Here are several possibilities:
1) It is possible to combine two forms of therapy: E.g. PAP AND a dental device. Sometimes people requiring high pressures use that combination to stay within the range of the machines when their pressure demands seem to be rising. It can be a little tricky to avoid the mask impinging on the device in your mouth, but it is usually doable; the dental device will help open your airway and the pressure requirements will go down.
2) depending on the architecture of your airway, a palate expansion or other surgical procedure may help. But investigate and research surgical procedures and success rates very carefully. And seek out the best experts. Palate expansion works best when the airway is narrow left to right. Top to bottom constriction may require a different type of procedure. If your problem is a deviated septum, nasal surgery would be necessary. It helps to know where the obstruction(s) is/are occurring.
3) those ideas won’t help you in the very near term, or in time for your vacation, of course. So, the things you can immediately do yourself (assuming you aren’t already doing them) are: A) positional- sleep on your side-not your stomach or back; sew tennis ball pockets into the back of your PJ tops, if necessary or use pillows: B) deal with allergies or nasal congestion using OTC meds or simple nasal saline; those problems can increase pressure requirements; C) Get a chin strap to help keep your mouth closed, to avoid drying out mucus membranes because that may be contributing to the sore throat and remember to hydrate before sleeping; D) longer term, if overweight, lose the weight. Even a little will help. And investigate diet and exercise programs that help sleep.
THANK YOU! When you mention a dental device, so you mean like a mouthguard for grinding of teeth, or soemthing else? I always thought stomach sleeping was the best position but I will sleep on my sides. Is it better on one or the other sides?
I don't typically suffer from allergies, but this year I have been sneezing a lot and have had mild headaches so suspect I am.
Lose weight? Yeah, I desperately need to do that. I'll be hiking a LOOT over the next month so tyhat will help, I'm sure! I'm definitely morbidly obese (lifelong problem), and like everyone I have tried everything except the surgery. I almost did the surgery, but the rate of weight gain failure is too high. If I am gonna have to watch what I eat, I can do that without surgery! lol
Some people get relief from obstructive apnea events with a soft cervical collar. They are inexpensive at places like Walmart. They may also work with snoring. They tend to work best when you are getting a whole series of OA events in a row due to your head and neck position. You will see if that is an issue when you look at your data with OSCAR.
Either side will help a lot, but if GERD is a problem, then sleeping on your left side is your better bet. But changing sleeping positions is NOT the easiest thing to do…preferred sleeping position is a very ingrained habit. And remember that the vacuum/negative pressures created during an apnea are quite capable of suctioning up acidic stomach juices, creating serious heartburn/acid reflux issues.
The appropriate dental device will depend on the nature of your airway narrowing, but the most common is a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD). It consists of forms that go over both your upper and lower teeth with an adjustable hinge mechanism at the back that can be gradually ratcheted forward over time. The effect is to pull your lower jaw forward while you are sleeping to maintain an open airway. The trick is to avoid getting TMJ before you get relief from the SA. I tried a MAD for travel purposes, but ran into that problem. But I also know people for whom it has worked well-some as an adjunct to PAP and some as sole therapy for mild to moderate SA.
I don’t know where you are located, but here in the NE USA, it has been an exceptionally bad year for allergies. But the ineffectively treated SA is possibly the source of your headaches, because morning headaches are a classic SA symptom.
I noted that Sierra (who, we all agree is decidedly awesome, BTW) mentioned a cervical collar. I should have included that one among the self help possibilities. One of my acquaintances is using all three in combo therapy: PAP, a MAD, plus a cervical collar. He reports that although he’s not a pretty sight at night, it DOES work well for him and his spouse is happy to not be awakened by his snoring…
Assuming you have a machine with a SD card that records your readings (most ResMed and DreamStation ones do), you would be best to download OSCAR to view your results to see what is going on. OSCAR requires a PC or Mac and a SD card reader. It will display your pressure through the night and when snoring occurs.
Standard CPAP machines go up to 20 cm of pressure while BiPAP ones go to 25 cm. I am not aware of other machines which go higher. The first step however would be to confirm with OSCAR what is happening. I believe BiPAP and CPAP machines require a prescription, so you still may have to go to a doctor to get a BiPAP. That would be best in any case to confirm that it will work for you.
Thank you so very much!! I do have an SD card so will download and try to make sense of everything :)
You can post your results here for help on what might be going on. With a PC display your daily report graph screen and press F12. Take note in the bottom right corner where the screen shot will be saved. Find it with file explorer and then left click and drag it into an open message you are composing. Use the Write a Reply button to get a full width window to post it. Only post one image at a time. The spam filter here will react badly to multiple images in a post with a new user. Make sure the graph is displaying your pressure, flow and of course the Snore. You can click on the left portion of each graph and drag it up and down to display the graphs of interest.