Is there some reason why a partial oral breathing tube could not be used to treat sleep apnea? A full oral breathing tube goes way the heck down the trachea and has a balloon on the end to keep it in place. Since apnea closes off the area at the back of the mouth, one might think that a much shorter tube, just long enough to get past the the back of the tongue/soft palate might provide enough of an airway - without having to thread a tube so far down. I imagine that the position of the tube in the mouth might need to have its position fixed by clamping it to the teeth (as with retainers) or possibly by holding it to the front of the mouth with a band that goes around the neck, but that wouldn't even be as bad as a CPAP mask, where one must also deal with the tube.
My sleep apnea isn't too bad, it only manifests if I sleep on my back or sitting up. So I sleep on my side, but it would be nice to be able to sleep on my back. The side effects of the treatments I have tried so far were a heck of a lot worse than the problem. CPAP pumped so much air into my guts that my abdomen felt like a basketball each morning. The mouth appliance did awful things to my jaw joint, so that I couldn't shut my mouth normally for 90 minutes after waking up. Plus when in place it felt like somebody was standing on my front teeth, which wasn't very conducive to sleep. No way I'm going for a tracheotomy, and the other surgical interventions seem to be better on average for the Drs wallet than the patients' symptoms.
Understand your predicament. Masks can give a claustrophobic feeling to certain individuals. You could start by trying them for very short periods and then increase the timing as you get more comfortable. Oral mouth appliances can help, but they could be uncomfortable. Alternatively, you could try BiPAP, which is a bi level pressure device, which regulates according to inspiration and expiration, and hence is more comfortable. Discuss these options with your consulting doctor.
Mask comfort wasn't the problem with CPAP. The problem was all the air it forced into my stomach and intestines. I guess those valves are loose when I'm asleep (no, I don't have GERD.) The technician said I might be able to avoid inflation by sleeping propped up in a near sitting position. Instead I chose to return the CPAP and resume sleeping on my side, in which position the sleep testing showed no apnea episodes.
I can believe BiPAP is more comfortable. Exhaling against a positive pressure is a very strange sensation.
Agree with you that sleeping on the side open up the airways. If any nasal blocks try to keep them patent with OTC nasal decongestants. Aim for optimum weight with exercises or long walks and walk your way to sleeping well. Follow good sleep hygiene measures like going to bed at the same time, waking up at the same time, avoidance of alcohol, smoking and caffeinated beverages. Maintain warm, comfortable bedroom environment and engage in relaxing activities like a warm bath before bed time.
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