is noninvasive, easy to manufacture, and has good results. See a dentist who specialized in this device.
Review of devices for sleep apnea
The American Sleep Association reviews the various mouth and tongue devices approved for sleep apnea, and you can read more here.
I hope you find this post useful! Read the first post.