One of the most common treatments for sleep apnea is a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. It keeps your airways open while you sleep so you can get the oxygen you need to function correctly. CPAP machines can improve sleep quality and lower your risk of various health problems, including heart disease and stroke.
What exactly is a CPAP machine?
A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is used to treat sleep apnea. This device delivers constant pressurised air into a mask you wear while sleeping via tubing.
What is the purpose of CPAP machines?
Your sleep physician can treat obstructive and central sleep apnea with CPAP machines. Breathing is disrupted during the sleep cycle in both disorders. The disruption can happen hundreds of times in one night, resulting in a lack of oxygen and an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other health issues. A CPAP machine keeps your airways open by continuously delivering air through your nose and mouth.
Are there various types of CPAP machines?
A CPAP machine is one type of PAP (positive airway pressure) device. While CPAP machines are the most common, there are other types available. These are some examples:
- Bi-level PAP: This machine employs two pressures: one for inhalation and one for exhalation.
- Auto CPAP: This device regulates itself by using a variety of pressures to keep airways open.
- Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV): ASV, reserved for people with central sleep apnea, helps to keep your airway open by delivering a mandatory breath when needed.
What are the various types of CPAP masks?
There are several types of masks available. The kind best for you is determined by your level of comfort, your breathing habits, and the kind of sleep apnea you have. Types of CPAP masks include:
- Nasal mask: This alternative will keep your nose covered. People who move around a lot while sleeping are often advised to use a nasal mask.
- Nasal pillow mask: As contrasted to covering your entire nose, a nasal pillow mask only covers your nostrils. Some designs include prongs that fit into your nostrils. People who use nasal pillow masks can comfortably wear their glasses.
- Full mask: This triangular mask is designed to cover your nose and mouth. People who breathe through their mouths while sleeping should use a full mask. If you have a nasal blockage, your doctor may recommend this mask.
The Health Advantages of Using CPAP Machines
CPAP therapy treats various health conditions and issues in addition to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and snoring.
- High Blood Pressure: According to studies, patients with hypertension experienced a drop in blood pressure while using a CPAP machine.
- Cardiovascular Disease: A study discovered that using a CPAP machine reduced cardiovascular events in people with coronary artery disease (CAD).
- Depression: CPAP users who used their machine at least seven hours per night reported feeling less depressed and far more alert throughout the day.
- Reducing Stroke Risk: Sleep apnea is also linked to strokes. According to meta-analyses, more than half of those who have had a stroke have moderate to severe sleep apnea.
- Upper Respiratory Insufficiency (UARS): UARS is a type of sleep-disordered breathing between mild snoring and complete sleep apnea. If not treated, UARS almost invariably progresses to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Although CPAP therapy is not always the first line of treatment for UARS, it is frequently recommended as it helps keep the airway open as the condition progresses.
Are there any side effects of using a CPAP machine?
It may take some time for you to get used to your CPAP machine. Some people find them burdensome or unpleasant. Some disadvantages are:
- Sleeping difficulties (insomnia).
- Congestion in the nose.
- Dry mouth.
- Feeling bloated.
- Feeling claustrophobic.
- Skin sensitivity
Most of these side effects will disappear as you get used to your CPAP machine. If your device causes discomfort, consult your healthcare provider about different mask or equipment options.
Starting CPAP Therapy: Some Pointers
The initial step is to get a diagnosis. To find out if you have sleep apnea, go to your primary care physician (PCP) or other health care provider and ask for a referral to a sleep doctor. They will recommend that you undergo a sleep study (polysomnograms), which your sleep physician can do at a sleep clinic or home.
The polysomnogram is an overnight test that allows sleep technicians to gather detailed information about your sleep, such as brain activity, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and respiration. Sleep lab technicians can track how frequently you pause per hour of sleep if you have sleep apnea.
A sleep lab will send you simple equipment you can attach to yourself before sleeping for a home sleep study. It monitors your heart rate and breathing rate. Disconnect it from yourself in the morning and return the equipment to the lab or clinic for analysis. You must then send the results of either test to your specialist, who will meet with you to discuss your treatment options.
Using a CPAP Machine:
It is simple to use a CPAP machine. Follow these simple steps to get started:
- Fill the humidifier chamber with distilled water and place it in the machine. It would help if you always started with this step. You should also make sure only to use distilled water. Using tap water can leave a chalky film on the bottom of your humidifier, making cleaning more difficult. Just make sure to clean your CPAP after each use properly.
- Many machines have a ramp feature that allows you to begin the night with a lower therapy pressure and gradually increase your prescribed pressure, making it easier to fall asleep. Determine whether you intend to use this feature and ensure it is enabled on your machine.
- Start with the headgear and slide the mask into place. Most masks require you to slide the headgear over the back of your head before positioning the cushions and frame.
- As needed, clip or attach the headgear to the frame.
- Start the machine.
A message from the Heartscope Specialist Group
The truth is that CPAPs work for many people, allowing those who adhere to their therapy to live more productive lives. When your therapy is effective, you may notice an increase in your energy levels, which can lead to positive changes in other areas of your life.
Maintaining open lines of communication with your healthcare professional is crucial so they can adjust as needed and prevent you from falling behind in your treatment.
You should examine your data to know if your CPAP is working correctly. The data can be challenging to interpret initially, but the Heartscope Specialist Group is here to help. Once you understand what the data means, you can determine whether or not your sleep apnea therapy is effective.
You can also find our community of helpful CPAP specialists at the Heartscope Specialist Group, where you can get answers to your questions about getting better sleep.