CPAP treatment (Constant Positive Airway Pressure) neutralizes sleep apnea. Apnea, from the Greek for without breath , occurs when breathing stops during sleep. The lack of oxygen causes the brain to rouse the person from sleep. Waking up numerous times during the night prevents quality rest.
During obstructive sleep apnea, tissues and muscles block the airway. Side effects of apnea include fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Untreated sleep apnea has been noted as a risk factor for heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and hypertension.
If a patient suspects sleep apnea, his or her doctor will usually order a sleep study. During the study, the patient is hooked to electrodes, which monitor brain waves and breathing patterns. If sleep apnea is diagnosed, the patient will be set up with a CPAP machine.
The standard CPAP setup includes a mask, a hose, and a machine. The machine provides constant air pressure during sleep. This holds the air passages open, preventing waking. The appropriate air pressure is diagnosed during the sleep study.
Air is usually delivered from the machine via the hose and mask. Most patients use a nasal mask. However, other varieties exist. These include oral, full face, or a hybrid. Masks are attached to the face by a strap that goes around the back of the head. Chinstraps are also available to keep the mouth closed during the night. This helps air pressure to stay constant.
Doctors recommend replacing a mask every six months. They also recommend replacing the pad every three months. Replacement is usually covered by insurance. After six months, silicone softens and prevents masks from holding a seal. The patient tightens the head strap to compensate. This results in air leakage and facial sores at pressure points.
Caring for a mask is simple. Wash the mask with warm water and baby shampoo. Then, air dry the mask. Antibacterial soap breaks down silicone and should not be used. Soap with lotion or lanolin coats the mask. This could cause the mask to stop forming a seal. As a general rule, clean the mask in the morning. This removes oils from the skin that have attached to the mask. To prevent oil buildup, wash the face before going to sleep at night.
Additional features can improve the performance of the machine. Adding a humidifier to the setup can prevent dryness. Dried nasal passages cause swelling, congestion, sneezing, and even bleeding. They also provide breeding grounds for infections. Additionally, large particulates can be filtered best through disposable filters. All machines come with a washable filter. However, many find that disposable does a better job.
Partner with a physician when choosing a mask. View product comparison charts to choose the mask with the best features. Many companies offer a toll free line to connect customers to a CPAP specialist. Sometimes, patients have to try a few different masks before finding the right one.
Sleep apnea can be easily conquered with CPAP treatment. CPAP equipment is readily available, and caring for equipment is easy. If a mask doesn t work the first time, consult a doctor. Above all, keep trying. The dangers of sleep apnea are too serious to ignore.
CPAP treatment can be highly effective in treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. For some patients, the improvement in the quality of sleep and quality of life due to CPAP treatment will be noticed after a single night's use.