What is a CPAP Machine?
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a medical apparatus that is primarily used for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea. It comprises a box-like unit attached via tube to a mask that the patient wears on their mouth and nose. Sleep apnoea patients use the device at night to counter the effects of their breathing problems.
CPAP machine is also used on hospital patients as an interim device when they are transitioning from breathing tubes or intubation to normal breathing. It is prescribed as part of first line treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea.
How does CPAP work?
The muscles that help to keep our throats open become more relaxed when we sleep. In this relaxed state, the tissues and muscles in the upper airway may collapse resulting in a partially blocked air passage. This causes pauses in breathing known as “apnoeas”. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea refers to the sleep breathing disorder brought about by the complete or partial blockage of the airways. Common OSA symptoms include loud and persistent snoring as well as repeated choking and gasping during sleep.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) uses air pressure to open the throat muscles so that the air passage remains open and allows the patient to breathe normally while asleep. The amount of air pressure required for each patient may be determined by an overnight sleep study, also known as a polysomnogram (PSG). Usually carried out by a sleep physician or technologist, the PSG is a pain-free procedure used to monitor brain wave activity, breathing and snoring patterns – via sensors placed on the chest, head and legs.
The PSG scores will be interpreted and diagnosed by a qualified sleep physician to assess the kind of sleep disorder you may have buy cpap machine. If CPAP is determined as a treatment option for you, they would recommend the appropriate air pressure levels based on the sleep study results.
Is CPAP right for me?
The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is usually the first choice prescribed by sleep physicians for sufferers of obstructive sleep apnoea.
By keeping your airway open while you sleep, it can correct your snoring and improve your quality of sleep – not to mention giving the people in your household more peaceful nights. It also helps to relieve your sleep apnoea symptoms – that often stem from sleep deprivation – including daytime sleepiness, loss of concentration, morning headaches and memory loss. CPAP also lowers the long-term risks associated with OSA such as heart failure, diabetes, stroke and even death. People who use CPAP report many positive results – even after the first day of using it. While they claim to feel more alert and less tired during the day, their bed partners also report fewer complaints about snoring and sleep disruption.
Unfortunately, many patients have trouble complying with the directives. It is estimated that only 23% – 45% of patients have success with the CPAP method. CPAP involves a long-term treatment mainly because it only creates a temporary solution. Despite being the most common treatment option, it also happens to be the least tolerated. Part of the reason is because sleeping with a breathing mask on does not feel natural. While it should ideally be worn all night, many CPAP users wear it for 4 hours or less per night.
In other words, CPAP is highly successful when used properly and offers many benefits. However, the success or failure of CPAP treatment usually depends on whether you can comply with the treatment protocols and stick to them.
CPAP masks are a permanent solution for mild to severe obstructive sleep apnoea. While your health professional is best placed to recommend if CPAP is right for you, it is worth considering based on your desired lifestyle. Unlike dental appliances, CPAP masks are not portable (though separate travel varieties are available) and can be restricting when trying to sleep. If you have a partner, it is important to discuss with them their thoughts around the CPAP machine as the device may have an impact on their ability to sleep also.