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Can I not use a CPAP despite
having Sleep Apnea?


Dr Dennis Lee


Specialist in Otorhinolaryngology


People suffering from sleep apnea may find using a CPAP machine inconvenient and may give up treatment altogether.  However, CPAP machines are the most common treatment for sleep apnea.  Among the people with moderate to severe sleep apnea that we were involved with, the majority of them had considerable improvements after using a CPAP machine.  Some had their Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI) significantly decrease from 50 times an hour to 5 times per hour.  Furthermore, a majority of people had successfully improved their mental health after using the CPAP machine for one to two weeks.

If a CPAP machine is not suitable for the patient, an operation or mouth guard are two other treatment options.  Surgical treatment reduces the obstruction of the airway by removing soft tissue that may have caused blockage; the doctor will first understand the location of the patient's obstruction through the endoscope, and then assess whether the patient is suitable for surgical treatment. Mouth guards as treatment are ideal for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea. By slightly pulling out the chin, the suffocation is reduced. 

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Treating sleep apnea requires firm determination and a clear understanding of the purpose. Some sleep apnea patients ceased CPAP treatment, because they failed to fully realize the adverse effects of sleep apnea on their bodies. Also they did not feel sleepy during the day, and were not pressured by a partner complaining about their snoring. Therefore, they lacked the motivation for treatment and easily gave up.  Patients need to know that most adults suffer from sleep apnea, the reason being muscle relaxing and obstructing in the airway.  As we age, our muscles will become even more flaccid, and if not treated in time, sleep apnea may become even more severe.

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