CPAP therapy is normally recommended as a treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP which refers to continuous positive airway pressure is a therapy that works by blowing air that has been pressurized down your throat. The pressurized air keeps the tissues at the back of your throat from collapsing and blocking your airway.
The tissues normally collapse when you are asleep causing you to stop breathing for a few seconds. The therapy therefore keeps your airway open so that you can breathe without any problem. Using a CPAP machine will enable you to have better quality of sleep and you will avoid some of the health risks that are associated with sleep apnea.
Using A Fixed Pressure Machine
There are different types of CPAP machines that you can use for your therapy. The fixed pressure machine provides a constant amount of pressure during therapy. The pressure that is set on the machine is prescribed by your doctor and you should not adjust it. Your doctor can however adjust the pressure from time to time due to some changes. For instance, if you lose or gain weight, the severity of your condition is also likely to change.
Most fixed pressure machines can produce a pressure of between 4cm/H2O to 20cm/H2O. To make it easier for you to breathe in the pressurized air, you can opt for a machine that has the ramp feature. This feature causes the machine to initially deliver the air at a lower pressure and the pressure gradually increases until the required level is attained. This helps you to adjust to the higher pressure more easily than having to breathe in a gust of air when the machine is switched on.
Automatic Pressure Machines
An automatic CPAP machine, also referred to as an APAP machine, has inbuilt sensors that can calculate the amount of pressure that you require as the therapy progresses. The machine can sense an apnea and will therefore increase the pressure to keep the airway open. It will then decrease the pressure when you go back to breathing normally.
The machine also provides pressures of between 4cm/H2O to 20cm/H2O. Automatic machines normally have the ability to record data about your therapy sessions. This data can be used by your doctor to know whether the therapy is effective and whether the pressure levels should be adjusted.
Another version of the automatic machine is the bi-level positive airway pressure machine or BiPAP. The machine uses two sets of pressure; a higher pressure is used when you breathe in and a lower pressure is used when you breathe out.
Is CPAP Effective?
The use of a CPAP machine will enhance the quality of your sleep and you will wake up feeling more energetic. You will be more alert during the day and the risk of motor vehicle accidents will be reduced. Your chances of contracting diseases linked with sleep apnea such as high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease will also reduce. You will no longer snore which will allow your partner or other family members to also enjoy a good night’s sleep. You can only enjoy the benefits of a CPAP machine by using it on a daily basis. Once you stop using the machine, the symptoms of sleep apnea will return.