CPAP or “Continuous Positive Airway Pressure” is the number one treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. A CPAP machine blows room air through a tube into a mask pushing air through your closed airway. The pressurized air is adjusted based on an exam of a person’s sleep-time breathing pattern measured during a sleep study.
Sleep Apnea is a medical condition that causes a person’s airway to close during sleep cutting off oxygen to the lungs. This sleeping disorder can trigger and or worsen many medical conditions such as:
- Heart Attack
- Mood Disorders
- High Blood Pressure
CPAP can treat over 90% of all night-time apnea. It is recommended you have a sleep study if you have any signs and symptoms of sleep apnea such as:
- Fatigue all Day
- Gasping While Asleep
- Sleep Time Body Jerking
A sleep study is performed in a sleep lab where you are connected to a diagnostic machine. The machine’s computer measures your body’s sleeping pattern. If during the sleep study you meet the criteria for sleep apnea you are then placed on a CPAP machine. Sleep Apnea
A universal mask is placed over your nose and mouth, or just nose and pressurized air is blown into your throat to keep your airway open. The sleep study measures how much pressurized air is needed to keep your airway open. These settings are programmed into a CPAP machine for home use.
If you choose home treatment then you are fitted with a CPAP mask specific to your needs. The mask connects to the sleeping machine that blows pressurized air through a hose into the mask. Opening your airway allows you to get into a deep sleep, or REM sleep, regenerating the body and brain.
CPAP is very effective but some sleep apnea patients cannot tolerate it. Some of the reasons for this are:
- Dry Mouth
- Mask Pain
- Noisy Machine
- A Smothering Sensation
- CPAP Mask Wraps Around The Head
- Abdominal Bloat From Swallowing Air
Most if not all of these conditions can be overcome after a person receives deep sleep and realizes how much better they feel. The quality of life improvement can be quite dramatic. Many people feel so much better after using CPAP, they learn to tolerate any early discomfort.
Don’t give up if you cannot tolerate masks and machines for apnea treatment. There are alternatives to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy. CPAP alternatives include:
- Weight Loss
- Stop Smoking
- Surgical Correction
- Breathing Exercises
- Sleeping Mouth Piece
- Sleeping Position Changes
- Stopping Alcohol Consumption
Do not ignore signs and symptoms such as snoring, tired all day, mood swings and medical problems that could be worsened by sleep apnea. Sleeping apnea is a dangerous medical condition. Whether you use CPAP or CPAP alternatives, the most important thing is to not ignore sleep apnea.