CPAP is an almost 100% effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, when it’s used properly. The problem is that most people don’t use it properly. In fact, a large percentage of people prescribed CPAP use it rarely or not at all. 

And now a new study shows that young women are the least likely to use their CPAP. This is just the latest revelation about gender as an obstacle in trying to treat sleep apnea. At the Massa Dental Center, we are committed to ensuring all patients get an effective treatment for this potentially life-threatening condition. That’s why we are happy to offer multiple alternatives to CPAP. Perhaps the best alternative is VIVOS, a system that reshapes the airway to actually cure sleep apnea. 

Women Use CPAP Less

The new analysis comes from researchers at the University of Pittsburgh who looked at the data from nearly 780,000 CPAP users from 2015 to 2018 and presented their findings at the American Thoracic Society International Conference. Most CPAP users are telemonitored so that doctors can know if patients are using their treatment. Analysis of this data gives a true sense of how people use CPAP under real-world conditions. 

The analysis showed that in the first 90 days of treatment, about 73% of people were using their CPAP as recommended. This is consistent with previous studies, which also show that adherence tends to drop over the entire first year of use. 

However, adherence to CPAP was much lower among young adults, aged 18-30. In this age group, only about 55% used their CPAP as recommended during the first 90 days. It is also the age group with the widest gender gap in terms of adherence. In this study, about 51% of women used their CPAP, compared to 57% of men. 

This means that nearly half of women prescribed CPAP are still living with untreated sleep apnea, facing all the potential dangers related to the condition. Researchers didn’t offer an explanation for why the adherence rate was so low, but called for future studies to examine this phenomenon. 

Women, Snoring, and Sleep Apnea

This is not the first study to point out differences between men and women when it comes to sleep disordered breathing. Earlier studies have shown that women are less likely to admit snoring, even when they have been referred to a sleep clinic by a doctor. Despite this, these women snore as much as and as loud as men. 

The problem is, in part, that snoring and sleep apnea have long been characterized as a problem of older men, especially those who are overweight. For years, doctors used the label upper airway respiratory syndrome (UARS) to avoid telling women, especially young slender women, that they had sleep apnea. However, Doctors didn’t treat as aggressively as sleep apnea, even though the conditions are essentially the same. 

Being older and being overweight can contribute to your sleep apnea risk. However, even young people and those with healthy or even low body weight can have the condition. People need to understand this.

Alternatives to CPAP

Of course, education is only part of the solution. We also have to admit that CPAP is an inherently difficult treatment for sleep apnea. Many of its difficulties may make it less appealing to young people generally and young women in particular. Skin irritation from straps, including an increased risk of acne, an unattractive appearance while sleeping, and a cumbersome nightly routine are just a few of the reasons why young people might be less happy about using CPAP. Fortunately, there are alternatives. 

A standard oral appliance is a much more convenient choice for treating CPAP, and it avoids these difficulties. With an oral appliance, you just put it in your mouth before going to bed. There are no straps, no hoses, and no mask. It doesn’t cover your face as  you sleep, so you don’t present a fearsome aspect to anyone sharing your bed. 

Even better, we offer a treatment that can actually cure sleep apnea, rather than just treat it.The Vivos system addresses a root cause of sleep apnea–an airway that is underdeveloped. This sleep apnea treatment gradually stimulates development of your upper jaw. As the upper jaw expands, so does the airway that is shaped by it. This increases airflow and helps your airway avoid blockage. With the Vivos system, your sleep apnea can decrease in severity. Many people no longer need treatment–neither CPAP nor an oral appliance–after using the Vivos system. 

Vivos is more than a potential cure for sleep apnea. It’s an opportunity to improve your life. If you have a narrow airway, it affects your breathing all the time, not just during sleep. Expanding your airway with Vivos will help you breathe better at all times. This could mean greater comfort all the time and an improved ability to exercise. Enjoy greater energy and wakefulness throughout the day. Experience less congestion related to colds and allergies because a wider airway is harder to block. As well as curing sleep apnea, these are all potential benefits of the Vivos system.

Sleep Apnea Treatment You Will Use in Naples, FL

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and prescribed CPAP, that’s not the only solution to your condition. To learn whether you are a candidate for oral appliance therapy or the Vivos system, please call (239) 597-7333 today for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the Massa Dental Center.