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How CPAP Therapy Can Help, Even if You Only Have Mild Sleep Apnea

CPAP therapy is widely regarded to be one of the most effective solutions for treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However, those who only suffer from mild sleep apnea may sometimes feel like a CPAP machine isn’t really needed for their situation. Sometimes, doctors may agree with this assessment as well. Sure, they may feel tired in the morning, but their sleep apnea isn’t too bad — or is it?

As it turns out, recent research suggests that even if you have only been diagnosed with mild sleep apnea, using a CPAP machine can significantly improve your quality of life. Regardless of the diagnosed severity of your condition, taking action will dramatically improve your quality of life. Here’s what you should know.

What is ‘Mild’ Sleep Apnea?

person sleeping on couch

Sleep apnea is generally diagnosed through a sleep study, in which sleep specialists monitor your breathing patterns during an overnight stay at their facility. As you sleep, the number of interruptions to your breathing is recorded. The number of interruptions you experience per hour is measured using what is known as the apnea-hypopnea index, or AHI.

The more breathing interruptions you experience as you sleep, the more severe your sleep apnea. Typically, if you have 15 or fewer sleep interruptions per hour, your sleep apnea is designated as mild. Fifteen to 30 interruptions is considered moderate, and over 30 qualifies as severe.

However, the number of breathing interruptions you experience doesn’t tell the whole story. As Mealnie Pogach, MD explains in a post for the Harvard Health Blog, “The severity of disease does not always correlate with the extent of symptoms. In other words, some people with very mild disease (based on their AHI) can be extremely symptomatic, with excessive sleepiness or severe insomnia, while others with severe disease have subjectively good sleep quality and do not have significant daytime impairment.”

While it is believed that roughly 60 percent of people with OSA have a “mild” diagnosis, it is clear that this doesn’t mean these people are doing fine without treatment. Other underlying health conditions could also play a role in how severely your sleep apnea affects your day to day routine.

Common side effects associated with sleep apnea (beyond daytime fatigue) include snoring, headaches in the morning, and a dry mouth or sore throat. A lack of sleep can also cause emotional challenges, including depression, irritability, and mood swings.

Your snoring and nighttime breathing interruptions can also disturb your partner’s sleep. Even if you aren’t feeling significant side effects from your OSA, your partner’s poor sleep could negatively affect their health and your relationship.

CPAP Therapy & Mild Sleep Apnea

CPAP therapy

Even if you are initially diagnosed with mild sleep apnea, there is a strong likelihood that your condition will worsen as time goes on. Sleep apnea is more likely to occur as you get older, and weight gain and other health factors can increase its severity. Even more problematic, conditions such as hypertension and weight gain have a relationship in which they can cause sleep apnea to worsen, and sleep apnea can simultaneously make these conditions more severe.

By taking action early, you will be able to keep your OSA (and other health issues) from worsening. Even if you haven’t noticed significant negative outcomes in your daily routine, treatment can make a difference.

In fact, a recent study of individuals with mild sleep apnea proves this exact point. Researchers in the United Kingdom conducted a randomized study of 301 individuals with mild sleep apnea. Over a three-month period, the participants were split into two groups: one group that used CPAP therapy, and another that simply underwent sleep hygiene counseling.

Based on the results of a validated questionnaire, the study found that those who underwent CPAP therapy experienced significant improvements to their quality of life in comparison to those who did not use this treatment.

In an interview with Healio, Julia L. Kelly, PhD, who was involved in the research, said, “We were indeed surprised by our results — specifically, that even those patients at the very mildest end of the disease spectrum gained benefit from CPAP treatment. These were patients who would not have been diagnosed with OSA using the standard diagnosis criteria.”

Based on these findings, it is clear that even if you have been diagnosed with mild sleep apnea, CPAP therapy should still be considered by you and your medical provider.

Using CPAP For Better Sleep

Regardless of the severity of your sleep apnea, getting the equipment you need at a price you can afford is essential if you want to improve your quality of life. Here at No Insurance Medical Supplies, we are committed to helping you get CPAP and BiPAP machines from industry leading brands like ResMed and Philips Respironics at a price you can afford. Discounted prices mean you could save hundreds of dollars on your new equipment.

As long as you have a valid prescription, you can take advantage of our discounted products, money-saving bundles, available financing, and other generous offers that make it easier to afford the equipment you need. We also offer a wide range of accessories and replacement products, including masks, tubing, filters, and sanitation devices.

A lack of insurance coverage shouldn’t keep you from getting the good night’s sleep you deserve. A CPAP machine is a worthwhile investment for your future that will dramatically improve your overall quality of life. With No Insurance Medical Supplies, you’ll be able to sleep well every night.


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