CPAP is the abbreviated term for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. A CPAP machine is used for those who have obstructive sleep apnea. When a person has obstructive sleep apnea, they stop breathing during times of sleep. This is caused by a blockage in the airway from the soft tissue in the back of the throat. When a person falls asleep the tissue closes blocking the air from getting into the lungs. A CPAP machine is used to keep the airway open by increasing the air pressure in the throat, preventing the airway from being blocked from the soft tissue.
The CPAP machine can be used every night when a person goes to bed. There are a few different types of masks that can come with the CPAP machine. There is a mask that covers your nose and mouth, a mask that covers just the nose or you can have prongs that fit into the nose that provides constant air. The most common form of mask used is the mask that covers the nose only. This is referred to as the Nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or the NCPAP.
Using a CPAP machine can take time to get used to. For the first few times of use, the mask may feel uncomfortable and hard to adjust to. If after a few days you are unable to sleep with the style mask that has been given to you, you may need to ask your doctor for a different fit or different style mask. For those that are able to get accustomed to the mask, sleeping may be dramatically improved. By having a constant oxygen supply you will be able to have less sleep disruptions. More people claim to have more energy during the day since they are sleeping better and longer at night. Other benefits from using a CPAP machine can include lowering your blood pressure, and for those who suffer from coronary artery disease using a CPAP machine can help prevent heart failure.
There are a few risk factors that can come with using a CPAP machine. CPAP machines can cause dry nose, sore throat and nose bleeding. They can also cause nasal congestion or a runny nose. The mask and air pressure may cause irritation on the face or to the eyes. Some people may experience stomach bloating, headaches or nightmares while using a CPAP machine. During the first few times of use you may find that air is leaking out the side of the mask due to improper fitting. Also it may take some time to get used to the machine and you may feel uncomfortable after waking the first few days after wearing the mask. Once you find the proper fitting mask and spend a few nights getting used to the feeling of the mask on the face, you may find that using the CPAP machine has improved your life.
Unfortunately for those whose health insurance does not cover the cost of a CPAP machine, a person may be stuck paying for one on their own. A CPAP machine can be expensive. They can also be a little noisy and may be a little too loud for the partner sleeping in the same bedroom.
Once a CPAP machine is being used for sleep apnea it is important to see your doctor for follow up appointments. This will allow the doctor to make sure the machine is working appropriately and is taking care of your needs. Further sleep studies may need to be done to ensure your breathing is better at night. If the CPAP is not doing the job correctly, your doctor may need to prescribe another type of breathing machine to help you breathe and sleep better.