Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which you have abnormal pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Each breathing pause lasts a few seconds to minutes and often occurs 5 to 30 times or more an hour. Sleep apnea usually disrupts your sleep, causing you move out of deep sleep and into light sleep. Consequently, you feel tired during the day.
In addition to exercise and diet to treat sleep apnea, a medical device called Provent can help the patients. This device helped Joyce Nemoga, a 64-year-old free lancer with sleep apnea at Columbia and Cornell University, from Middle Village, N.Y., deal with the condition.
Provent is a device that requires a prescription and has been FDA-approved for about two years. It is still fairly new and sometimes not covered by insurance, so it is not commonly used by patients.
Dr. Amit Patel, assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College showed who are at risk of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is an anatomical issue, a narrowing of the airway. People with obesity are those who have a lot of extra tissue, so they are at higher risk of sleep apnea because that tissue can gain in the upper airway, causing a collapse. People with a jaw that’s a little bit pushed back and compromise the space in the back of the airway and patients potentially with neurological diseases are at risk.
C-Pap or continuous positive airway pressure machine is also a device commonly used by patients with sleep apnea. Nemoga reviously used it. But according to Dr. Patel, it can be uncomfortable and cumbersome. The C-Pap consists of a face mask, which is connected to a hose and pumps air into the patients’ nose. It did not allow Nemoga’s airway to close and created multiple complications in her personal life.
She said her family teased her about sounding like one of the Star Wars characters. She loves to travel, to take on the road, so she found the bulky machine hard to use. A C-Pap machine is considered a carry-on item on all airplanes meaning she could only carry a purse and her C-Pap machine when traveling, rather than an overnight bag.
But Provent strips are different. They are small enough to slip into a purse or pocket, which is convenient in travelling.
Instead of a C-Pap machine, Provent strips can be a wonderful choice. The patients’ first reaction after trying Provent strips was very positive. The device completely eliminates the machine, a hose, a tube, and is very freeing for a lot of patients. Nemoga, after experiencing Provent, called it “miraculous, simple and fabulous.”