CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure therapy, is a treatment offered for obstructive sleep apnea sufferers. If you’re a bit mystified on how this therapy works, you’re not alone. CPAP therapy and its supplies are a bit complex but the results it can have on a sleep apnea sufferer can literally be lifesaving. Here’s a bit more about CPAP, what it does, how it works, and the essential supplies you’ll need to make it work.
How Does CPAP Work?
Sleep apnea is a serious problem that many Americans suffer from. People with sleep apnea have problems breathing properly in their sleep. They constantly snore which causes obstructions in their airway which can lead to a complete stop of breathing altogether. When you stop breathing you typically wake up and doing this anywhere from a few times to hundreds of times an hour leads to very little sleep at night. And not getting a good night’s rest can lead to many, many problems down the road if not dealt with immediately.
And so the most prescribed and recommended form of treatment for this is, of course, CPAP therapy. CPAP therapy uses a variety of machines and devices to ultimately pump clean air into the airway to keep the throat from sinking, cease snoring and air obstructions altogether so one can enjoy an entire night of restless sleep.
The CPAP Machine: This is the part you will plug into the power supply. It is the compressor that pumps the air into the airway. These are made to divvy out the precise amount of air pressure, consistently, that is required to keep the throat from collapsing. Not too little and not too much.
Most machines will come with a replaceable air filter that fits onto the air intake. The air filter ensures clean air, void of any impurities, gets into the lungs. The absolute best machines are very quiet and are nothing but a faint white noise in the background.
CPAP Hose: This is the piece that connects from the CPAP machine. It’s the hose that delivers the air from the machine to the mask. Industry standard hoses are around six feet in length which gives the patient ample room to move around in bed at night.
If you are buying a hose separate of what came with your machine, be sure circumference of the hose will fit your machine.
The CPAP Mask: The mask is part that goes over the head and plugs into the mouth and/or nose (or both). There are quite a variety of masks to choose from. Finding the right mask may take some time as all of them will feel differently and choosing a comfortable one will ultimately ensure you get better rest while not being weighed down or bothered by your CPAP mask.
Although there are quite a few brands and makers of CPAP masks to choose from right now, there are still basically only 3 standard frames to select from: the full face mask, nasal pillow, and the nasal mask.
Getting Started With CPAP:
If you suffer from sleep apnea and haven’t already talked to your doctor about taking a sleep study, that is the first thing you will want to do. While it’s not required to go through with the study to try out the CPAP therapy, it may make a difference in whether your insurance covers the cost of the machine and other equipment. There are also other, less intrusive forms of treatment you may want to try first.
Once you have all of the equipment and CPAP supplies you need for treatment, it is imperative that you use the machine regularly to see the best results. Use it every night and document how you feel during the day.
Remember CPAP treatments, even with the best supplies, is not a cure for sleep apnea. It simply ensures you get the proper air into your lungs at night so you can sleep peacefully and uninterrupted.