CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) devices are most commonly used treating obstructive and central sleep apnea. Depending on the severity of one’s sleep apnea, a person may experience anywhere from 5 to 100 interruptions per hour in their breathing! These episodes lead to low oxygen supply to your body and brain.
Sleep apnea – How do CPAP devices work?
CPAP devices gently blow pressurized air through your airway to keep the throat from collapsing. CPAP machines are very easy to use and are composed of three major parts:
- CPAP motor– The CPAP motor is basically a small compressor. It draws in room temperature air and gently pressurizes it to deliver the perfect amount of air pressure that you need to clear your obstruction. The air intake portion of the machine has a replaceable filter that screens out particulates and impurities. CPAP machines also have a small water tank that, when turned on, heats up the water to provide moisture to the air you breath in. These built-in humidifiers are ideal for people living in dry or arid climates and those that frequently wake with dry mouth, throat, or nasal cavities. CPAP motors are very quiet and barely cause any disturbing noise.
- CPAP Hoses– The hose is simply the delivery device that transports the pressurized air from the motor to the wearer’s mask. Most hoses are now heated to reduce water condensation accumulation caused by the humidifiers.
- CPAP Mask– CPAP mask sizes and shapes may vary to fit different shaped faces, there are typically three mask type variations to choose from: nasal pillows, nasal masks, and full face masks. Finding the right mask for your personal level of comfort is the most important part of CPAP compliance.
How to get set up with a CPAP device
The first step in getting CPAP therapy is to have sleep study done to diagnose the severity of sleep apnea. Sleep study can be done at home, or in a sleep lab. CPAP device should be used every night. Ideally, you need to use it all night. At least 4 hours of use is mandatory for Medicare certification of need for CPAP therapy.
Benefits of CPAP Therapy
Those who begin using their CPAP devices, often begin to experience immediate positive results including:
- Elimination of snoring and breathing obstructions.
- Improvement in quality of nightly sleep.
- Prevention or reversal of serious health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
- Lower blood pressure both during the day and at night.
- Increased alertness during the day.
- Significant decrease of daytime fatigue and sleepiness.