If you’re like one of millions of Americans, you may struggle with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) or Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). Both of these conditions make it difficult to achieve a good night’s sleep. Perhaps you snore or your partner has noticed you choke or gasp for air in your sleep. Then, it’s likely you’re experiencing OSA. OSA occurs when your airway relaxes during sleep and the muscles of your mouth and throat collapse. Because of this, your airway gets blocked and oxygen is prevented from reaching your lungs. These breathing disruptions are known as ‘apneas’, which raise your blood pressure and cause snoring.
Have you experienced similar symptoms? Do you wake up with severe headaches or feel drowsy during the day? Well, CPAP therapy may be the right treatment for you. Let’s walk through exactly what a CPAP machine is used for and all the potential benefits.
How Does a CPAP Work?
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) uses a machine that’s specially designed to treat OSA or other sleep apneas by delivering a constant stream of pressurized airflow. By doing so, your throat muscles stay intact while you sleep—allowing you to breathe normally, maintain healthy oxygen levels, and feel comfortable so you can rest easier.
There are various CPAP machines to fit your needs and individual lifestyle. These machines come with different pressure settings and a number of types of masks to customize and enhance your CPAP experience. Airsense 10 CPAP by ResMed is a popular model. And if you’re traveling, smaller device like the Air Mini Travel CPAP Machine can act as a perfect on-the-go option.
A CPAP machine is made up of three major parts:
- Motor: A small, quiet compressor, the CPAP motor can rest easily on a nightstand. The CPAP motor pressurizes the air in the room, filters it through the hose, then sends it to your airway via a mask.
- Hose: The CPAP hose connects the motor to the mask. These CPAP hoses are specially designed to filter humidified air.
- Mask: A CPAP mask comes in many shapes and sizes and is designed for individual comfort. It may fit over your nose or across your entire face, depending on your particular breathing issues and fit requirements.
To receive optimal results, it’s advised you use your CPAP machine every night. It’s also critical to test your CPAP equipment regularly, as you may need to adjust settings or swap out components that aren’t working properly.
Treatment vs. Cure
CPAP therapy is effective if you stick with it and insert it into your nightly routine. However, be aware CPAP therapy is simply a treatment to manage symptoms, not a cure. Here are a few reasons why CPAP therapy is beneficial:
Benefits of CPAP Therapy
- Prevents Snoring: As discussed, CPAP therapy keeps your airway open and reduces or eliminates snoring.
- Lowers Risk of Heart Disease: Apneas are linked to a variety of heart problems as you stop breathing and reduce blood oxygen levels, putting significant strain on your heart. With CPAP therapy, you lower your risk of congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and irregular heartbeat.
- Lowers Risk of Stroke: CPAP therapy can reduce your risk of stroke. A stroke occurs when there is blockage or rupture in the blood vessels leading to the brain. People with untreated sleep apnea are two to four times more likely to have a stroke.
- Improves Insulin Sensitivity: CPAP therapy can improve insulin sensitivity. Studies suggest sleep apnea is related to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, which are factors in type 2 diabetes. Untreated sleep apnea can increase your chances of getting type 2 diabetes.
- Enhances Concentration: No brainer. Sleep apnea can damage your brain tissue due to lack of oxygen—leading to fatigue and memory loss. But with CPAP therapy, your sleep pattern is restored, critical thinking skills and productivity increase, and you’ll find more energy throughout the day.
- Boosts Emotional Health: Untreated sleep apnea can increase your risk of depression and irritability. With CPAP therapy, your mood and quality of life can drastically improve.
While CPAP therapy is a long-term commitment, it offers several advantages. Trust that with time, patience, and consistency, you’ll see great results and your quality of life will improve.
How to Get a CPAP
To get a CPAP machine, you must have a prescription. Start by visiting your physician or a sleep specialist, who can facilitate an in-home or lab sleep study to confirm a diagnosis. This overnight study allows technologists to collect data involving your brain activity, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and respiration.
If you have sleep apnea, technologists can track how often you stop breathing. So, following the study, you’ll know the severity of your condition and how to approach your CPAP treatment. However, a second sleep study may be required to determine which CPAP device and mask will be most effective for you. Sleep technicians will test different air pressure calibrations to find a level that will clear your obstruction without disturbing your sleep. You should always consult with your health care professional before beginning CPAP therapy to avoid any potential side effects.
Once you have a prescription, order your CPAP machine online with CareLinc or visit a local CareLinc store. Our team will be happy to assist you in selecting the right device or additional PAP supplies, like cushions, humidifiers, or chin straps.
Still have questions about CPAP therapy? Contact us today.