If you are a snorer, there are many ways you can try to get the problem under control and using a CPAP machine is one of them.
However, although a CPAP machine may stop you from snoring, that’s really just a bonus. This type of machine is for treating the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to stop breathing during the night. When this happens it breaks normal sleep. This can cause you to spend your days feeling tired and fatigued.
Needless to say, the condition can have more worrying consequences. Sleep apnea can cause people to die in their sleep.
Snoring is another symptom of sleep apnea so, if you are using a CPAP machine it should control your snoring too.
It’s important not to think of CPAP machines as a cure for sleep apnea. They are not. All they do is control the symptoms, one of which is snoring.
What Will I Learn?
The Benefits of Using a CPAP Machine
If you suffer from sleep apnea and your doctor provides you with a CPAP machine, it will improve your quality of sleep. This, in turn, is likely to improve your state of mind, mood, and overall health.
A CPAP machine will help you to breathe more easily, stop snoring, and wake up feeling refreshed.
Apart from helping you to sleep better, the machine will also prevent you from waking up your partner and other members of the household. This will allow them to benefit from a better night’s sleep as well.
In addition to these benefits, using a CPAP machine can prevent/reverse serious and long-term conditions, such as high blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and strokes.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
The most common type of sleep apnea is OSA. That’s an acronym. It stands for obstructive sleep apnea.
OSA can cause you to stop breathing numerous times when you are asleep. Sometimes up to 30 times per hour. This happens when the throat muscles relax and block your airway.
In their relaxed state, the muscles are more prone to vibrate when air passes them by. This vibration of flesh creates the noise we call snoring.
OSA is a surprisingly common condition that affects millions of people all over the world. If your snoring is loud enough to pull you from sleep or keep other people awake, it’s possible you may have OSA.
If you find yourself waking up choking or gasping for air, that’s another tell-tale sign. When breathing stops in this way, it’s known as an “apnea.” That’s how the condition got its name.
Other symptoms of sleep apnea may include waking up with a headache, daytime drowsiness and fatigue, lack of libido, night sweats, irritability, and waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat.
If you think you may have sleep apnea, it’s advisable to share your concerns with a doctor. Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor may then arrange for you to have a CPAP machine installed in your home.
What Is CPAP Therapy and How Does it Work?
Like OSA, CPAP is an acronym. It stands for continuous positive airway pressure. CPAP machines are suitable for treating mild to severe sleep apnea.
CPAP therapy involves sleeping with a mask over your face. It’s attached to the machine, which provides a steady flow of air.
This gentle stream of pressurized air prevents your airway from collapsing during sleep. It’s comparable to the way the wind opens up a wind sock placed in a breeze.
The immediate benefits are improvements in oxygen supply, uninterrupted sleep, and a decreased tendency to snore. Using a CPAP machine can also make you feel more vigorous and energetic throughout the day. It has the potential to save your life as well.
Many people who use CPAP machines also sleep wearing a chin strap. It prevents the mouth from falling open during sleep. This would be undesirable because an open mouth causes a drop in pressure, defeating the object of the machine.
CPAP Machines: Ease of Use
CPAP machines are simple devices. They are not difficult to use and the technology continues to improve.
The machine consists of three main parts:
- Electric motor
The motor is the real guts of the machine. It has the task of pumping the air. The hose and mask only deliver it to you while you are asleep.
The CPAP motor is housed in the main body of the machine. It’s a compact, quiet compressor that draws in air from the room, pressurizes it, and then pumps it to the mask via the hose.
Some people use their CPAP machines in conjunction with a humidifier. Doing so prevents their mouth, throat, and nasal passages from becoming overly dry.
CPAP machines always have a generous length of hose. It’s usually around six feet long and is specially designed to carry humidified air.
The type of mask the machine has is decided by the doctor. It might only supply air to the nose of may cover the nose and mouth as well. Some CPAP machine masks have inserts that go into the nostrils.
No matter what type of mask comes with the machine, they are all easy to use.
As with any other machine though, a CPAP will need servicing from time to time. Certain components will need replacing as well.
Fortunately, CPAP machine maintenance is part of the prescription and your medical insurance will generally cover the costs.
CPAP machines are prescribed to people who suffer from sleep apnea. However, because sleep apnea causes snoring, they also have value in this area.
The machines are simple to use and your medical insurance will likely cover the maintenance costs.
However, CPAP machines only treat the symptoms of sleep apnea. They do not remedy the condition and they will not make it go away. If you begin CPAP therapy, you will need to continue using the machine for the rest of your life.
If this seems a daunting idea, try not to lose sight of all the benefits a CPAP machine can provide. Apart from allowing you to sleep better and stop snoring, CPAP therapy can help you feel more energetic and alive. It can also prevent sleep apnea from cutting your life short. With so many benefits on the table, sleeping in a mask is a small price to pay.
CPAP Machine FAQ
You can only get a machine if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. Getting a diagnosis will likely require an appointment with a specialist sleep doctor.
Sometimes the evaluation happens at a sleep clinic, but it may also be possible to do it at home. Snoring alone won’t be a good enough reason to undergo CPAP therapy. One of the things the study checks is the amount of oxygen in your blood.
If the study results suggest you have sleep apnea, your doctor may prescribe a CPAP machine. APAP or BiPAP machines are two other possible options.
Depending on the severity of your condition, the doctor may decide to go a simpler route and prescribe a mandibular advancement device instead.
The masks are unlikely to fall off. However, some people remove them during their sleep. This generally happens when they are not getting a sufficient supply of air.
This type of problem can occur if there is a leak in the mask or the hose that supplies it. Leaks reduce air pressure making it harder to breathe.
Leaking can also be a problem if the mask is not the right size for your face. When a mask becomes old and worn it can do a similar thing. As a rule of thumb, you should be replacing your CPAP mask every six to nine months.
It’s also possible the pressure of the machine may need adjusting. If you wake up with your mask off and suspect it’s due to a problem with the machine you should tell your doctor at once.
CPAP therapy is an ongoing process. You need to use the machine every night of your life so if you go on vacation you will need to take it with you. This will necessitate a little extra planning before your trip.
If your intended destination has a different power supply, you will need to be aware of this and take along an adapter. You will need to remove all the water from the humidifier as well.
It’s a good idea to use a tag that identifies your machine as medical equipment. You may also need to take along some spare parts and an additional mask.
If something does go wrong while you are on vacation, you need to be able to rectify the problem.
Finally, it also makes sense to carry a medical card that states you have sleep apnea. If an emergency arises it will help medical personnel discover your condition.