CPAP machines are widely known as one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea. However, they are not the only option. There are also dental appliances and medications you can rely on. If your doctor has recommended CPAP or you are considering it yourself, it is therefore important to consider the pros and cons of using CPAP for sleep apnea treatment.
Pro: CPAP is common and well-researched.
Some sleep apnea treatments are newer, not as well researched, and therefore more likely to cause side effects you and your doctor may not expect. CPAP, however, has been used as a sleep apnea treatment for decades. That is not to say it's without side effects, but those side effects are well known, and doctors are familiar with how to handle them. If you have really serious sleep apnea and need something you need to be confident will work, CPAP is a good choice.
Con: Wearing the mask takes some time to adapt to.
If you already have difficulty sleeping due to your sleep apnea, learning to sleep with a CPAP mask on can be yet another hurdle. Most patients do get used to this in time, but those first few nights can be pretty uncomfortable and awkward. Some patients also find that their partners struggle with them wearing a mask to bed.
Pro: CPAP machines are adjustable and come in different models.
Since CPAP is so popular, there are a few different brands that make the machines. Most modern machines are also adjustable, so you can alter the pressure, the fit of the mask, and other specifications to meet your needs. In other words, it is easy to customize your CPAP experience to meet your needs. You can adjust the machine yourself and also discuss your adjustments with your doctor.
Con: CPAP does not address the root of the problem.
CPAP does keep your airway open to keep you breathing all night long, but it does not do anything to address the deeper causes of sleep apnea, such as obesity, asthma, and dental misalignments. You can, of course, combine your use of CPAP with other remedies to ensure these issues are addressed.
Talk to your doctor to learn more about CPAP sleep apnea therapy. They can talk through these pros and cons with you and also show you a few different machines that might work well for you. For most patients, CPAP is at least worth a try.