What Is CPAP Intolerance?

person sleeping with cpap mask on

What Is CPAP Intolerance?

If you suffer from sleep apnea, a condition marked by interrupted breathing during sleep, your physician most likely recommended using a CPAP machine. However, not all patients can tolerate using CPAP devices consistently. 

At TMJ and Sleep Solutions of Alabama, Dr. Amy Hartsfield has already helped many CPAP-intolerant patients find relief for their sleep apnea, and her team wants to help you! Read on to learn more about CPAP machines for sleep apnea, CPAP intolerance, and alternatives that really work.

What Is CPAP?

CPAP (short for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines generate a consistent flow of air that passes through a hose and into a patient’s airway via a mask or nosepiece during sleep, facilitating regular breathing. 

CPAPs are the most common method of treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) or sleep breathing disorders, but there are other effective options available for patients with CPAP intolerance.

What Is CPAP Intolerance?

Patients may have a CPAP intolerance for a variety of reasons, including:

  • An ill-fitting mask. A mask that does not fit correctly or leaks often leads to an unpleasant experience. 
  • Uncomfortable accessories. CPAP machines often require straps and headgear that may cause discomfort for some, lead to restricted movements for others, and hinder the patient’s sleep. 
  • Noisy machine. Constant sounds from the machine may disturb the rest of either the patient or their bed partner.

Other side effects may include: nasal congestion, nosebleeds, dry mouth, and skin irritation from latex allergies. It’s also common for CPAP wearers to feel claustrophobic or overstimulated.

If a patient experiences any of the listed reasons while attempting CPAP therapy, they experience CPAP intolerance. Neglecting obstructive sleep apnea should be avoided, so even if you’ve already ditched the CPAP, it’s time to seek alternatives.

What Are Alternatives to CPAP?

If you suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) or sleep-disordered breathing, it is essential you still follow through with treatment, even if you are CPAP intolerant. There are alternatives to CPAP machines available.

A helpful alternative for sleep apnea with CPAP intolerance is OAT or Oral Appliance Therapy. This treatment consists of wearing an oral appliance (that looks similar to an orthodontic retainer) as you sleep. These oral appliances are custom-made and work by stabilizing your mandible in a slightly forward position to maintain an open airway. 

CPAP intolerance

You should only receive CPAP intolerance-friendly OAT from a dentist who is board certified in dental sleep medicine. They have completed additional training and courses to fit and titrate the appropriate appliances for each patient properly. 

In addition to advice from your medical provider, you may also consider other methods of combating sleep apnea. Lifestyle adjustments, such as losing weight, positional sleep therapy, or cutting back on alcohol consumption, may effectively alleviate cases of sleep apnea. However, more severe cases may benefit from combination therapy or surgery.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, CPAP intolerance, or any other sleep-related condition, do not hesitate to seek help immediately.

We appreciate your reading to become more informed about CPAP intolerance; we hope we have provided some helpful resources to think on. For more expert advice on sleep apnea and other causes of sleeplessness, check out our other blogs and contact our experts in sleep solutions today!