Getting to Know a CPAP Machine
You are a frequent, and loud snorer. And you often experience difficulty in breathing at night, morning headaches, and daytime sleepiness. Chances are you are already diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The next step would be to undertake a treatment, the most common one being a therapy via CPAP machine. CPAP is recognized as a gold standard therapy as per recent clinical studies and considered highly effective in controlling symptoms, improving quality of life. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4549693/ )
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. A device that helps people with OSA breathe easily in their sleep. It uses a hose and mask to deliver constant and steady air pressure and prevents your airway from collapsing when you inhale. The result? You sleep better, without waking up repeatedly, and also snore less.
Here’s a look at the various aspects of a CPAP machine, and how it can help in your treatment:
What is a CPAP Machine?
The CPAP device is basically a small box with a motorized turbine inside. It has a filter on it to eliminate the intake of dust, smoke, or other impurities in the air. It also has a humidification chamber that warms the water in order to humidify the pressurized air before it is delivered.
Essentially, the device has three parts:
- CPAP Motor
- CPAP Hose
- CPAP Mask
The CPAP motor fan draws in the room temperature air, which passes through the filter, and pressurises it to gently deliver the right amount of air.
The humidification chamber warms this pressurised air before it is delivered. And though it is optional, it brings relief for the majority of patients who wake up with a dry mouth, nasal passages, or throat.
CPAP hose ensures that the air is delivered by transferring it from the motor, to the mask.
The CPAP masks deliver clean, purified and humidified air that clears the obstruction in the airway of the patient.
Thus the CPAP device allows the patient to breathe freely in his sleep.
How to Use a CPAP Machine
Following your diagnosis, you will need to get the CPAP kit: the machine, hose and the mask. You will need to assemble the equipment, and follow the instructions for the same. It's very simple.
The main goal is to use the CPAP machine every night for as long as possible in order to enjoy the benefits of a quality sleep and good oxygen levels in the blood. But there are few other points worth noting before you start using it:
- Determine the air pressure setting that best benefits your condition.
- Find a good-fitting comfortable mask. Masks come in several variations, like nasal or full face, and in different shapes and sizes. It is best to try a few and see which style fits your face comfortably.
- While using the device, ensure that the seal over your airways is tight enough. This is important as it allows for continuous air pressure from your CPAP.
- You may find it difficult to get used to the forced air from a CPAP device. Consider switching to the ‘ramp’ feature, as this setting has low pressure air to make you tolerant to the technique.
- A stuffy nose as a result of using the machine may be because of a leaking or broken mask. Test your device before using it.
- Some may need to use a chin strap to keep your mouth closed at night. This will avoid breathing through your mouth, and reduce leakage of air while you use a nasal mask.
- If your CPAP machine is making a lot of noise, it may be due to the jammed filter. Check that the filter is clean, and nothing is blocking the path of air in it.
Work with your doctor to troubleshoot any problems you face initially, and adjust settings if needed. Some machines also have data which you can share online with your doctor, and they can determine if your device requires a change in settings. It might take a little while to find the correct settings and get used to the mask.
For your own healthy sleep regime, it is advised to use the CPAP device regularly. Do not stop using it without consulting your doctor, even after decreased severity in symptoms.
Sometimes it can get frustrating trying to get used to the CPAP device, but it is important that you stick with it. You will get used to it in some time. What is more important is that it will give you the best sleep you have had in a long time. The treatment helps you avoid complications of obstructive sleep apnea, and can positively affect your quality of life and health.
With ResMed, you can take a CPAP Trial for 2-weeks before starting the CPAP therapy, and see for yourself how effective it is.