The first time I saw a sleep apnea machine, otherwise known as a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine I thought it was a machine to help prevent my grandfather from snoring. It took a few years, and experience working in a nursing home to learn differently.
Sleep apnea is a medical condition where the person who has it repeatedly suffers from having their breathing stopped during the night. It means they wake up often, and rarely get a good night’s sleep.
There are several types of apnea; obstructive when the apnea is caused by blockage of the airway, while central apnea is caused by the brain not telling the body to breathe, and the third is mixed which is a caused by a combination of both central and obstructive. The condition is not limited to the elderly or obese, anyone including children can suffer from it.
Untreated it can lead to high blood pressure, headaches, and memory problems. When someone may have apnea usually a sleep study is done, where their sleep is monitored in a lab setting to see if they have any episodes during the night. Once apnea has been diagnosed treatment can be determined.
Most people choose to use CPAP or sleep apnea machines, as they are effective in treating obstructive and central apnea. CPAP machines require a physician’s prescription, and they must be properly calibrated to provide the right amount of positive air pressure to prevent apnea. sleep apnea
Different people need their sleep apnea machines set to different rates based on their apnea. CPAP machines have been found in research and lab settings to be effective in preventing apnea and allowing someone with sleep apnea to get a good night’s sleep. Many insurance companies offer coverage for sleep apnea machines, although before choosing a machine it is good to find out what machines are covered by your insurance.
Another important consideration in choosing the right machine is choosing the right mask. CPAP machines are attached to a flexible tube that carries air from the machine to your face through a mask. Having a mask that fits properly and comfortably is important, if the mask is uncomfortable you may find excuses to avoid using it.
Masks are sold with CPAP machines as well as individually, you can choose a mask by one company and a machine by another and they will work together. You wear the mask at night while you sleep, so again; comfort is important. My grandfather put off using his for years because he felt the mask was too big and uncomfortable. A new mask made a world of difference.
There are other treatments available for sleep apnea, but none have proven themselves as effective in prevention and treatment as the CPAP. Surgeries can widen airways and remove blockages, but surgeries cannot make the brain signal for breathing to occur. Mixed apnea and central apnea are not effectively treated by anything other than CPAP today. Using a sleep apnea machine is a non-invasive way to rest easily for those who have regular nightly struggles to enjoy a good night’s sleep.