Positive Airway Pressure devices, also known as CPAP are medical grade breathing devices that help patients with obstructive sleep apnea or other lung complications. The very first time when the continuous airway pressure devices were mentioned, was in the early 1930s. However, only in the late 1980s was the first Continuous Positive Airway Pressure system developed. Ever since, leading medical device manufacturers strive to add new technologies and to improve CPAP therapy offered through CPAP machines.
CPAP machines are prescribed by physicians to patients with OSA- Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Apnea, literally translated mans “cessation of breath” and patients with this condition find it extremely difficult to get a good night’s sleep because their breath stops for a few seconds during sleep. At this point, the patient is awakened and having such a troubled and disturbed sleep is a major concern regarding their entire wellbeing.
Patients who live with OSA experience a narrowing of their upper airways, and this in turn leads to reduced oxygen intake into the lungs and blood. The patient is awakened suddenly and this episode can repeat itself several times during night.
The main symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
- constant daytime sleepiness & fatigue
- sore throat and dry mouth syndrome, since the patient can breathe mainly through the mouth
- acute morning headaches
- irritability, anxiety, difficulty in concentrating, even a state of depression can occur
- sudden arousals with a sensation of choking
Luckily, CPAP machines offer the best relief for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. The machine helps the patient
breathe less effortlessly and thus sleep comfortably without being awakened suddenly by a sensation of gasping for air or a sensation of choking.
CPAP machines for home use are available with three types of masks:
- a full face mask- this covers both the nose and the mouth
- the NCPAP – Nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure mask covering only the nose of the patient
- CPAP mask with nasal pillows (prongs) that fit into the nose
Discuss with your physician regarding the type of CPAP mask that would fit best your facial structure and your health needs of course. Some patients tolerate only full face masks, while others feel they are obstructed by them so they will opt of for the NCPAPs.
There are CPAP machines which have air pressured that are automatically adjustable, and there are CPAPs which have dual pressure adjustment levels- one pressure level for when you breathe in, and another setting for when you breathe out.
CPAP therapy is generally indicated in the case of patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea, but also CAD
(Coronary Heart Disease), COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and heart failure patients.
Relieving Side Effects from CPAP use:
- your physician may prescribe the use of a nasal spray with corticosteroids
- a humidifier also helps making ambient air more comfortable and thus helping to get efficient therapy through CPAP
- You should ensure that air does not leak around the mask- choosing a properly fitting CPAP mask is of primordial importance