How common is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and what are the Treatment Options?
September 15, 2017
Sleep Apnea Treatment Saves the Lives of Sleep Disorder Patients
September 28, 2017
Show all

What is CPAP and How Does it Help with Sleep Apnea?

Have you ever heard of a CPAP machine and wondered what it did? Well, CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, and it is a machine that provides this type of pressure to the airways of specific individuals. People who struggle with sleep apnea often stop breathing during the night. One of the more effective ways of keeping the airways open so these patients can breathe is through the use of a CPAP machine. If you or a loved one struggles with sleep apnea, this is an important piece of machinery to know about.

What Exactly Is a CPAP Machine?

This small machine continuously puts out air. It uses the tubes and mask that are attached to push air into the patient’s body. This forces the throat area to remain open, no matter if the patient is breathing in or out. What the patient does is puts on the small mask, and goes to sleep with the machine running. While they sleep this positive pressure helps to keep airways open without any worry or concern of breathing struggles.

How Does a CPAP Machine Make Sleep Apnea Easier to Live With?

The biggest issue with sleep apnea is that a patient’s body is unable to keep airways open while sleeping. This can be due to any number of issues. Some people struggle with sleep apnea because they are overweight, while others simply have messages getting mixed up in their body. The classic sign of a sleep apnea struggle is stopping breathing while asleep. If you, or someone you care about stops breathing regularly during their sleep, it may be due to sleep apnea. Once a positive diagnosis is made, how to treat the issue comes next.

A CPAP machine is the most common treatment for most people with obstructive sleep apnea. This is when the airway closes up or becomes obstructed, making breathing difficult. By having the positive airway pressure, the person is able to breathe normally and sleep better. This lets the person not be so exhausted all day long. Since they are getting better sleep at night, their body is not as likely to react negatively to a lack of sleep either. Most people who try using a CPAP machine find it incredibly effective. However, it is not always the perfect solution for everyone.

Positives About CPAP Machines

There are many positives that come with using a CPAP machine. First, it allows people to breathe in their sleep much more effectively than if they were not using it. While the machine may be difficult for some, most people find the restored ability to breathe worth any inconveniences. Second, a CPAP machine can be catered to your needs to some degree. Some people wear the full mask that covers the nose and the mouth to help them breathe. Others prefer the mask that simply covers their nose, since it is smaller. A few prefer the pronged-mask approach. It allows them to wear a small prong that pushes air into their breathing passages while they sleep, but it is a much smaller mask than the other styles.

Third, by using a CPAP machine, the patient is far less likely to struggle with the negative effects of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can cause a slew of problems with the body. It can lead to a loss of focus, the inability to function properly in different aspects of life, and even health issues. By helping to restore the person’s ability to breathe, many of these issues become non-issues for the patient. Finally, research has shown that using a CPAP machine on patients that have heart issues, is helpful to their hearts. It can reduce the strain that may otherwise lead to heart failure, plus it can help lower blood pressure.

Struggles with CPAP Machines

There are some downsides to using a CPAP machine. A lot of people struggle to use the machine, as they find it too loud to get solid sleep while the machine is running. The masks to some people are quite uncomfortable, making them hesitant to use it each time they go to sleep. The machine and mask setup is bulky, and takes time to set up. Many patients are overly tired because of their sleep apnea to begin with. By adding more time to their routine to set up this type of machine, it becomes a hassle. That makes using the machine even more difficult, so some people simply go without.

Alternatives to CPAP Machines

Luckily, when the CPAP machines become too much of a hassle to use, there are alternatives. One of the best alternatives on the market is a dental device that holds the airway open. It shifts the jaw forward and holds it there while the patient sleeps. This allows the patient to still get enough air, and holds the jaw right where it needs to be to allow the person to sleep. It is easy for sleep medicine dentists to get for their patients. Plus, it does not take much time or effort to use regularly. The patient simply puts it in before they go to sleep, and takes it out and cleans it in the morning.

Getting Help Deciding What Device is Best for Your Case of Sleep Apnea

If you want to know what options you have that do not involve the use of a CPAP machine, it is important you speak with a dentist that specializes in sleep medicine. They can help with many aspects of a sleep apnea problem. You can get the diagnosis from them, and they can often help come up with a treatment plan. Once you know how to treat your sleep apnea, you can determine which device is going to work best for you.

For more information about sleep apnea and what it all entails, contact us here at the offices of Mark Levy, DDS. Our office can be reached by calling (614)777-7350. We can help you with everything from the initial sleep apnea diagnosis to deciding between a dental appliance and a CPAP machine!