CPAP is considered the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment. And, when it’s used properly, it works wonderfully. Unfortunately, many people don’t use their CPAP machines as they’re supposed to, and that means that they’re still at risk for all the dangers of sleep apnea, including heart problems, metabolic disorders, workplace and automobile accidents, and mood disorders.

Many alternatives to CPAP exist, and often these treatments work as well as CPAP. But, according to a new study, doctors don’t direct patients to those alternatives.

patient and doctor taking notes

Poor Adherence and Referrals

This study looked at the treatment, follow-ups, and referrals for patients who had sleep tests (polysomnograms) during two months at a particular sleep center. This included 1174 patients, of whom 616 met the inclusion criteria. Of these 616 patients, only 260, or 42%, were documented as keeping up their CPAP treatment. In addition, there were 241 patients who were not initially treated. Of these patients, only 84 were referred for further treatment.

This means that out of 616 patients diagnosed with sleep apnea, only 344 (56%) had either gotten successful treatment or had been referred to find successful treatment, leaving 272 (44%) without treatment for their sleep apnea.

You Have to Take the Initiative

These results show that you can’t take it for granted that your doctor will get you the sleep apnea treatment you need to protect your health and even your life. Just as you can’t wait for your doctor to begin the conversation about sleep apnea, so, too, you can’t wait for your doctor to offer treatment alternatives to CPAP, such as oral appliances. Instead, it may be up to you to figure out what your options are if you don’t want CPAP.

Talking to a sleep doctor or sleep dentist is the best way to figure out what treatment options might be right for you. Please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment with sleep dentist Dr. Roger Roubal at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center today.