Understanding the CPAP

Obstructive sleep apnea, a common disorder that involves frequently interrupted or shallow breathing during rest, can severely impact quality of life. Many patients experience relief through treatment with a prescribed continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Learn more about CPAPs, including what they are, how they work, and when they may be recommended.

What Is a CPAP Machine?

The CPAP machine is an electronic medical device that includes a humidifier, a hose or tubing, and a face or nasal mask to which the hose attaches. It’s used to help prevent airway blockage due to relaxation of the throat muscle during sleep.

How Does a CPAP Machine Operate?

As the patient wears the connected mask during sleep, the CPAP machine delivers pressurized air through the tubing, helping keep the breathing airways open.

Do CPAP Machines Really Work?

Yes. Obstructive sleep apnea affects millions of Americans, many of whom have been helped by CPAPs. The devices are a popular and proven home-based, nonsurgical solution for managing sleep apnea and snoring.

Are There Any Side Effects From Using CPAPs?

CPAP machines for sleep apnea require regular use to be most effective. For some, the masks can feel uncomfortable or give a sense of claustrophobia — especially if the mask covers the full face rather than just the nose. Other potential side effects include issues such as infection, dry mouth, nosebleeds, skin irritation, or headaches.

Depending on the potential side effect, there are many possible solutions. Some solutions involve choosing the right mask — nasal or full-face, for example — that matches your needs and ensuring the machine settings are adjusted to the appropriate level of pressure. It’s also important to properly maintain the device with regular cleanings and periodic replacement of the mask and other parts.

If you’re experiencing snoring or sleep apnea, the experts at ENT Physicians and Surgeons can discuss your concerns and conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine whether a CPAP device or other treatment is right for you. Contact ustoday to schedule an appointment.