What is CPAP?
Continuous positive airway pressure also known as CPAP is a type of treatment where a machine makes use of mild air pressure for keeping the airways open. It is used for people who are suffering from sleep apnea and other breathing problems.
This treatment is also conferred to preterm infants in whom there is an incomplete development of lungs. Physicians primarily use it for treating infants having bronchopulmonary dysplasia and respiratory distress syndrome. The physicians use a CPAP machine for the treatment which primarily has three parts:
- The machine consists of a device or mask which is fitted over the mouth and nose. There are straps for keeping the mask in place as you wear it
- A tube which aids in connecting the mask to the motor of the machine
- The machine has a motor that helps in blowing air into the tube
Heated humidifiers are one of the features of CPAP machines. These machines are lighter in weight and smaller. They make rhythmic and soft noise. CPAP is counted to be an effective treatment to remove the obstruction of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a disorder where there is an interruption in shallow breath or breathing during your sleeping. Owing to this, the lungs do not get air in the prerequisite amount. In obstructive sleep apnea, there is a blockage in the airway during sleep.
While breathing, the squeezed air in the blockage leads to loud snoring. The mild pressure coming from CPAP aids in the prevention of airway from getting blocked or collapsed.
How CPAP machines work?
The machines are simple and patients can use them with much ease. There are three main parts in a CPAP machine:
The CPAP motor happens to be a small compressor which helps in drawing the air at room temperature. It pressurizes it in a gentle way for delivering the right amount of air, required for cleaning the obstructions.
The air in taking part of the machine possesses a replaceable filter that aids in screening out the impurities and particulates. The recent CPAP machines come with a small water tank. As you turn it up, it leads to the heating of water for conferring moisture to the air you are breathing in.
These built-in humidifiers are essential for people who stay in arid climates. It is also preferable for those who wake up with nasal cavities or dry throat frequently.
The CPAP Hose is the delivery device that assists in the transportation of pressurized air from water to the mask. These devices are almost 6 feet in length. The diameter varies in accordance with the machine. The hoses are mostly heated for reducing the condensation and accumulation of water which is caused by the humidifiers.
These masks come in different sizes and shapes. The shapes and sizes are varied for fitting the faces of a different shape. The three kind of masks is full face masks, nasal masks, and nasal pillows. It is imperative to choose the right mask fo availing the right level of personal comfort.
Setting up the CPAP devices
To being the CPAP treatment, the physicians perform polysomnogram or sleep study at the sleep clinic. After studying the results of the sleep study, the sleep specialist will have an idea about the patient’s condition. Now, the physician will inform about the best treatment that can be imparted to the patient.
If CPAP machine is believed to be the right option, the patient has to go for sleep titration study. In it, the patient has to sleep in the clinic overnight by wearing different CPAP mask. Various machines are used for calibrating the air pressure which is a prerequisite for clearing the blockage of airway without causing any discomfort during sleep.
The patients should also qualify for the Home Sleep Test for determining the severity of the conditions of sleep apnea.After the sleep experts issue a CPAP machine for you, you have to use in on a regular basis. For alleviating the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, you should be using the device every night. The symptoms will start again if you discontinue the usage of the device.
Benefits of using CPAP
CPAP plays an integral role in treating sleep apnea. This machine aids in reversing the consequences in patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP treatment plays an integral role in maintaining the overall physical and mental well-being of a person. Some of the benefits of using this machine are
- CPAP keeps the airways open during sleep and reduces the sound of sleep.Thus, your partner can sleep in a proper way in a quiet environment
- CPAP improves mood and eliminates the risk of depression. It helps in improving the overall quality of life
- CPAP can aid in restoring the normal sleep pattern and enhance the sleep time
- CPAP leads to an improvement in thinking ability, concentration and decision making. It also boosts the productivity of a person
- As CPAP is used for the treatment of sleep apnea, there is a considerable improvement in the insulin sensitivity. It is also helpful in treating glucose intolerance, insulin resistance. Untreated sleep apnea also enhances the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- As your health is improved, CPAP aids in reducing the medical expenses. As sleep apnea is treated, a number of linked health problems are also resolved.
- As you sleep properly at night after using CPAP machine, the daytime sleepiness is reduced in you. Thus, there are reduced chances of an accident.
CPAP machines do not reduce strokes and heart attack for sleep apnoea patients
A recent case study by the Australian sleep specialists has revealed that CPAP machines lead to an improvement of the quality of life significantly. However, the machines do not reduce the chances of stroke or cardiac arrest.
The studies show that among 2700 sleep apnea patients suffering from heart problems, 10 percent are middle-aged women and 25 percent are middle aged men. Researchers found that there was no effect on the heart health of patients in terms of strokes and cardiac attacks. During a week, the patients are capable of wearing the mask for a time period of 3.3 hours.
This is not the prerequisite time for influencing and reducing unfortunate cardiovascular incidents. Patients, however, showed considerable improvement in terms of work productivity, mood, and overall well-being.
The previous research showed that CPAP is helpful for the prevention of strokes and heart attacks.It requires more research to confirm whether CPAP can be of help in preventing cardiovascular diseases in patients suffering from sleep apnea.
Side effects of using CPAP
Some of the problems that a patient may encounter while using CPAP machines are:
- A patient experiences excessive dreaming for the first few days of using CPAP
- A sore throat and dry nose
- If the mask has not fitted in a proper way, there may be leakage around the mask
- Irritation in face skin and eyes
- Sneezing, runny nose and nasal congestion
- abdominal bloating
- Nose bleeding is known to be a rare complication of using CPAP machine
There are possibilities of experiencing mild discomfort in the morning as you start using the CPAP machine. The side effect, however, starts disappearing after few days. If the side effects do not disappear after few days, you should consult your sleep specialist.