Sleep Apnea is not something that should be left untreated. Below, we look at everything you need to know about Sleep Apnea therapy including what a CPAP machine is and how it works.
Treating Sleep Apnea: What Is A CPAP Machine?
CPAP therapy has long been thought of as the gold standard for Sleep Apnea treatment. Those with mild to moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) will most often, depending on their circumstances, be prescribed a CPAP device by a sleep physician as part of therapy.
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. This form of PAP therapy has been used to treat Sleep Apnea since 1981 and was invented by Dr. Colin Sullivan. While the devices used today have advanced considerably in terms of technology and design since the initial model, their principle is the same.
While they vary in sizes, all CPAP machines have core features that are vital for treatment. These are a motorized machine that emits pressurized air, a fitted mask, tubing and air filters. Brands such as ResMed and Philips Respironics have been driving innovation in the CPAP device market with great success for many years.
How Does A CPAP Machine Work?
So, how does a CPAP machine work? First, you need to understand what happens during an apneic event.
In someone who has OSA, their airway collapses during the night causing either a full or partial blockage. This prevents air from entering the lungs causing oxygen to fall which then triggers the brain into sending a signal that jerks the person awake. These apneic events cause an individual to have disrupted and fractured sleep resulting in chronic fatigue, cognitive impairment and a higher risk of heart disease.
CPAP devices work by blowing pressurized air into the throat via a CPAP mask. This increases the airway pressure in the throat preventing the airway passage from narrowing and collapsing. The constant flow of pressurized air also helps to reduce vibrations that cause snoring and supports the airway, regulating breathing and improving sleep quality.
The level of pressure your CPAP machine is set to will be determined by your sleep specialist and will be set by a CPAP vendor. In some cases, you may find that the pressure is either too high or too low. If so, speak with your physician. They will reassess to make sure that your CPAP machine is working perfectly for your needs.
Top Reasons For Using CPAP Therapy
As you’ve read above, CPAP therapy is most commonly used as part of the treatment for OSA. However, physicians also prescribe PAP therapy for other sleep disorders and respiratory illnesses.
For example, those with Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) have been known to benefit from CPAP therapy. This sleep breathing-related disorder is known as the stage between mild snoring and OSA. While these individuals won’t have apneic events, their breathing will be heavy and laboured. CPAP therapy helps to support breathing and prevents the disorder from progressing into OSA.
It is always important to take action if you are experiencing chronic fatigue and daytime sleepiness. When left untreated, OSA can lead to the development of other illnesses such as congestive heart failure or stroke.