HomeHealthCPAP:  CPAP Therapy: Breathing Machine

Machine to Treat Apnea: CPAP

Although sleep apnea has long been a difficult problem to treat because of its common misdiagnosis, the cpap machine has really had success in eliminating problems associated with this sleep disorder. Sleep apnea is a disorder that is both irritating and dangerous. It is annoying because it results in persistent fatigue and loud snoring due to the continual interruptions in normal sleep patterns as the body awakens itself to restore proper breathing function. However, it is also dangerous because it can cause people to fall asleep at inappropriate times and also increases the risk of serious health problems, such as heart attack, and stroke.

CPAP Machine Basics

The basic design of a cpap machine is a small bedside unit that pumps pressurized air through a tube that connects to a breathing mask worn by the sleep apnea sufferer. The breathing mask often covers both the mouth and nose, but there are other designs that attach only at the nostrils. Some cpap machines are more simple and streamlined than others that might have more options or choices available to the user. Essentially, the cpap machine delivers air into the lungs in a constant, uninterrupted stream. Because the stream of air is unbroken, the airway is never given the opportunity to collapse or become obstructed so breathing never ceases.

The most common form of the cpap machine is the simple unit that pumps air into the lungs at a constant rate of speed. However, there are other machines that allow the air speed and pressure to be adjusted manually depending on how much additional pressure the person needs in order to maintain an open airway. Other machines have internal sensors that automatically choose which air pressure is needed so that the air pressure is never too little or too much. BiPAP machines are similar to cpap machines except that they provide bi-level air pressure, having one for inhalation and one for exhalation.

The cpap machine has been very successful in treating sleep apnea, but there are still problems associated with this treatment option that make it difficult for some people to continue long term. Many people find it uncomfortable to sleep with the breathing mask because of claustrophobic sensations or because the mask moves out of place if the person tosses and turns during the night. Additionally, regular use of the cpap machine can result in dried-out nasal and throat tissues that can be irritating or painful. However, there are ways to deal with each of these problems, and it is recommended that people do whatever they can to make cpap therapy tolerable because it is one of the most effective treatment options for sleep apnea.

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