Sleep apnea is a serious and potentially life-threatening sleep disorder that causes a person to have frequent pauses in breathing while they are sleeping. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes and can occur dozens to hundreds of times in a single night. These episodes can lead to larger implications like heart disease, diabetes, and risk of car accidents due to sleepiness. Bend, Oregon, a city in the Pacific Northwest, has a variety of non-surgical sleep apnea solutions to help patients with this difficult and complicate problem.

What is Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a chronic disorder in which a person frequently stops breathing or struggles to breathe throughout the night when they are sleeping. This disorder can be caused by a combination of factors including age, obesity and gender, though what specifically causes sleep apnea is not entirely clear. The most common form of this disorder, obstructive sleep apnea, occurs when the throat muscles relax during sleep, closing the airway and blocking airflow. This causes oxygen levels in the body to drop, which can trigger the brain to interrupt the person’s sleep cycles so that they can initiate normal breathing. This can cause frequent disturbances during the night and may result in feeling drowsy and tired during the day.

Situations that Make Sleep Apnea Dangerous

While sleep apnea can be an annoyance, it can also lead to some very dangerous health problems. These problems include an increased risk of car accidents due to regular daytime drowsiness, an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, a higher chance of developing high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke, and the potential for complications during surgery and recovery.

Non-Surgical Sleep Apnea Treatments

While mild cases of sleep apnea may be treated with simple lifestyle changes, moderate to severe cases will often require more involved treatments. Some of the non-surgical sleep apnea solutions available in Bend include the following:

CPAP Devices

The most commonly used treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea is called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device. This is a machine that provides a continuous stream of pumped in air through a mask, opening the airway and preventing the breathing interruptions. This machine must be used every night and can take some getting used to, but studies show that it is effective at preventing the breathing interruptions that cause sleep apnea.

Oral Appliances

In some cases, an oral appliance can be used to help open the airway and reduce the incidence of breathing interruptions during sleep. These appliances look similar to a sports mouthguard and are meant to be worn in the mouth during sleep. These appliances specifically work by holding the tongue in a slightly protruded position from the throat, which can help keep the airway open.

Positional Therapy

In some cases, sleep apnea is caused or exacerbated by sleeping in specific positions, such as sleeping on the back. In these situations, the use of positional therapy can be an effective treatment. This treatment typically includes using various devices to help keep the patient in a certain sleeping position to prevent the airway from collapsing and blocking airflow.


Sleep apnea can be a difficult and frustrating disorder, but it is important to understand that there are a variety of non-surgical treatments available that can help. Whether it is a CPAP device, oral appliance, positional therapy, or a combination of treatments, there are many options available to help patients with sleep apnea get a better night’s sleep. If you believe you or a loved one may suffer from this disorder, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine which type of treatment is best.