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Samuel Pollina, DMD
Sleep Apnea and CPAP Intolerance What You Need To Know
Annapolis Snoring and Sleep Apnea Center
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Sleep Apnea and CPAP Intolerance What You Need To Know

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can potentially lead to a variety of complications, including cardiovascular issues, stroke, and obesity. The most common method of treating sleep apnea involves the use of a CPAP machine, but this doesn't often prove the ideal solution for every patient. Another treatment option is available using oral appliance therapy, providing relief from sleep apnea and CPAP intolerance.

What Is CPAP Intolerance?

Before it is possible to fully understand CPAP intolerance and why it occurs, it is necessary to gain a basic grasp of CPAP treatment itself. When a patient suffers from obstructive sleep apnea, the airway becomes blocked by the soft tissues of the mouth and throat while the patient is sleeping. These lapses in breathing may occur hundreds of times each night, drastically reducing the amount of oxygen the patient's brain and body receive during sleep. A CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure) provides a consistent source of air to assist in the act of breathing while the person affected is unconscious, thereby preventing instances of apnea.

For many patients, however, using a CPAP machine at night causes more problems than it solves. It may even make some symptoms of sleep apnea worse, resulting in what we know as CPAP intolerance. Signs of CPAP intolerance include the following

Daytime fatigue and a general feeling of sleepiness

Persistent headaches

Unexplained nasal congestion

Irritation of the sinuses, as well as the skin or eyes

Distension of the abdomen

Fortunately, CPAP treatment is only one option available to patients affected by sleep apnea. Oral appliances are available that help alleviate the symptoms of this condition, working with you to discover which works best for you.

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