What is a CPAP Machine?

Individuals that suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) and snoring can benefit from using a CPAP machine. A CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure machine is a medical device prescribed by a board-certified sleep specialist. This machine provides users with a constant, gentle flow of pressurized air, which prevents your airway from collapsing during sleep. The continuous flow of air helps users breathe and maintain healthy blood oxygen levels throughout the night. Individuals prescribed a CPAP machine are encouraged to use it consistently every night for the entire time you’re sleeping.

While a CPAP machine may look intimidating, they’re designed with the user in mind and continue to advance each year. There are three main components in CPAP machines:

  • Motor: The machine portion of your CPAP machine houses the motor. The CPAP motor is designed to take in room temperature air and pressurize it. After the air is pressurized, the filtered air is carried to your airway through the hose and mask. CPAP machines are designed to be small and quiet, so your bed partner can still get a good night’s sleep. Humidifiers are also available so users can prevent dryness in their nose, mouth, and throat.
  • Hose: CPAP hoses can range in length, but they are around 6 feet long on average. The hose of your CPAP machine connects the motor to your mask and is designed to productively transport humidified air.
  • Mask: There are many different mask styles available today, and every user has a different preference depending on their breathing issues and style requirements. There are CPAP masks that go over your nose, full-face, or a nasal mask that is inserted into your nostrils. It would be best if you found a comfortable mask because you will be wearing it nightly.

Uses for a CPAP Machine

Those that have trouble sleeping because of snoring, gasping, or choking can benefit from using a CPAP machine. If your doctor has diagnosed you with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), or chronic snoring, you may find relief with a CPAP machine. If you are interested, it’s encouraged to consult with your healthcare professional to determine the next steps.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

If your bed partner says you snore or make gasping and choking sounds in your sleep, you likely have obstructive sleep apnea. Don’t worry; you’re not alone, as numerous individuals suffer from this medical condition. Snoring, gasping, or choking sounds occur because your airway relaxes an abnormal amount while you sleep, thus blocking your airway and preventing oxygen from reaching your lungs. The blockage periods are called “apneas,” which interrupt your breathing, raise your blood pressure, and cause you to snore, gasp, or choke. Those suffering from OSA wake many times throughout the night without knowing because of the occurrence of apneas. If you or your bed partner are unsure whether you have OSA, there are a few symptoms you can look out for:

  • Poor Sleep Quality
  • Headache Upon Waking
  • All-Day Drowsiness
  • Scattered Sleep Pattern

Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS)

Before being diagnosed with OSA, many experience upper airway resistance syndrome. UARS is the stage between regular snoring and OSA. This medical condition occurs due to your airway reducing in size because of loose tissue. The reduction creates resistance making it more challenging for air to travel to your lungs. You or your bed partner may notice OSA because of heavy, labored breathing and frequent awakening. If these symptoms are noticed, it’s encouraged to visit a healthcare professional to discuss your options because usually, if OSA is left untreated, it will eventually develop into OSA.

Snoring

Many hear that they snore at least a few times in their lives, but some individuals snore regularly each night. Snoring occurs due to tissue in your throat loosening and vibrating as you inhale and exhale during sleep. If you snore, your bed partner likely has trouble sleeping. While snoring can be harmless, it’s vital to monitor it as it can progress to UARS, eventually developing into OSA. Track your snoring patterns each day with your bed partner to determine the frequency and if anything makes it better or worse. Quality sleep is essential for both you and your loved ones, meaning it may be time to begin taking steps to improve and identify the underlying issue.

How to Get Started

Getting diagnosed with UARS or OSA is the first step to improving your sleep and getting a CPAP machine. While taking steps to make an appointment and hearing the results can be intimidating, the boost in your well-being and quality of life will be worth it. You’ll be asked to complete a sleep study at a sleep clinic, allowing sleep technologists to collect and study different findings during your sleep. With these findings, the sleep technologists will determine whether you’re experiencing OSA or UARS.

  • Brain Activity
  • Blood Oxygen Levels
  • Heart Rate
  • Respiration

From here, you’ll find out whether a CPAP machine will be a recommended form of treatment. If you are diagnosed with OSA or UARS, and a CPAP machine is approved, you will be asked to attend a second appointment where different CPAP machines and masks will be tested throughout the night to identify which design is best for you. The sleep technologists will also determine the air pressure level that will adequately clear your airway without disturbing your sleep.

Stick With Your Treatment Plan

Those diagnosed with a sleep disorder can benefit significantly from a CPAP machine, and if your healthcare professional recommends one, it’s encouraged to use it regularly. Regular use of a CPAP machine will give you outstanding results, and it’s important to remember that using a CPAP machine is merely a treatment for apnea, not a cure. Daily CPAP use will manage your apnea and give you a better quality of life, making it a significant part of your day-to-day routine. If you find yourself not wanting to use your CPAP machine, you must identify why and consult with your doctor to adjust treatment accordingly.

Start the Process to Improve Your Sleep

Chronic snoring can drastically affect your sleep and your bed partners, and it commonly shows what is to come. If you’re having difficulties with snoring, it can likely lead to UARS and OSA over time. Book an appointment with your doctor to have a sleep study completed to identify the underlying issue and begin utilizing a CPAP machine, if necessary. While a CPAP machine may seem intimidating, it can improve you and your loved one’s well-being and quality of life by getting a full night’s rest.

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