Sleep apnea is a very serious sleep disorder affecting over 22 million Americans. During sleep apnea, sufferers stop breathing for several seconds at a time. This causes a dangerous drop in oxygen levels and disrupted sleep. Each time the individual stops breathing, their body and brain enter a state of panic. This increases blood pressure and causes the person to wake up, often gasping for air. The most common remedy for sleep apnea is the use of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. Doctors will recommend a CPAP to qualified sleep apnea candidates following a sleep study to determine the severity of the condition. This article will explain exactly what a CPAP machine does and tips for successful use.
What Does a CPAP Machine Do?
The name CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure), gives you a good indication of the machine’s purpose. A CPAP is used to open up blocked airways in sleep apnea patients. When the muscles of the tongue and throat relax during sleep, they can fall back into the throat and obstruct the airways, making it difficult to get adequate air flow. This blockage is what causes sleep apnea, and in many patients, snoring. A CPAP machine is designed to force air into the nose and mouth, opening up these passageways and allowing air to easily pass through. Because sleep apnea is a medical condition, most insurance companies will cover the cost of the machine. But you can find out more about how much a CPAP costs at this website.
Tips for Using a CPAP
Most people aren’t used to having a steady, forceful stream of air pushing into their nose and mouth. Especially not when they’re trying to sleep! It takes time for sleep apnea sufferers to adjust to wearing a CPAP machine. It can be uncomfortable at first, and may even wake you up. But in time, with enough patience, patients report looking forward to wearing their CPAP because they know it makes for a good night’s sleep. Here are some tips for adjusting to your CPAP.
Test it Out
When you first get your CPAP machine, try it on. It doesn’t matter if it’s nighttime or not. Take a few minutes to wear the headgear and see how it feels. Turn the CPAP on and see how forceful the air is coming out. Try to leave it on for short periods of time while watching TV or relaxing. The CPAP will be an adjustment for whoever lives with you as well. While the machine isn’t loud (not nearly as loud as your snoring may have been), it is a little odd to look at. But in just a few weeks, everyone in your family will be accustomed to your CPAP.
Use the Humidifier
Most newer CPAP machines come equipped with a humidifier. This prevents your airways and nasal passages from drying out. During the night, the CPAP will force air into your nose and mouth and down into your lungs. This steady stream of air can irritate your nasal passage and throat. Moisture in the air provided by a humidifier; cuts down on this irritation and discomfort. Just be sure to fill it with water when needed.
Try Different Sleep Positions
Depending on which sleep position you prefer, it will take time for you to find a comfortable position while wearing your CPAP. Some machines are designed differently than others and the hose that connects your mask to the machine may fall in different positions. Try sleeping flat on your back when possible, which allows for the best air flow. Side-sleeping is fine if you can do so without kinking the hose. Sleeping on your stomach with a CPAP machine is not recommended and likely very uncomfortable. You may also need to adjust the straps on the headgear to find a snug and comfortable fit that isn’t too tight or too loose.
Keep it Clean
It’s extremely important to keep your CPAP clean to avoid any mold or bacteria from building in the humidifier. You should clean your headgear, mask, humidifier, and hose. You can easily bring your hose in the shower with you and rinse it through with warm soapy water. Clean your humidifier using a teaspoon of white vinegar and letting it air dry. The headgear and mask can also be rinsed with mild, soapy water and left to dry. This should be done at least twice a month.
Living with sleep apnea is a struggle for so many Americans. But CPAP machines are changing lives by helping sleep apnea sufferers get a quality night sleep and improve their overall health. While it may take you time to get used to wearing a CPAP machine every night, the benefits will far outweigh the cons.
Article Submitted By Community Writer