It’s not uncommon to dislike CPAP. In fact, nearly half of the people prescribed CPAP as a treatment for sleep apnea don’t use it regularly. The long-term compliance rate of CPAP use is barely 54%. This is bad news for people suffering from sleep apnea. Without treatment, their associated health risks will continue to rise and their symptoms won’t improve.
Top Complaints About CPAP
So why is long-term compliance so low with CPAP? There are many reasons. Here are some of the top complaints of CPAP users.
The number one complaint of CPAP users is that wearing CPAP is uncomfortable. This is completely understandable because CPAP requires users to wear a mask that’s connected to a hose and device. Most people don’t find that wearing a plastic mask over your face is the most comfortable way to sleep at night. CPAP is supposed to help you sleep better but due to how uncomfortable it is, it’s difficult to fall asleep wearing it. It’s a double-edged sword.
There’s Too Much Air Pressure
Another complaint of CPAP wearers is that CPAP gives too much air pressure. If the pressure is too high, it can make wearing your mask even more uncomfortable. You can use a ramp feature to start your pressure lower at the beginning of the night and then gradually increase it until it reaches its ideal pressure. This may help reduce discomfort when you’re trying to fall asleep.
The Mask Leaks
If your mask leaks, you’re not getting the full air pressure you need to treat your sleep apnea at night. A leaky mask is usually from it not fitting correctly, either because it’s the wrong size or because the straps and pads need adjustment.
It’s Inconvenient For Travel
If you ever plan to travel anywhere, don’t forget to lug your CPAP with you. Otherwise, you’re going to feel drained after every night of poor sleep. CPAP is highly inconvenient to travel with because it’s bulky. You can also say goodbye to ever going camping or being away from electricity.
It Makes You Feel Claustrophobic
If you already have claustrophobia, wearing CPAP won’t help. Some people are able to get over their fear by wearing their masks during the day to get used to it, but for some, they aren’t able to relax while wearing the mask due to their claustrophobia.
It Causes Dry and Stuffy Noses
The continuous air pressure from CPAP will result in a very dry or stuffy nose. This can feel incredibly uncomfortable during the day. However, using the humidifier setting on the CPAP can help as well as using a saline spray in your nose before going to bed.
It’s Hard to Fall Asleep
Another common complaint of CPAP wearers is how difficult it is to fall asleep wearing it. If you feel uncomfortable when you lay in bed, how would you be able to fall asleep? CPAP should help you get a better night of sleep but if you can never fall asleep due to discomfort, it’s counterproductive.
It Can Cause Skin Irritation and Pressure Sores
CPAP wearers also complain about experiencing skin irritation from wearing the mask. This is common when the mask fits too tight. It can also cause pressure sores which might look embarrassing or feel painful. Those with sensitive skin might also experience acne from wearing CPAP.
It’s Embarrassing or Annoying to Partners
If your new partner is staying the night for the first time, you might feel embarrassed about putting on your CPAP mask. Some partners might also find CPAP to be too loud to listen to, although they’re normally as quiet as a whisper. Regardless, CPAP can disrupt your partner’s sleep or feel embarrassing to wear.
Do any of these complaints sound familiar to you? If so, find out how you can benefit from our CPAP alternative at Bite Align in Fort Atkinson.
How Oral Appliance Therapy is Different
Oral appliance therapy provides all the same health benefits as CPAP, but it doesn’t come with all the complaints. Oral appliance therapy involves wearing a device in your mouth that’s similar to a mouth guard while you sleep. The device will reposition your jaw to support it and hold open your airway. The device prevents your soft tissue from collapsing and obstructing your airway while you sleep.
Oral appliances are discreet, effective, and most importantly, comfortable to wear. When patients transition from CPAP to oral appliances, they often wish they switched sooner.
One of the oral appliances we offer at our practice is the DNA Appliance. This appliance is designed to reshape your jaw to enhance the size of your airway and allow for better airflow. The appliance can also help improve facial proportions and improve TMJ disorders.
After wearing the appliance for around a year, you may no longer need any type of treatment for sleep apnea because the underlying problem was addressed.
If you’re unhappy with CPAP and you’re searching for an alternative sleep apnea treatment in Fort Atkinson, please contact us to book an appointment with Dr. Stafford for a consultation by calling (920) 563-7323. Dr. Stafford will help you find a treatment you find the best oral appliance for your needs.