A sleep doctor in Denver is trying out a new approach to the problem of poor CPAP compliance. He is showing his patients videos of themselves during a sleep study, so they can see just how much they are struggling for breath during the night. Initial results are encouraging, but we can’t help but wonder whether some doctors are too obsessed with making CPAP work and not acknowledging that there are other effective treatment options.
Improving CPAP Compliance
CPAP is, of course, a very good sleep apnea treatment, with one major caveat: many–even most–people don’t use it as much as they should. Uncomfortable and inconvenient, despite the significant risks of sleep apnea, many people leave their CPAP machine unused many nights.
Part of the problem may be that people don’t really know how severe the problem is. By watching themselves sleep, and how much they struggle for breath through the night, people realize just how serious their condition is. Dr. Mark Aloia describes the importance of the video component, saying, “Seeing is believing,” and he thinks that this procedure may lead to increased CPAP compliance.
However, we’re not sure about the effectiveness of the treatment because it hasn’t been fully tested yet. Dr. Aloia is planning a 300-person study to show the effectiveness of his technique, but there may be another way. By making sleep apnea treatment more comfortable and convenient, we can also increase compliance.
A More Comfortable Alternative
Part of the blame for a lack of CPAP compliance has to be laid on the machine itself, which is a potentially bulky, uncomfortable, and inconvenient device. As an effective treatment for sleep apnea, CPAP certainly needs to be considered, but it’s important for doctors to remember that there are other options, such as oral appliance therapy.
If your doctor doesn’t seem to know about these other options, or if he doesn’t give them enough attention, it may be up to you to find out about them.
If you are looking for a more comfortable and convenient sleep apnea treatment, please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.