An estimated 30 million Americans have sleep apnea. However, most people with sleep apnea don’t even know they have it. Even among those who know they have sleep apnea, treatment is difficult.
The effectiveness of sleep apnea and snoring solutions can vary from one person to the next. Sleep apnea patients also have treatment problems because of comfort and convenience issues. Patients often give up on conventional treatments for sleep apnea because they might make it difficult to sleep.
With so many patients not getting the results they need from conventional treatments, there is a need for new sleep apnea solutions. This post will look at conventional treatments and an emerging solution that could make a difference for many patients.
Conventional Sleep Apnea Treatments
The first solutions most doctors recommend for most people are lifestyle changes. If a person is overweight, losing weight could help address their issues with sleep apnea. If a person smokes, quitting could be another way to relieve sleep apnea.
After lifestyle changes, the CPAP machine is considered the most effective way to treat sleep apnea. With this medical device, the individual wears a mask over their nose and/or mouth, and a machine maintains a continuous flow of positive air pressure in the airway. This pressure keeps the airway open so the individual can breathe unobstructed throughout the night.
While very effective, many people give up on the CPAP machine because it is uncomfortable and inconvenient. Some people might also try CPAP alternatives like the BiPAP machine. It is similar to a CPAP, but it uses air pressure differently.
Oral appliances are common sleep apnea aids as well. Most of these devices are worn on the teeth, holding the jaw in a position that keeps the airway open. The patient would need to see a dentist to have this type of device designed for their mouth.
A Promising New Development
Each of the above-mentioned sleep apnea treatments has its limitations. While the CPAP is likely the most effective, it is uncomfortable and burdensome. Even if the CPAP does work for you, it might not be ideal if you are on the road a lot. Currently, there are few good CPAP alternatives for travel.
However, WhisperSom Corporation is developing a sleep apnea solution that has the potential to overcome many of these issues. The WhisperSom solution does not require the individual to wear anything on their face, and the early testing has shown good results.
The device uses wearable Bluetooth sensors to detect breathing. It uses algorithms to learn the wearer’s breathing patterns. The algorithm can then use the established breathing patterns to detect the onset of sleep apnea. Once detected, the device delivers stimuli to restore the proper breathing pattern.
Among sleep apnea aids, this device has great potential. The user only needs wearable sensors, earbuds designed for sleeping, and the WhisperSom™ battery-powered device. WhisperSom records up to 1 gigabyte of digital data from each sleep session and automatically scores it to provide physicians and their patients with useable information daily. It makes for a system that is very comfortable to wear, informative and is non-invasive.
Initial evidence shows that the device works well and is very safe compared to current FDA-approved alternatives. Participants had reduced time spent in apnea, reduced hypoxemia, reduced heart-rate variability, and reduced motion.
While WhisperSom is still bringing its novel treatment device through the FDA approval process, it could be a game changer for sleep apnea patients. Providing effective relief more comfortably and conveniently could help many people who suffer from the ill effects of sleep apnea.
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