Alternatives to CPAP therapy include surgery to clear the obstructive airways. But Liberatore says surgery is the last resort, and some patients, depending on the reasons causing their sleep apnea, might not qualify.
The overall goal for many patients is to lose the weight that might be bringing on the sleep apnea, Liberatore said. Sleep disruption caused by sleep apnea and the lack of oxygen to vital organs can cause changes in hormones involved in appetite regulation and fat retention.
"If you get into a better stage of sleep, your hormones will be regulated, and your ability to lose weight will be optimized," she said. "The goal is not to sleep with a machine for the rest of your life."
Siegel, who exercises regularly and is not considered overweight, says other parts of his health have improved dramatically. After two months, Siegel no longer snores, sleeps through the night, and feels more energized during the day. What's better, he says, is that is wife is happy.
"Look, if I could do without [CPAP], it would be better" he said, "but for now, I'm glad I have it."