Sleep apnea leads to a lot of problems. In the short run, you could face irritability, fatigue, and loss of concentration. You are more likely to get into accidents and lose focus at work. In the long run, you might have to deal with high blood pressure, depression, weight gain, heart disease, and more. Sleep apnea is a serious problem.
Sometimes, the cure is worse than the disease. Many doctors will prescribe a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine to treat sleep apnea. Does it work? Normally, yes. However, there are hidden dangers to using a CPAP machine. That’s why we do not recommend sleep apnea machines at our Nashua, NH dental office.
What Is A CPAP Machine?
Many times, sleep apnea is caused by the muscles around your throat collapsing your windpipe as you sleep. All of your muscles relax when you sleep. In this disorder, your throat muscles relax too much. Their weight closes your airway, forcing you to wake up in a panic.
CPAP machines fight this by increasing the air pressure in your windpipe. You wear a mask connected to a machine by a hose. The machine pushes air into you. This builds up air pressure strong enough to keep your airway open despite your throat muscles. It helps you stay asleep and can even stop snoring.
Hidden Problems With CPAP Machines
- Dry mouth: All of that air pushing through your mouth bleeds away moisture. Your mouth will probably go dry. Saliva is necessary to help wash acid and food particles away from your teeth and gums. With dry mouth, that’s not happening anymore.
- Skin irritation: You have to wear that mask over your mouth and throat. That means it will be rubbing up against your skin all night long. If you have the wrong size mask (too small or too big), you could be irritating your skin. Some people have had allergic reactions to the mask and straps as well. Wearing a CPAP machine at night can cause skin problems.
- Sinusitis: CPAP machines gently push normal air through your windpipe. This means air is also being pushed through your throat and up into your nose and sinuses. That’s not normal. If the air has any germs or bacteria, these can get into your sinus cavities. Because your sinuses are warm and wet, they’re perfect places for bacteria to grow. You can get an infection known as sinusitis with CPAP machines.
- Nose problems: Even if you do not get sinusitis, all of that dry air pushed by the CPAP machine can cause nasal problems. You can suffer from allergy-like symptoms: sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion. Some people can even get nosebleeds from the dry air.
- CPAP germs: One way to combat nasal problems is by adding a humidifier to your CPAP machine. With moist air, you’re less likely to irritate your nose, throat, and sinuses. However, there is a new danger with this humidifier. Bacteria and germs love moisture. If your CPAP hose and mask are damp from humidity, they’re more likely to harbor germs. You could be breathing in germs every night.
- Stomach problems: Keeping positive air pressure in your windpipe means pushing air into you. You’ll end up breathing almost all of it. Some can slip into your stomach. By morning, you can wake up feeling bloated and even nauseous.
- Loss of sleep: Yes, the machine designed to help you sleep can cause you to lose sleep. That’s because it can be uncomfortable to wear. Many of us roll around a bit as we sleep, including on our sides. With a mask over your face, how will you do that? Then there’s the noise. Some people have trouble sleeping because the machine itself makes noise all night long.
A Better Alternative From Our Nashua, NH Dental Office
Not every patient needs a CPAP machine to relieve sleep apnea. Instead, we can offer an oral appliance. This sleep apnea device is similar to an athletic mouthpiece. It fits comfortably over your teeth and adjusts your jaw position slightly. This helps keep your airway open, ending the snoring and allowing you get rest you need. Which would you prefer: a small thing worn over your teeth, or a mask and hose worn over half of your face?
If you are ready to put a stop to sleep apnea, call us today at 603-546-7460 for a new appointment.