CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is a method of applying a positive pressure to the inside of the throat to prevent it from collapsing during sleep. The individual wears a special mask over the nose that is connected to a pump. The pump applies pressure through the mask to keep the throat from collapsing.
CPAP is used in the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). It is the best way of treating patients with severe OSA, and is one of the several options for treating patients with mild to moderate OSA.
CPAP is very beneficial in the majority of people who continue using their machines. The pressure can be adjusted to restore normal breathing during sleep.
However, statistics have shown that 1 in 3 patients stop using their CPAP within the first year. The main reasons that patients give for not using their CPAP are inconvenience and discomfort. Most of these problems are solvable by finding a mask that fits properly.
There are many makes and models of CPAP machines. Features to consider are:
Typical CPAP ventilators from different manufacturers.
The CPAP mask is a critical part of the CPAP treatment. If you cannot get comfortable with the mask or the mask does not fit properly, you will not be able to obtain the full benefits of CPAP.
A Standard CPAP Mask
A Gel-filled CPAP Mask
The "Adam Circuit"
The standard CPAP mask is made of silicone and forms a seal over the nose. Some patients find the newer gel-filled masks more comfortable and obtain a better seal with them. Other patients feel too claustrophobic with their nose covered and prefer the "Adam Circuit" which has 2 silicone fittings that go directly into the nostrils.
The oils in the face will break the silicone down after 6 - 8 months. The masks must then be replaced. The gel-filled masks tend to be more durable. Newer designs may incorporate features that allow you to replace only the worn out parts. This is more environmentally-friendly.
The CPAP masks breaks down after 6 - 8 months of use and must be replaced in order for the treatment to be comfortable and effective. Masks can cost anywhere from $100 to $200 depending on the make and model.
Most of these problems can be overcome with proper fitting of the mask, use of a humidifier, use of nasal sprays, and use of antihistamines.
Smart Questions to Ask About Your CPAP Machine
Nasal valve dilators
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
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