When it comes to our medical care, we often must rely on others to make sure we get the best care possible. From doctors to medications and medical devices, there must be trust in place in order for treatment to be successful. Thankfully, there are organizations like the FDA to monitor treatments for both efficacy and safety and medical accreditation boards for monitoring doctors and specialists. But what happens when medical treatment is found to be dangerous to consumers? This can often erode trust in the treatment itself, rendering it useless to the patient. Once that trust is broken, it can often be hard to convince patients to resume treatment, even after a safety fix has been created.
Recently, a manufacturer recalled many of their CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) devices due to a cancer risk associated with the use of something called “sound abatement foam.” Sound abatement foam is used in CPAP machines and some ventilators, and in these particular brands was found to contain chemicals that degrade in high heat, humidity, and during cleaning of the machinery. That degradation may cause chemicals to be released that could cause cancer or other health issues, according to the manufacturer.
While CPAP therapy is generally considered safe, and not all brands of CPAP machines use this particular sound abatement foam, this recall highlights the importance of using safe equipment to treat sleep apnea, which if left untreated can already increase one’s risk of cancer, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and more.
If you are looking for a more comfortable and more natural way to treat your sleep apnea, there are options beyond traditional CPAP therapy. Dr. Mingus can prescribe and customize a sleep orthotic that fits comfortably into your mouth and props open the airway as you sleep. It requires no machinery, tubing, or sound abatement foam because it is an orthotic device, similar to a mouthguard or retainer. Sleep orthotics are only worn at night and are generally found to be more comfortable than CPAP because it does not force air into the airway.
If you are concerned about using traditional therapy methods to treat your sleep apnea and are interested in learning more about sleep orthotics, contact Dr. Mingus today.