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

A man in gray pajamas sleeping on a white pillow while wearing a gray sleep mask with his mouth open.

Have you ever heard of a CPAP machine and wondered what it does? CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure, is a device that provides a gentle sort of air pressure to open the airways of individuals who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). People who have slept apnea frequently stop breathing at night. A CPAP machine is one of the most effective methods for keeping the airways open so these patients can breathe, which is why it’s so important to understand this device. If you or a loved one has sleep apnea, this is something you should be aware of.

What Is a CPAP Machine?

This little machine produces air continuously. It pushes air into the patient’s body through the tubes and mask that are connected to it. This keeps the throat region open, preventing obstruction or collapse. The patient puts on the small face mask and goes to sleep with the machine operating. While they sleep, this high-tech device continuously puts out just the right amount of pressure needed to keep airways open and prevent sleep apnea episodes.

How Do CPAP Machines Make Living with Sleep Apnea Better?

The most serious consequence of sleep apnea is that the body is unable to keep the airway open during sleep. Because it can be caused by a variety of factors, this might occur for a variety of reasons. Obese individuals are among those who suffer from sleep apnea, while others may have situational sleep apnea or jaw issues, or hereditary predispositions. The use of CPAP machines helps to remedy sleep apnea by pushing air through the tube and into the patient’s nose, which keeps airways open so sleep apnea doesn’t happen. Here are some other benefits sleepers with sleep apnea may experience from using a CPAP machine:

  • Improved sleep quality
  • Increased energy during the day
  • Improvements in sleep apnea symptoms like sleepiness during the day or loud snoring
  • Reduced dependency on sleep medication
  • Fewer sleep interruptions overall

When you stop breathing while asleep, it’s a sign of having a sleep apnea problem. If you or someone you care about has recurring interruptions to breathing during slumber, it’s possible that they have sleep apnea. After a positive diagnosis is reached, the next step is to address the problem.

The most frequent therapy for people with obstructive sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. This occurs when the airway closes or becomes blocked, making breathing difficult. The individual is able to breathe freely and rest better thanks to the positive airway pressure. The use of CPAP machines is effective in treating sleep apnea. The person’s tissues are stimulated, which helps them feel better throughout the day and reduces tiredness. Because they are getting improved sleep at night, their bodies are less prone to respond badly to a lack of sleep. For most individuals, utilizing a CPAP machine is quite beneficial.

Positives About CPAP Machines

There are several advantages to utilizing a CPAP machine. For one, it allows people to breathe more effectively in their sleep than if they didn’t have it. While the device might be difficult for some, most individuals feel that having their breathing abilities back is well worth any minor challenges.

Second, a CPAP device may be personalized to some extent. Some individuals prefer the full mask that encloses their nose and mouth so they can breathe. Others like the nasal mask because it is smaller. A few people prefer the pronged-mask method. It has a tiny prong on it that pushes air into your breathing passages while you sleep. It is up to you which mask you use but talk to your sleep doctor about what is the best choice.

Third, because the patient uses a CPAP machine, he or she is far less likely to suffer from the negative consequences of sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can have a host of nasty effects on the body, including reduced attention and performance in different areas of life as well as health issues. Many of these issues go away when the patient is able to breathe again. Finally, studies have found that people who use a CPAP machine while they are having heart problems benefit their hearts. It can help lower blood pressure and relieve the strain that might lead to heart failure.

Struggles with CPAP Machines

There are some drawbacks to using a CPAP machine. Many individuals have trouble adjusting to the noise of the equipment while they sleep, as it prevents them from receiving adequate rest. Some people find that their masks are uncomfortable, causing them to be hesitant to use it every time they go asleep. The machine and mask are big and time-consuming to assemble. Many people are already exhausted from their sleep apnea in the first place. It’s a pain to add more time to their routine just to set up this sort of equipment. As a result, using the machine becomes even more difficult, so some people simply avoid it.

Alternatives to CPAP Machines

Fortunately, when CPAP machines become too much of a pain to use, there are alternatives. A dental device that keeps the airway open is one of the best on the market. It moves the jaw forward and maintains it in that position while the person sleeps. A gentle, continuous pressure is applied to the bite area. It keeps the jaw in the correct place so that the person may sleep. It’s simple for a sleep dentist to get for his or her patients. Also, it does not take long or much effort to use on a daily basis. The patient simply puts it in before going to bed and takes it out in the morning.

Getting Assistance in Choosing the Ideal Sleep Apnea Device

If you want to know what other choices you have that don’t involve using a CPAP machine, see a dentist who specializes in sleep medicine. They can assist with numerous elements of a sleep apnea condition. You may get a diagnosis and they might be able to provide you with a treatment strategy. Once you know how to treat your sleep apnea, you can choose which device is ideal for you.

For more information about sleep apnea and what it all entails, contact us here at the offices of Jeffrey W. Cross, D.D.S., F.A.G.D. Our office can be reached by calling us at (301) 662-0300. We can help you with everything from the initial sleep apnea diagnosis to selecting between a dental appliance and a CPAP machine!

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