COVID-19 UPDATE Online Emergency and General Consults Now Available >

What CPAP Treatment is and Better Options

What is CPAP?

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment manages airflow for sleep apnea patients. The device ensures patients receive consistent oxygen while they sleep. CPAP treatment for sleep apnea is highly effective in reducing sleep apnea symptoms immediately.

What is sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious condition where a patient regularly quits breathing for about ten seconds as they sleep. Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles of the throat are unable to keep the airway open. 

While this sounds terrifying, most sleep apnea patients never even realize this is happening. The biggest indicators of sleep apnea are excessive snoring (usually noticed by a partner) and extreme daytime fatigue. 

How does CPAP treatment work?

CPAP treatment is an effective treatment for sleep apnea because it forces oxygen through the airway all night. 

A CPAP device provides continuous airflow to a patient, creating enough air pressure that the airway can’t close and block the flow of oxygen. During CPAP treatments, patients wear a mask attached to their CPAP through a hose. CPAP treatment doesn’t cure obstructive sleep apnea but keeps the airway open while the mask is worn.

Think of CPAP therapy as similar to wearing glasses. Glasses don’t cure poor eyesight, but they can give you 20/20 vision while you're wearing them. But, once your glasses are removed, your eyesight returns “normal”. A CPAP machine works under the same principle. When you wear your CPAP, it prevents airway closures that lead to sleep apnea episodes. However, it cannot prevent future sleep apnea issues. Most patients are required to use a CPAP device for life. 

What are the side effects of CPAP treatment?

The side effects of CPAP treatment for sleep apnea are generally mild. Discomfort and difficulty adjusting the mask being two of the most common issues experienced by CPAP users.

Some patients experience dry mouth, dry nose, or nosebleeds from air being forced into those areas.

If your equipment isn’t cleaned regularly, there’s a risk of lung and sinus infections. Following a proper cleaning routine with your CPAP equipment will prevent infections and skin irritations.

Claustrophobia is a major concern for sleep apnea patients. Many CPAP users have difficulty adjusting to wearing the mask when they begin sleep apnea treatment. 

The learning curve for CPAP devices is so steep. Nearly 50% of CPAP patients abandon their CPAP treatment without doctor approval. This is a very dangerous decision. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to very serious health complications. 

How effective is CPAP treatment?

CPAP treatment is highly effective when used correctly. Patients often abandon their CPAP treatment after difficulty adjusting to the mask or challenges adjusting and calibrating their equipment. 

For patients who get the hang of their equipment, CPAP treatment is a highly effective method of managing sleep apnea symptoms. 

Approximate cost of treatment

CPAP equipment can be expensive, but it’s often covered by insurance. The average CPAP machine costs approximately $1,250. Some introductory programs allow patients to rent CPAP equipment for about $35 as they determine which CPAP gear is best for them. 

CPAP Alternatives

There are some alternatives to CPAP therapy - however, only a handful of alternatives are highly successful. 

Some patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea find relief with therapies such as sleep positioning therapy and mouth guards. These treatments provide relief from sleep apnea in a handful of cases but most prove to be temporary fixes.

There's an array of surgical options available for sleep apnea relief as well. Much like other CPAP alternatives, surgeries are met with varying success. Minor procedures such as tongue reduction and soft palate surgeries are rarely successful. More invasive operations such as mandibular repositioning surgery have a higher degree of success but are drastic measures.


If you're looking for an effective alternative to CPAP, NightLase could be the solution you’re looking for. 

NightLase is a laser therapy that strengthens the collagen in your muscle tissue. The strengthened muscle tissue allows your airway to remain open as you sleep - avoiding the airway blockages that cause sleep apnea episodes. 

Best of all, NightLase is a gentle, minimally-invasive procedure. Most patients will undergo three 30-minute sessions over twelve weeks. Unlike surgeries, patients are immediately able to return to work and their normal activities. 

NightLase is a gentle, proven, effective way to deal with sleep apnea without relying on special gear, surgery, or claustrophobic masks. 

Would you like to

Take a Complimentary Snoring Test

Test me now

Get the Sleep Health Newsletter

Sign me up