According to Kathleen Bennett, DDS and president of the AADSM, “more than 25 million adults in the United States suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, and up to 50 percent of sleep apnea patients do not adhere to the continuous positive airway pressure machine and mask recommended as a first line of treatment.” That means these patients are CPAP Intolerant, or noncompliant.
Often times, patients who stop using their CPAP therapy complain of claustrophobic or allergic reactions to using the mask. They report problems with the tubing, noise from the machine or mask leakage, or even complaints from their bed partners.
Untreated OSA is dangerous. Numerous studies have linked untreated OSA to potentially life-threatening chronic health problems. These problems may include hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia, obesity, depression and impotence. Also, dangerous behaviors including drowsy driving and workplace accidents if left unchecked. The point is, these patients need to know their options before they bring harm to themselves, or to others around them.
Patients absolutely need to know other options, if they cannot successfully treat their sleep apnea with a CPAP. Yes, the CPAP is still considered the “gold standard” for treating OSA, however, the future of the oral device appliance looks equally promising and effective. If you have patients who are CPAP Intolerant, do a public service, and show them other options, such as oral appliance therapy. www.sleepgs.com for more info.