Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machine: How it Works
POSTED 31 Jul 2015

Obstructive sleep apnoea or OSA is one of the most disruptive reasons why a person experiences interrupted sleep. A person with undiagnosed OSA wakes up several times per hour during sleep as he stops breathing. These episodes of interruption deprive him (and his bed partner) of a good night’s sleep. However, cause for worry is unnecessary because OSA is very manageable through CPAP therapy.

CPAP Machine

A CPAP machine will keep a person’s upper airway open as he sleeps, eliminating episodes of breathing cessation thus allowing the patient and bed partner to enjoy a restful night’s sleep. A CPAP machine also effectively reduces snoring.

The three basic components of a CPAP machine are the air pump, a mask that covers the face or nose or both, and a flexible tube that links the mask to the machine. Included in a standard CPAP machine is a small water tank with filter to purify and humidify air.

There are CPAP machines that employ prongs to the nose instead of a mask. Some models have chinstraps to ensure that the mouth of the user stays closed while undergoing therapy as breathing must be through the nose and not the mouth.

A qualified doctor recommends the air pressure produced by the CPAP machine to ensure that the patient’s upper airway is prevented from collapsing for uninterrupted breathing while he sleeps. Getting used to the pressurized air takes time; but if it’s too strong, the patient can ask his doctor to adjust the air pressure.

Possible CPAP Usage Problems 

Surveys indicate that majority of CPAP users do not encounter problems when using the device. However, there are some who do run into some difficulty when using the machine.

The number one concern when using a CPAP is the mask as it prevents the user from easily falling asleep. There are some users who feel claustrophobic when wearing a CPAP mask. Such user should wear the mask only for short periods while he is awake. With constant usage, he will eventually get used to wearing the mask. At this stage, attaching the hose and flipping the CPAP machine on is the next stage. The patient will get eventually get used to the machine.

If a patient finds it uncomfortable to take in the pressurized air, he should start with a lower air pressure then gradually increase the pressure until in level with the recommended air pressure.

Some patients develop stuffy or dry nose due to usage of CPAP machine. The condition is easily remedied by adjusting the humidity level of the device. There are those who use nasal saline spray instead. Before using the machine, one should check for correct fit of the mask to ensure that there is no leak.

Minor irritants such as facial skin irritations due to the mask, dry mouth, and unintentional mask removal when one is asleep are common. Cause for alarm is unnecessary as all of these can be easily resolved.

Initial use of a CPAP machine could be quite trying until one gets used to it. The important thing is to stick to the therapy for the efficient management of OSA.

Do you have OSA? Perth CPAP can help you. We have the experience qualification and expertise to diagnose and afford treatment options for your sleeping disorder.

Give us a call NOW at 1300 744 441.

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