If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, a common yet potentially dangerous sleep disorder, chances are that your doctor may have recommended that you use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
In this blog, the board-certified doctors at eos sleep will explain what a CPAP machine is used for, as well as its benefits and potential drawbacks.
What is a CPAP machine, and what is it used for?
When you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), your airway becomes blocked when you sleep, resulting in repeated pauses in breathing throughout the night. A CPAP machine uses a continuous flow of air to increase the air pressure in your throat to help keep your airway open.
The machine consists of a motor, hose, and mask. The mask may cover your nose and mouth or cover only your nose. Some machines have prongs that fit into your nose instead of utilizing a mask. You may have to try different types to find one that’s the most comfortable for you.
What are the benefits of using a CPAP machine?
CPAP can offer extensive benefits that include the following:
- Immediate positive results – Patients who regularly use CPAP often see an immediate improvement in sleep apnea symptoms. This includes increased alertness during the day, reduced snoring, and an improved quality of sleep.
- Non-invasive treatment – CPAP is non-invasive, so it’s often a preferred first course of treatment.
- Long-term health benefits – If you’re able to use CPAP, you may have a decreased chance of having long-term health problems associated with sleep apnea, including heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
What are some of the drawbacks of using a CPAP machine?
Although a CPAP machine has many benefits, it also has some drawbacks, including the following:
- Problems adjusting to the machine – Some people have difficulty using the machine and find that the airflow and mask make them feel uncomfortable and claustrophobic. However, this can improve over time in some cases.
- Physical issues – Using a CPAP may cause symptoms such as nasal congestion, a dry nose, runny nose, sore throat, and irritation of facial skin.
What can you do if you’re having problems using a CPAP machine?
If you’re having problems using your machine, it’s important that you don’t just give up on it or use it only occasionally. This could have serious effects on your health and well-being.
Talk to your doctor about any difficulties you’re having. He or she may be able to help resolve some of them in the following ways:
- Adjusting your machine – Adjustments can be made in order to make your machine more comfortable and effective. The airflow can be adjusted, and so can the fit of your mask.
- Suggesting medications – Decongestants or corticosteroid nasal sprays can help alleviate nasal congestion or a runny nose. Using a humidifier can also help if your nose is dry.
- Changing the type of machine you use – There are different types of CPAP machines, and you may find one type easier to use than another.
If you snore and have symptoms of sleep apnea including excessive daytime sleepiness, make an appointment today with eos sleep. We can prescribe the use of a CPAP machine if warranted and help you become comfortable with it. Depending on your needs as well as the cause of your sleep apnea, we can also suggest alternatives to CPAP such as oral appliances or minimally invasive surgery.