If you have moderate or severe sleep apnea, you will most likely be told to use a CPAP machine because it is the single best treatment for this problem.
It’s important to understand what a CPAP machine does and how it works. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy. The machine helps to increase the air pressure inside the throat, so that each time you breathe, your airway doesn’t get blocked.
If you have sleep apnea, your airways close when you sleep, making it harder to breathe. This can happen for a moment or two, multiple times per hour. How often it happens will determine the severity of your sleep apnea. If this takes place too often, it is very dangerous and may even prove to be fatal.
If your sleep apnea is very mild, you won’t need a machine; however, moderate or severe cases need a CPAP machine as a potential life-saving device. You can either buy or rent a machine, but you will need to buy the mask and tubing.
The CPAP machine has a face or nose mask, depending on your preference. The nose mask has two prongs, while the face mask covers both mouth and nose. The mask connects to a machine via a tube. The nasal prongs are the most common, because they are less intrusive when you are trying to sleep.
The mask is connected to a machine which blows a constant mild stream of air, just enough to keep your airways clear all the time. It is a simple way of getting a good night’s sleep, free from blockages and disruptions.
This is the best treatment that doesn’t involve surgery. It is easy to set up and run each night, and the mask is very easy to clean as well.
It is important to know that the CPAP machine may also cause a few minor problems, including:
- Sore throat and a dry nose.
- Runny nose, congestion in your nose and sneezing.
- Excessive dreams, especially when you first start using it.
- Leaks around the edges of the face mask if it doesn’t fit snugly.
- Chafing in your nostrils if you use the nasal prongs.
- Rare nosebleeds.
- Abdominal bloating.
It generally takes time to get used to the CPAP machine. The mask is considered to be more intrusive than the nasal prongs, and you must sleep on your back or side when using the machine. It makes a soft, nonintrusive sound, but if you are a light sleeper, you may want to use earplugs to block it out, as it can disrupt your sleep.
Sleep apnea may cause snoring, but treatment can reduce or even eliminate your snoring. This is good news for you and your partner, if you have one. If you are overweight, it is more likely that you will suffer from sleep apnea. If you have more fat in your neck, enlarged tonsils and/or a larger tongue, your airways can get blocked from time to time.
Sleep apnea must be taken seriously, because it can affect many other areas of your life. Seek treatment if you have this problem, and don’t forget that the CPAP machine can help improve the quality of your sleep.