Have you been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea? If so, you might be relieved to know that it is a fairly common sleep disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the throat relax during sleep. The relaxed muscles cause the airway to become narrowed or obstructed. When the airway is blocked, it prevents normal breathing during sleep. Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea usually include loud snoring, gasping for air, and abrupt awakenings.
Since obstructive sleep apnea can cause myriad complications, it's important to seek proper treatment. One effective treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. If you're not familiar with this type of treatment, here are three things to know about CPAP machines.
1. Know How a CPAP Machine Works
CPAP is an acronym that stands for continuous positive airway pressure. The CPAP machine provides a steady flow of pressurized air. This pressurized air cushions the upper airway, thus preventing it from collapsing during sleep. The CPAP machine is the part that houses the motor.
Other CPAP supplies that are necessary to make the machine work correctly include:
- CPAP mask
- Air filter
- Humidifier tub
- Air tubing
There are also many CPAP accessories on the market that can make your CPAP mask more comfortable to wear and to keep the supplies clean.
2. Know the Different Kinds of CPAP Masks
One of the major components of a CPAP machine is the mask. The different types of masks include:
- Full face. This mask covers the mouth and the nose and works well for those who need high airway pressure.
- Nasal. This mask covers either the bridge of the nose or fits just underneath the nose and works well for active sleepers.
- Nasal pillow. This mask contains soft pads that fit inside the nostrils and works well for men with beards.
Other types of CPAP masks include hybrid masks, oral masks, and total face masks. Your doctor will help you choose the CPAP mask that works best for your airway pressure needs and sleep style.
3. Know the Benefits of CPAP Machines
A CPAP machine greatly reduces the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Those who wear a CPAP machine while they sleep often no longer wake up in the middle of the night. Other benefits of wearing a CPAP machine to treat obstructive sleep apnea include a lower risk of heart attack, lower blood pressure, and reduced stress levels. Getting a good night's sleep can also decrease the chances of having anxiety and depression and increase productivity during the day.