An Overview of CPAP
The most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP therapy opens your airway during sleep with a gentle airstream that travels from a machine to your mask via tubing. This air pressure prevents your airway from closing, eliminating snoring, choking, and the breathing pauses of sleep apnea in the process.
A CPAP device will enable you to feel more aware, alert, and refreshed as your sleeps will no longer be disrupted by periods of oxygen deprivation. You will generally be in a better mood and some cognitive functions such as memory should be sharper.
A CPAP device consists of a small machine, a mask, and flexible tubing. The machines are not only lightweight but almost silent as well. They can easily be kept on your nightstand or at your bedside. The flexible tube is what connects the air pressure machine to the mask. This tubing is typically quite long, allowing you to more easily manoeuvre and even turn over in bed.
You can get a mask that covers either only your nose, mouth, or your full face (nose and mouth). There are nasal pillows available which fit into your nostrils as well. Your goal is to find a mask that fits nicely while still being comfortable to wear for long periods. A mask that fits properly is a necessity since an ill-fitting one can have air leaks that will make the mask less effective.
The doctor or specialist you consult with will be able to prescribe the optimal air pressure setting for your obstructive sleep apnea. Many CPAP machines have a ramp feature that begins with a low pressure for when you are falling asleep and then gradually builds up to the necessary setting for when you are asleep.
Consistency is key with using CPAP devices. Using it every time you sleep for the whole sleep will make you feel much better whereas missing nights can negatively impact your blood pressure.
Benefits to Using CPAP
A CPAP treatment can prevent numerous health issues including stroke, heart disease, depression, diabetes, and hypertension. Furthermore, the fatigue that comes with obstructive sleep apnea can result in motor vehicle accidents and CPAP protects you from this hazard by improving your sleep quality.
The benefits of CPAP are also perceivable in your day-to-day life and performance. Your sleeps will become more fulfilling and refreshing since your brain will not be waking you several times a night to warn you about a lack of oxygen. This oxygen is important to your brain and CPAP treatments will ensure that the quality of your memory, thinking, and concentration does not decline due to a lack of it.
Having better sleeps also means you tend to wake in a better mood. CPAP helps fend off depression and keeps you feeling your best. You will also experience less snoring or even no snoring altogether. A less noisy sleep environment may improve your bed partner’s mood also.
You also need to consider the financial benefit. While CPAP can cost some money in its own right, the many (more serious) health hazards that it protects you from you can avoid future trips to the doctor’s office and perhaps the cost of treatments for life-threatening illnesses and conditions.