Have you been told that you need CPAP for sleep apnea? Are you wondering what is CPAP and how does it work?
If you’re any bit familiar with sleep problems, then you’ve probably heard of a popular form of sleep apnea therapy called CPAP. But what is a CPAP breathing machine, and how exactly does it work? CPAP stands for “continuous positive airway pressure.”
The CPAP machine works exactly the way its name suggests, by providing an ongoing flow of pressurized air through your airways by way of a CPAP mask worn throughout the night. For anybody plagued with sleep-disordered breathing due to obstructive sleep apnea, which can also result in severe snoring, CPAP is often a godsend. But physicians less commonly prescribe CPAP to other types of patients as well, such as babies with under developed lungs, broncho-pulmonary dysplasia or respiratory distress syndrome.
Overview of the CPAP
A CPAP breathing machine consists of three main parts:
• a mask that goes over your mouth and nose,
• a connecting tube, and
• a motor that blows pressurized air into the tube.
While a portion of users do complain that CPAP machines are loud and restricting, the device is intended to be fairly compact, lightweight and quiet. If it does make a noise, it’s usually a soft, pulsing rhythm that usually should not interrupt sleep.
As stated above, CPAP machines are most often prescribed to patients with the sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes shallow breathing, which can result in deep snoring and sometimes frequent pauses in breath called apneas. What the CPAP machine does is prevent the airway from collapsing or becoming too narrow at any point during the night, controlling one's symptoms.
CPAP therapy is ordered and titrated at a sleep center, after sleep technicians perform an evaluation with an overnight sleep study called polysomnography. Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, you may be able to adjust your CPAP device to suit your specific needs and sleep patterns. There are also several different models if the one you’re using does not fit right or fails satisfy you else wise.
Does CPAP Really work?
The biggest obstacle for CPAP patients is getting use to using the mask and machine every, single night. Unfortunately, only about half of patients actually follow through with the recommended use. However, for those able to tolerate it, CPAP has been known to be quite effective.
CPAP breathing machine benefits include:
• keeping your airway open at night,
• reducing snoring,
• promoting better sleep, and
• alleviating symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (i.e. daytime fatigue and high blood pressure)
Many CPAP users said that they felt improvement immediately after starting treatment. This includes personal improvement in work performance and alertness during the day as well as reduced irritation and complaints from bed partners affected by their snoring. If you are interested in trying out a CPAP device as a sleep aid, start by contacting a sleep doctor in your area who can evaluate your symptoms.
Thank you to Nader from www.SleepDisorders.com for contributing this article on CPAP for Sleep Apnea.
You can find out more about the sleep disorder, sleep apnea, by visiting www.SleepDisorders.com at
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