CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is the leading therapy for those who have sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening condition wherein the patient periodically stops breathing for several seconds in their sleep.
CPAP therapy uses a CPAP machine for which a doctor must prescribe usage, so the exact air pressure configuration needed is determined and provided.
Before the therapy
- The patient needs a sleep specialist who has completed additional education and experience in the area of sleep medicine. Sleep specialists often work in sleep centers and workplaces dubbed as sleep clinics and sleep laboratories.
- A sleep study also known as (polysomnogram) performed at a sleep clinic will be done.
The sleep specialist would find out the severity of your sleep apnea and would then recommend the best treatment options with the help of your results.
Other patients may qualify for Home Sleep Test or (HST). The equipment for the test is being taken home, and instructions are given on how to attach the sensors. The data gathered will then be interpreted by the sleep specialist.
- If by chance a CPAP machine would be the best option for you, a sleep titration study will be next. You will be testing overnight the various CPAP masks and various models of CPAP machines that will best fit your condition.
How it works
The patient will wear a mask that has an air pump. These two will be used so that air pressure gets delivered to the upper airway passage (throat) through the nose or/and mouth. In the case of a CPAP machine, the air pressure is constant.
Side effects of CPAP therapyThis therapy is non-invasive, making it safe. Patients may experience a stuffy nose while doing the treatment, which humidifiers can address.
It is also an important detail to take note of that missing to use the CPAP machine for a night may cause sleepiness the next day. If you are in a workplace, this downside for a day can be easily combated if you can get deliveries of healthy snacks with SnackNation.
Benefits of CPAP therapy
- Alive and alert
Since CPAP therapy helps in getting rid of sleep disturbance, which is your interrupted breathing, you’ll get to have a well-rested night. As you wake up in the morning for a new day, you won’t have that regular sleepiness. Also, you won’t have much of those irritable moments associated with not having a good night sleep.
- Improved cardiovascular health
As it has been known that sleeping disorders, specifically obstructive sleep apnea, may trigger other health issues that affect the heart, addressing sleep apnea with CPAP therapy helps with other issues, too.
The following are cardiovascular problems or heart-related issues that may be linked to sleep apnea:
- Bradycardia (irregular slow heart action)
- Coronary Artery Disease (arteries which supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed)
- Atrial Fibrillation (this happens when electrical impulses go off from multiple places in the atria)
- Heart Failure
- Revitalized outward appearance
There’s a reason why sleep is called “beauty rest.” Uninterrupted sleep means that your normal bodily activities while you are asleep aren’t hampered, thus leading to healthy and glowing appearance.
Alternatives to CPAP Therapy
- Positional therapy is an option as some patients experience less airway obstruction when sleeping on their sides.
- With mild or moderate OSA patients, a mandibular advancement appliance can be used to move the jaw forward and widen the size of the upper airway. Through this, air resistance, which leads to the condition of sleep apnea as well as snoring, will be reduced.
- If the patient possesses enlarged tonsils and adenoids, one of the alternatives would be removal. The palate and tongue, which are behind the tonsils, are most likely to require removal as it contributes to airway obstruction or snoring.
- A long palate shortened with the procedure UP3 (uvulopalatopharyngoplasty) is also an alternative to some patients. UP3 or uvulectomy is a procedure which removes excess tissue located in the soft palate to allow the air to move through the throat easily as it widens the airway.
- GGA or genioglossus advancement may be recommended when the airway collapses behind the tongue. GGA is a surgical procedure designed to move a portion of the chin bone forward from the rest, therefore increasing the airway size by pulling the base of the tongue muscles forward.
Above are the basics of CPAP therapy, of which there are a lot to learn. One thing that must be well-noted though is that sleep apnea is a serious matter and is a potentially life-threatening condition. Getting oneself diagnosed and be put into therapy is a must. The earlier for you to find out if this therapy suits you helps your overall health condition.