Sleep apnea is a potentially deadly condition. Even before its fatal complications, it can tremendously reduce the quality of life of everyone in the household. Fortunately, sleep apnea is also very treatable.
When your spouse has been suffering from sleep apnea, a diagnosis and treatment option can seem like a godsend to you. However, that godsend can quickly turn into a curse when they won’t use their CPAP and it becomes just one more thing to fight about, as they offer all kinds of excuses. And their moodiness from lack of sleep makes the fights escalate. So what can you do? Here are some steps to try to help them get sleep apnea treatment that will benefit everyone in the home.
Help Them Understand How Important They Are to You
If you want to keep CPAP from being another source of conflict, always use love to frame the discussion. Let your spouse know how much you love them and how much you will miss them if they die, which is much more likely for people with untreated sleep apnea.
Talk about the things you are looking forward to doing with them. Also emphasize the quality-of-life benefits for them, including more energy, better mood, and improved sexual function. Help them understand the benefits of treating sleep apnea. Understanding these benefits is one of the key determinants in whether people will continue CPAP or not.
Help Them Give CPAP an Honest Trial
Many people fail with CPAP because neither they nor their doctor do the work necessary to make it succeed. Help your spouse get the best CPAP mask for them and the right accessories. Help them establish the proper routine for trying CPAP every night. The more they try it, the more likely they are to see the benefits, and the more likely they are to stick with it.
Support from a partner can tremendously increase the odds of successfully adhering to CPAP treatment. If you want them to use their CPAP, you have to provide that support. Or, if you’re unwilling or unable, you can encourage them to get support from CPAP groups and programs designed to help.
Encourage Them to Get a Second Opinion
On the other hand, CPAP is just not for everyone. Despite everyone’s best efforts, only about a third of all CPAP users are still using the device after a year. Without long-term treatment, people with sleep apnea will lapse back into their old symptoms.
You know your spouse better than anyone. It will likely be clear to you early on if your spouse just won’t adapt to CPAP no matter what. And if that’s the case, then it’s time to seek another solution.
Fortunately, there is a good, nonsurgical alternative to CPAP that works for most people. Oral appliance therapy can be as effective as CPAP, but it’s much more convenient and comfortable. Over 90% of people who use oral appliance therapy stick with it, and that makes it much more likely that your spouse and your entire household will see the benefit of treating sleep apnea.
Even if your spouse’s doctor prescribed CPAP, they might be a good candidate for oral appliance therapy. To find out, you need to get a second opinion from a sleep dentist.
An Alternative to CPAP in Omaha
If your spouse isn’t adapting to CPAP and you want to learn whether they’re a good candidate for oral appliance therapy, we can offer a second opinion. We can evaluate the cause of their sleep apnea and see if it will respond to oral appliance therapy. Then we can design a custom oral appliance for their comfort and successful treatment.