What are CPAP machines and why are they used in the treatment if Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is the most frequently prescribed device in the management of obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a medical disorder that is not caused by anxiety or insomnia. However, sleep apnea when left untreated often leads to a feeling of ill being, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia and daytime drowsiness.

Breathing pauses or interruptions are brought on by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), frequently because of a temporary obstruction or collapse of the throat or airways.

While you sleep, a CPAP machine continuously blows compressed air into your mouth and nose. This helps you breathe correctly by keeping your airways open.

How does a CPAP machine work? 

The compressor or motor of a CPAP machine produces a steady stream of pressured air that passes through an air filter and into a flexible tube. Purified air is delivered through this tube into a mask that is sealed over your mouth or nose.

The CPAP machine’s airstream forces any obstructions open as you sleep, allowing your lungs to get plenty of oxygen and assisting in the uninterrupted delivery of oxygen. As a result, your breathing does not slow down because there is nothing blocking this oxygen flow. You do not have to wake up constantly to start breathing again as a result.

What are the pros and cons of using a CPAP machine?

The usage of a CPAP machine has advantages and disadvantages, much like many other forms of therapy. Here are a handful of the well-known pros and cons.

It is commonly known that utilizing a CPAP machine has several advantages. As you sleep, these devices give your body an ongoing flow of oxygen. They contribute to avoiding the small breathing pauses that characterize sleep apnea by doing this. As a result you manage better oxygen saturation and a far better quality of sleep

Longer-term CPAP use often results in an increase in benefits. It is extremely important to recognize that usage of a CPAP machine when it is medically advised by your pulmonologist or chest specialist reduces your likelihood of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular event. Use of a CPAP machine with appropriate settings as advised by your doctor and his team enhances your capacity for uninterrupted sleep which in many cases helps with better cognition and commonly helps lower your blood pressure. Management of sleep apnea is known to help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels leading to overall optimization of health.

Some patients experience some discomfort and difficulty falling asleep, especially in the beginning while using a CPAP machine. Occasionally they may experience a feeling of anxiety or mild claustrophobia. These can easily be overcome. Some patients experience nasal congestion, dry mouth, occasional mild nose bleeds. Most of these issues can be easily overcome by ensuring a well-fitting mask.

The management of sleep apnea is gaining extreme importance as evidence points to the worsening of many diseases in all parts of the body because of it. Sleep apnea is diagnosed by way of a sleep study which can be carried out in your own home or in the hospital and its analysis along with a consultation with a Board Certified chest specialist and pulmonologist who is specially trained and certified in the area of sleep medicine.