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Sleep Apnea Treatment: CPAP Machine

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After being properly diagnosed via sleep study, sufferers of sleep apnea are often prescribed a CPAP (see-pap), also sometimes referred to as “the sleep apnea machine“. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. This machine overrides the apnea sufferer’s tendency to not breathe by “forcing the issue” a bit…i.e., by constantly presenting a certain level of air pressure, breathing is reinforced and the airway is prevented from collapsing…resulting in a nice, continous flow of oxygen to the lungs…and by extension, to the blood and brain.

CPAP machines continue to develop over time with advancements in technology. In recent years, they have become smaller and quieter (which, along with providing a solution to the apnea sufferers breathing difficulties, helps enhance the sleep environment). CPAPs commonly cost a thousand dollars or more (usually covered by insurance when diagnosed via sleep study by a doctor), and each one has specific pressure settings. A prescription from a qualified sleep doctor will indicate the setting at which the machine should be used, and technicians from the company that provides the medical equipment will set the pressure before delivery.

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CPAP Supplies

CPAP machines use filters which help protect the user from breathing in certain particulates. These filters should be replaced on a regular basis (this is somewhat dependent on the environment where the machine is used).

The CPAP mask comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some provide only a small connection to the nostrils, some cover the entire nose and some “full-face” masks cover the nose and mouth. Getting used to a mask can take some effort and a lot of patience. It’s easy to throw in the towel…but this can be a dangerous decision. If an apnea sufferer is having a hard time adjusting to sleeping with a mask on, there are several options, including:

  • trying a different mask style
  • use of “nasal pillows” to ease pressure on the nose
  • sleeping with the mask for just a few hours each night…gradually increasing the amount over time
  • experimenting with strap settings
  • using skin moisturizers to prevent chapping and other irritations
  • experimenting with various sleep positions
  • consulting with your medical equipment company or your sleep doctor

Also, while the CPAP machine creates a stream of pressure that naturally tends to hold the mouth closed, not all apnea sufferers have the same experience.

Some find that a chin strap is required to hold the mouth closed, protecting the “seal” and maintaining the appropriate air pressure.

BiPAP machines (or bilevel PAPs) add another feature to breathing enhancement, by lowering the pressure during exhalation. This makes the breathing process easier for some apnea sufferers. Another recent development is the AutoPAP, employing an internal regulator which adjusts the pressure as needed, rather than remaining at a fixed level.

Alternate spelling: sleep apnoea | Common misspellings: sleep apnia, sleep apena, sleep apneia
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{ 7 comments }

Milly from Sleepmasters Beds

Even though wearing the mask to bed may be a daunting prospect, if there is a chance that it can decrease the effect of apnea then it is worth a shot.

Max from Medical Equipment

I never really knew how sleep apnea was treated or anything about the machine used to do it. This was a great and informative post, so thanks.

Tessie from Latex Foam Mattresses

Maybe one should try some night exercises. Something like a chamomile candle or something. That could promote a sound sleep.

john from CPAP Review

CPAP machine is giving me a full nights sleep and has eliminated my snoring so my wife can sleep too. If readers haven’t had a sleep study I highly recomended getting one - it could change your life.

jim from Dr Hulda Clark

CPAP machine is fantastic ,i would say and will give me a full sleep.

Doug from Food Cooking Guide

My uncle had to use a CPAP, it’s kind of a scary thing to not breath while sleeping.

Dave from unit dose packaging

I’m very impressed by the newer cpap machines. They work miracles and are so silent and small.

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