Inspire Sleep Apnea vs. CPAP- What is Better for OSA

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterized by episodes of a complete (apnea) or partial collapse (hypopnea) of the upper airway with an associated decrease in oxygen saturation or arousal from sleep (National Library of Medicine). This disturbance results in fragmented, nonrestorative sleep.

Believe it or not, in the United States, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects an estimated 2% to 9% of adults, though experts believe there are many undiagnosed cases. People who suffer from OSA cannot breathe properly while sleeping because of a physical blockage in their upper airway. This can lead to severe health problems. So, it is essential to understand how sleep apnea works and how we can cure it. That’s why today I decided to discuss the Inspire Sleep Apnea Treatment, its requirements, its benefits, and its success rate.

woman sleeping

How Inspire Sleep Apnea Treatment Works

Inspire is the only FDA-approved obstructive sleep apnea treatment that works inside your body to treat the cause of sleep apnea with just the click of a button. Isn’t this amazing? It’s almost too good to be true, right? Well, according to a clinical study, this is more than true. The study found that after 12 months of using the Inspire device, 66% of study participants cut their AHI (sleep apnea severity scale called the apnea-hypopnea index) scores by at least 50%.

So, how does the Inspire Sleep Apnea treatment actually work? Inspire is an alternative to CPAP therapy (continuous positive airway pressure) that works inside your body while you sleep and helps you breathe normally. The outpatient procedure takes only one day, and a small device is placed inside your body. After that, when you’re ready for bed, simply click the remote to turn the Inspire device on. Finally, while you sleep, Inspire opens your airway, allowing you to breathe normally and sleep peacefully.

patient outcomes for the inspire sleep apnea treatment
Inspire Sleep Website

Eligibility Requirements

Being a medical procedure, the Inspire treatment has its own eligibility requirements too. Even if it sounds like a simple process, the Inspire Sleep Apnea Innovation is not for everyone who suffers from sleep apnea. So, in order to be an eligible candidate, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Over 18 years old.
  • OSA diagnosis: You must have an obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis with an AHI (apnea-hypopnea index) score between 15 and 65.
  • Already tried CPAP: This procedure is only for those who have already tried CPAP therapy and found it unsuccessful or intolerable.
  • Airway exam: An Inspire-trained doctor must examine your sleep study results and perform a nonsurgical airway exam.
  • BMI under 32: The body mass index is one way to measure body size. It’s a tool to estimate body fat and screen for obesity and health risks. The Inspire Sleep Apnea Treatment has not been tested on people with a body mass index (BMI) over 32.
  • Other restrictions: People with a diagnosis that contains more than 25% central sleep apnea or mixed sleep apnea do not qualify. Also, the treatment is not appropriate for those with complete concentric collapse at their soft palate.
sleep apnea drawing

What Is CPAP Therapy?

If you are diagnosed with a sleep-related breathing disorder, you could be prescribed a treatment called positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a common way of delivering PAP therapy.

CPAP therapy reduces disruptions in breathing and improves overall sleep quality. CPAP machines provide continuous therapy air pressure at specific levels, ideal for those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. So, they deliver a continuous stream of air, preventing airway collapse from obstructive sleep apnea. However, when a person first begins using CPAP, they may experience discomfort, irritation, and dry mouth. If these symptoms don’t fade away in time, or if they even get worse, a sleep specialist may recommend other sleep apnea treatments. One of these alternatives is the Inspire sleep apnea treatment.

CPAP therapy

Inspire Sleep Apnea vs. CPAP

First of all, it’s important to note that the main difference is the position of the two devices. CPAP machines blow pressurized air into your breathing passages through a mask, so they work from outside the human body. On the other hand, the surgically implanted Inspire device sends a gentle pulse to your nerve that controls tongue function, moving it in order for you to breathe properly. So, it is placed inside your body.

As with any other medical treatment, both have their advantages and disadvantages. The Inspire Sleep Apnea Treatment requires surgical intervention and regular doctor checkups, which is a major commitment for most of us. Also, not everyone with sleep apnea is ready to install a device inside his or her body. Even though it’s known to be more efficient than CPAP machines, a patient should qualify for the Inspire Sleep Apnea treatment. So, there are also chances that you wouldn’t be suitable for the medical intervention.

On the other side of the coin, sleeping with CPAP masks can be really uncomfortable. You should be ready to give up stomach sleep and even reconsider side sleep. As pillows can interfere with how well a mask fits and lead to leaks, CPAP therapy can become hard to tolerate. Also, as previously mentioned, beginner users may experience discomfort, irritation, and dry mouth.

person sleeping on their stomach

How Did You Treat Sleep Apnea?

All in all, these are the essential pieces of information you should consider before opting for Inspire sleep apnea treatment or CPAP therapy. There is obviously more to say about each of the two, but I’m sure you would do your research if you were ready to adopt one type of treatment. However, if you have extra questions or curiosities, I’m more than willing to help! So, please let me know in the comment section below what you want to find out more about.

Finally, I really hope this was a helpful article for all of you who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. I’m aware of how difficult it is to cope with the discomfort, as my husband has suffered from this condition for several years now. We’re still figuring out what would be the best solution for him, so don’t worry if you haven’t found it yet.

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