Alaska Sleep Education Center

Take the Fear out of Your Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

Posted by Dr. David White on Jan 30, 2020 8:15:00 AM


New innovations are changing the way people live with sleep apnea.

Throughout the world, it’s estimated that at least 100 million people have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep-related breathing disorder that impacts the ability to breathe during sleep. It’s also estimated that 80% of all OSA patients remain undiagnosed.
This statistic is alarmingly high, especially considering the adverse consequences associated with this common condition. If left untreated, OSA can lead to serious health problems – and in some cases, it may even be fatal.  

Among my peers in the sleep community, we’re shocked that the number of undiagnosed sleep apnea patients has consistently remained so high. When thinking about the circumstances that perpetuate this failure to diagnose, one thing always comes to mind: fear.

Fear not just of the sleep apnea diagnosis itself, but of the treatment options available. Will the machine be loud? Will my mask scare my children? Will I have to lug around a medical device when I travel?

After an initial OSA diagnosis, there are a million questions that go through patients’ minds, but physicians can work with their patients to determine the best treatment plan for both their condition and their lifestyle. Unfortunately, some OSA sufferers may not seek diagnosis because they fear what comes next, and even worse, some OSA patients do not adhere to their prescribed plans even after they’ve been diagnosed. 


But sleep apnea therapy has changed

What many people don’t realize is that sleep apnea therapy has come a long way over the past several decades. Now, there are multiple solutions that have been uniquely designed using a patient-centric approach – improving comfort, ease of use and mobility for sleep apnea patients.

These updates have been made to help ensure that those living with sleep apnea stay adherent to their treatment plans.  

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) has been the gold standard of sleep therapy treatment for many years. But even with new innovations offering more freedom and comfort for CPAP users, sometimes the therapy doesn’t fit in with a patient’s lifestyle.

If these patients are living with positional OSA, there is new hope for successful, sustainable treatment through the advent of positional therapy devices. 

A subset of OSA, patients with positional OSA primarily experience disruptions in breathing when sleeping on their backs. As an alternative method to CPAP therapy, positional therapy wearables like Philips’ NightBalance solution work by encouraging users to remain off their back with gentle vibrations. As one of the most non-invasive forms of sleep apnea therapy, positional therapy devices have demonstrated high short-term adherence rates (75% to 95%) and that they are effective in reducing Apnea–Hypopnea Index (AHI), an indicator of the severity of a patient’s OSA [2,3,4,5].

Consumer-centric innovation is changing the way patients live with sleep apnea. Now, people suffering from this chronic condition no longer have to fear diagnosis or treatment plans – they can move forward on a path to living more healthy and restful lives. 

Getting set up with a CPAP device

The first step in getting CPAP therapy is to have a sleep study (polysomnogram) performed at a sleep clinic. The results of a sleep study will inform your sleep specialist as to the severity of your condition and best treatment options.

If a CPAP machine is determined to be the best option, you will likely have to have a follow-up sleep titration study in which you will sleep at a sleep clinic overnight while wearing various CPAP masks and using a few different machines that will be specifically calibrated to the air pressure needed to clear your airway blockage without causing any disturbance or discomfort to your sleep.

You may also qualify to have a Home Sleep Test (HST) performed to determine the severity of your sleep apnea. Home sleep tests are issued to patients who, through a pre-screening process, are more than likely to have obstructive sleep apnea and simply need to determine the severity. HST's are more affordable than polysomnograms, but don't have as many capabilities. For a break-down on the differences between the two tests click here.

Once you have been issued a CPAP machine to take home with you, the most important thing you can do for your health is to USE IT REGULARLY!! In order to help alleviate your obstructive sleep apnea symptoms the device needs to be used on a nightly basis. Once you discontinue use, your symptoms will often return immediately. This is because CPAP use is a therapy and not a cure, making compliance essential in getting you the treatment you need.


SleepN Program, exclusively at the Alaska Sleep Clinic, is the ultimate support for CPAP compliance and equipment maintenance.

If you’ve given up on your CPAP machine (or are avoiding it altogether) let us show you a better solution…Introducing the SleepN program from Alaska Sleep Clinic… and how we’re with you every step of the way.

Rougly 55% of people given CPAP Therapy equipment stop using it within a few weeks, mostly because they find their masks uncomfortable to wear and just plain give up on their treatment.

At Alaska Sleep Clinic we’re sleep specialists. Finding answers and solutions to sleep problems is what we do. So we created the SleepN program to help ensure you’re successful with your CPAP…and to protect your health. That’s why we provide SleepN free of charge to all our clients.

Here’s what makes SleepN unique:

  • You get a remote wireless monitoring system that allows our dedicated sleep technologists to keep an eye on your progress every night while you sleep – assuring that any problems are noticed and dealt with immediately.

  • We offer you the latest in CPAP equipment – it’s lighter, whisper quiet and fits better than anything available even a couple of years ago. (The more comfortable the equipment, the more likely you are to use it.)

  • SleepN also automatically alerts our sleep technologists when you need new filters, tubing or masks. These are typically covered by your insurance, so you’ll only pay the postage. This saves you time and ensures that you always have working equipment.

  • Best of all, this added attention is included in your care at no extra cost. We believe that your health is too important for you not touse your CPAP equipment – so we want to ensure that it works for you in every way.

For additional information on our Free SleepN Program and to maintain continual CPAP Compliance you can download additional information here:

Exclusive SleepN Program

CPAP Results

Those who begin using their CPAP devices, often begin to experience immediate positive results including:

  • Elimination of snoring and breathing obstructions.

  • Improvement in quality of nightly sleep.

  • Prevention or reversal of serious health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

  • Lower blood pressure both during the day and at night.

  • Increased alertness during the day.

  • Significant decrease of daytime drowsiness.

Whether you need an initial sleep study or you are ready to start CPAP therapy, Alaska Sleep Clinic is the place to start.  Call today for a free sleep consultation and help with your next step to improve your sleep and your life.

@ 907-770-9104

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For more information on available sleep apnea therapies, visit



[2] Long-term effectiveness and compliance of positional therapy with the Sleep Position Trainer in the treatment of positional obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. van Maanen JP, de Vries N. SLEEP 2014;37(7):1209-1215.

[3] Benoist, L., de Ruiter, M., de Lange, J., & De Vries, N. (2017). A randomized, controlled trial of positional therapy versus oral appliance therapy for position-dependent sleep apnea. Sleep medicine, 34, 109-117

[4] De Ruiter, M. H., Benoist, L. B., De Vries, N., & de Lange, J. (2018). Durability of treatment effects of the Sleep Position Trainer versus oral appliance therapy in positional OSA: 12-month follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Sleep and Breathing, 22(2), 441-450.

[5] Eijsvogel, M. M., Ubbink, R., Dekker, J., Oppersma, E., de Jongh, F. H., van der Palen, J., & Brusse-Keizer, M. G. (2015). Sleep position trainer versus tennis ball technique in positional obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Journal of clinical sleep medicine, 11(02), 139-147.

Topics: alaska sleep clinic, sleep apnea, CPAP therapy

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