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How Does A Sleep Apnea Machine Work

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Does A Cpap Machine Have Side Effects

How to use your Sleep Apnea Machine (aka CPAP Therapy).

Although this device is often the first solution that doctors suggest for sleep apnea, using a CPAP can have its own side effects. And even though most of them are mild, for many people, it means giving up altogether on their CPAP therapy.

In some cases, however, some side effects can also be serious. For instance, the recent Philips CPAP recall saw the medical device manufacturer taking off thousands of CPAP devices from the market due to serious health concerns.

According to CPAP lawsuits recently filed in the court, the sound abatement foam of the recalled CPAP machines can break down, emitting potentially toxic chemicals which can be ingested or inhaled by its user. When this happens, the toxic particles can cause lung injuries, respiratory problems, and even cancer.

If youre uncomfortable with your CPAP mask, talk to your sleep doctor so they can help you with other options to sleep well.

If you find that a CPAP machine doesnt work for you, they may recommend other airway pressure devices, including an auto CPAP and BiPAP. An auto CPAP is useful for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. It automatically adjusts the pressurized flow of air while you sleep.

On the other hand, a bilevel positive airway pressure or BiPAP machine gives your body more pressure as you inhale and less when you exhale.

How Does The Cpap Mask Work

Those who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, or suspect that they might have the condition, often find themselves wondering about treatment options. One of the most well-known treatments for obstructive sleep apnea sufferers is continuous positive airway pressure, therapy. This therapy option uses a machine and attached mask, which helps people with sleep apnea breathe easier during sleep.

Treatment Of Central Sleep Apnea

It is important to review the special case of a related condition. Central sleep apnea is defined by pauses in breathing that are characterized by a lack of effort to breathe, rather than a collapse of the airway. It most often occurs secondary to stroke, congestive heart failure, or narcotic or opioid medication use.

It can also occur in response to CPAP therapy itself, in a condition called complex sleep apnea. In central sleep apnea, it is sometimes necessary to consider other therapy modalities.

In particular, bilevel therapy is sometimes necessary. Bilevel therapy delivers two pressures, one to breathe in and a lower pressure to breathe out, and can adjust pressure on the fly to compensate for breathing pauses. This timed mode inflates the lungs to ensure a minimum number of breaths occur.

In addition, a more sophisticated level of treatment called adaptive servo-ventilation can be used. This allows control of breath rate, volume, the timing of the delivered airflow, and other variables in those who have more significantly compromised breathing.

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How Does Cpap Work

To understand how a CPAP machine works, you should know how obstructive sleep apnea works.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles and tongue collapse into the airways during sleep, blocking airflow. This airway blockage sends a message to the brain that the body needs to breathe, awakening it from sleep to take a loud, gasping breath.

Individuals with mild obstructive sleep apnea experience 5-15 of these episodes per hour of sleep, while individuals with severe obstructive sleep apnea experience more than 30.

A CPAP machine works by continuously blowing gentle, pressurized air through the airway. The increased air pressure prevents the airway from collapsing when you breathe.

CPAP Machine EffectivenessWhen used as directed, CPAP therapy can immediately improve the quality of life for individuals who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

Youll likely notice less snoring, fewer breathing obstructions and a decrease in daytime sleepinessamong other health benefits. Research has shown that using a CPAP machine can reduce the risk of health problems linked with obstructive sleep apnea, such as high blood pressure, depression and cardiovascular issues.

Difficulties with CPAP

Problems that may occur with CPAP include:

  • Dry nose and sore throat.
  • Nightmares and excessive dreaming during early use.
  • Nasal congestion, runny nose, and sneezing.
  • Irritation of the eyes and the skin on the face.
  • Abdominal bloating.
  • Leaks around the mask because it does not fit properly.

What Is Cpap Therapy

How Do CPAP Machines Work? Should I Get One?

CPAP therapy is the leading treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. CPAP therapy keeps your airway open by gently providing air through a mask you wear while you sleep. This splints the airway open and eliminates the breathing pauses caused by sleep apnea. When you sleep with a CPAP machine, you will no longer snore or make choking noises in your sleep. You will be able to sleep through the night without your body waking up from a lack of oxygen.

When you use CPAP each night, you can prevent or may even reverse serious health problems linked to sleep apnea such as heart disease and stroke. Your memory and mood may also improve. The quality of your sleep will improve, which, for some people, means you will feel more rested and alert during the daytime. Your partner might even sleep better because you will stop snoring.

A CPAP system is a small air compressor with flexible tubing and a mask. Most machines are about the size of a tissue box, lightweight and relatively quiet. You can keep the CPAP machine on your nightstand or at the side of your bed.

The tubing connects the CPAP machine to your mask. The tubing is long enough to allow you to move around or turn over in your bed.

CPAP is a lifestyle change. It works best when used all night, every night. You also should use CPAP when you are napping. Just one night without treatment can have a negative impact on your blood pressure. Your body will feel better the more you use CPAP.

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How Does A Cpap Machine Exactly Work

Now you know the components of a CPAP machine, lets talk about how it works. People with sleep apnea struggle to keep their airways open as they snooze. The soft tissue in their tonsils or tongues relaxes and/or collapses. In turn, the air can no longer move through their noses and into the lungs, leading to unnecessary pauses in breathing. And when these pauses occur repeatedly, the bloodstream is deprived of oxygen that it needs to deliver to all the body organs. The brain then senses this drop in blood oxygen and wakes them up.

Some people with apnea experience these pauses in breathing and sudden awakenings over 100 times a night. If the same thing happens to you, its no wonder you feel so tired when you wake up and during the day. That can end if you start undergoing CPAP therapy.

The role of a CPAP machine is to keep those pauses in breathing from happening. By delivering a steady stream of pressurized air into your nose and lungs, the CPAP machine prevents the soft tissue from relaxing or collapsing and keeps the airway open and firm.

Some OSA patients experience immediate relief as soon as they start CPAP therapy. Others, however, may need to take some time to adjust. Nevertheless, one thing remains true for most CPAP machine users: the therapy has improved their quality of sleepand life.

Questions And Controversy Surrounding The Airing Sleep Apnea Device

Airing is the company behind the first micro-CPAP device. The company reportedly started raising money for funding, yet it hasnt been able to obtain FDA approval.

However, according to Airings website, the company believes the process will be abbreviated because the device doesnt provide a new treatment.

So Airing is exploring a 510 clearance to get the device on the market. This is an FDA option that companies sometimes use during preclearance. Airing would still have to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the micro-CPAP to similar devices in accordance to law.

Perhaps another drawback is the lack of clinical evidence to support micro-CPAP machines for sleep apnea. Until these are clinically tested, its difficult to determine whether a micro-CPAP is just as effective as a traditional CPAP.

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How Do Cpap Machines Change Lives

Getting good quality sleep is essential for your overall well-being. When you sleep, your brain and body are busily recharging themselves by releasing growth factor hormones needed for bone, organ and muscle health. Sleep also helps re-balance metabolism that tends to slow down towards the end of the day.

If you have tried to slog through a work day on little sleep, you know first-hand how lack of sleep detrimentally affects your ability to concentrate, remember and tolerate even the slightest everyday irritations. Moreover, untreated obstructive sleep apnea has been clinically shown to raise your risk of hypertension, obesity, diabetes and numerous other chronic diseases.

People with sleep apnea who begin using a CPAP machine will immediately start enjoying the benefits of a good nights sleep. Reports from CPAP users include the following statements:

  • I feel much more energetic and refreshed in the morning and throughout the day
  • I no longer experience bouts of anxiety and depression due to constant and overwhelming fatigue
  • My blood pressure has fallen and my doctor says I may not need to take hypertension medication anymore
  • I dont crave sugary, salty or high-fat foods during the dayand Ive lost weight!
  • I can think more clearly and quickly
  • My memory is where it should be for my age
  • My relationship with my significantly has greatly improved since I started using a CPAP machine.

Keep Your Sinuses Clear

How is Sleep Apnea treated? | CPAP | Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine | theSITREP

Your sleep apnea machine will include a heated humidifier. You can adjust the humidity level to a setting thats comfortable for you.

If you notice a dry or stuffy nose in the morning, try a saline spray at bedtime. Continued nasal dryness or sinus problems could be a sign that your mask doesnt fit correctly.

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Do You Need A Prescription For A Cpap Machine

This is a common frustration among those who have been newly diagnosed with sleep apnea. Federal and State law requires a doctors prescription to be on file before a CPAP machine can be sold to a customer. This is because a CPAP machine is considered a Class II Medical Device, which is a medical implement that requires a doctors care before and while using.

Examples of Class II Medical Devices are CPAP machines, BiPAP machines, APAP machines, Oxygen Concentrators as well as CPAP masks.

For more information on this topic, please see this resource from the FDA about device classification and regulation.

Are Cpap Machines Covered By Insurance Or Medicare

If youre enrolled in Medicare Part B and youve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, Medicare may pay 80 percent of the cost for your CPAP machine, as long as the doctor who prescribes it is an approved Medicare provider.

Youll have to pay your deductible and 20 percent of the device, whether you are renting or buying it.

If you have a Medicare Part C plan, youll need to check your plans guidelines for purchasing or renting durable medical equipment like CPAP machines.

Without insurance coverage, breathing machines can cost between $500 and $3,000, depending on whether youre purchasing a CPAP, APAP, or BiPAP device.

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Tips For Getting Started With Cpap Therapy

The first step is to get a diagnosis. To confirm you have sleep apnea, youll need to visit your primary care physician or health care provider to receive a referral to a sleep doctor. They will advise you to complete a sleep study , which is conducted either at a sleep clinic or through an at-home sleep study.

The polysomnogram is an overnight test that allows sleep technologists to collect comprehensive data about your sleep, such as your brain activity, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and respiration. If you do have sleep apnea, sleep lab technologists will be able to track how often you stop breathing per hour of sleep.

In a home sleep study, a sleep lab will send you easy-to-use equipment that you can attach to yourself before sleeping at night. It records your pulse and breathing rates. You simply detach it from yourself in the morning and send the equipment back to the lab for analysis. The results of either test are sent to your specialist who will meet with you to determine a course of treatment.

What Is The Most Common Treatment For Sleep Apnea


If an in-home test confirms sleep apnea or an in-lab study determines you have sleep apnea, the most common and effective treatment is a CPAP machine.

CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. CPAP machines are designed to deliver air pressure to the breathing passage and keep it free from obstruction.

Well explore ways to ensure CPAP therapy works for you, and to know what to pay attention to when evaluating your personal experience.

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How Does Cpap Therapy Work

CPAP devices have been used to successfully treat sleep apnea since the 1980s. By providing a constant flow of pressurized air, the machine is designed to support the airway. It prevents the soft tissues along the mouth and throat, as well as uvula and tongue, from blocking regular respiration while sleeping. In addition to better breathing patterns at night, many patients also notice less swelling within the nose and mucus buildup throughout the airway.

How Are Bipap And Apap Machines Different

As part of the advancement in CPAP technology, BiPAP and APAP machines have also been introduced, and are becoming more widely used.

BiPAP, or bi-level positive airflow pressure devices, use two pressure settings. A higher setting is used for when the person inhales, while a lower pressure is used during exhalation. The lower exhalation pressure makes this device easier and more comfortable for some people to use than a standard CPAP device.

BiPAP devices are also used for individuals who have central sleep apnea, rather than the more common obstructive sleep apnea. In central sleep apnea, the brain fails to send the right signals to the muscles that control breathing. This results in a interruption to breathing, as in obstructive sleep apnea. BiPAP devices use a backup respiratory rate setting that keeps air flowing in and out of the lungs, even when these incidents occur.

APAP, or automatic positive airflow pressure devices, automatically adjust air pressure throughout the night by monitoring your breathing patterns. The device is able to anticipate when a sleep apnea episode is about to take place, increasing pressure to prevent such issues.

APAP devices can also adjust air pressure as needed based on whether you took a medication that affects your breathing, or even changes in your sleep position. These continual adjustments allow for effective, yet comfortable distribution of air all night long.

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Health Benefits Of Using A Cpap Machine

In addition to treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea and snoring, CPAP therapy helps treat several other health conditions and issues including:

  • Blood Pressure. Studies show that patients with hypertension experienced a decrease in blood pressure while using a CPAP.
  • Heart Disease. A study found that cardiovascular events decreased in those with coronary artery disease as a result of using a CPAP.
  • Depression. CPAP wearers who use their machine nightly for at least seven hours reported feeling less depressed and more alert during the day.
  • Reducing Stroke Risk: Strokes are also associated with sleep apnea. Meta-analyses reported that more than 50% of those who have had a stroke suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnea.
  • Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome . A form of sleep-disordered breathing, UARS is the stage between mild snoring and full sleep apnea. When your airway reduces in diameter due to loose tissue, this constriction creates resistance. Air still moves into your lungs but not as easily. You may not experience apnea events where you stop breathing, but your sleep breathing will be heavy and labored. As you work harder to breathe, your brain may compensate by waking you up. Left untreated, UARS almost always develops into Obstructive Sleep Apnea . CPAP therapy is not necessarily the first line of treatment for UARS, but as the condition progresses, its often recommended to help keep the airway open.

How Bipap Machines Work

About to spend my first night using a CPAP machine

Some people who suffer from sleep apnea will use a BiPAP machine instead of a CPAP machine. This stands for BiLevel Positive Airway Pressure. A BiPAP machine will have two pressure settings. Some CPAP users will have trouble breathing normally with the machine. The singular air pressure level will make it difficult for patients to exhale.

A BiPAP machine will perform a similar function to CPAP devices. It is also designed to support the airways when the throat muscles do not consistently work. It is similarly meant to help a patient resume breathing if they have stopped .

It has two different levels of air pressure one for inhalation and one for exhalation. The different air pressure helps the patient breathe. There is low air pressure for exhalation.

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What Can I Do If I Believe My Cpap Isnt Working Anymore

If youve been treating your sleep apnea for a while, and have started to experience symptoms such as snoring again, an adjustment to the pressure from your machine may be needed. To make any adjustment, youll need to reach out to your sleep medicine specialist and request a review of your treatment.

Although most modern CPAP machines have a means to record data about the efficacy or effectiveness of your treatment, it requires professional expertise to ensure proper reading of the machine data and adjustment. While not common, you may need another study to re-examine your sleep.

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