Having a consistent tiredness that just won’t go away no matter how much rest you get in the night? Then you might be suffering from a sleep condition called sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder where an individual breathing is disrupted in the night while sleeping. As a result of this, there is an interruption in the flow of oxygen circulating in the body and as such the affected individual wakes up feeling tired rather than refreshed. Other resulting effects are: moodiness, depression, headaches, lack of concentration, inactivity, etc.
Sleep apnea have two major forms; they are Obstructive Sleep Apnea which is a situation where the soft tissue around the throat collapses, blocking the free flow of oxygen into the body and carbon dioxide from being exhaled. It is the commonest form of the condition and a major cause of snoring. Sufferers of OSA experience stops in their breathing. The obstruction in the airway causes them to stop breathing for a few seconds at a time throughout the night. Depending on the seriousness of a person’s sleep apnea, sufferers may experience anywhere from 5 to 100 pauses per hour in their breathing! These pauses can lead to a variety of health issues ranging from chronic daytime drowsiness, restless sleep to heart disease and stroke. The other type is the Central Sleep Apnea, it is a less common type of sleep apnea, it involves the central nervous system and occurs when the brain fails to send signal to the muscles controlling breathing. This leads to a halt in the normal breathing process.
An unfortunate thing about this condition is the fact that it can go on for long without detection. There isn’t a laboratory or blood test that can help a doctor detect if a patient is suffering from the condition. A general knowledge of its symptoms and a very observant sleep partner might be what it takes to detect such and report same to the doctor.
But this is where the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) comes in it is the most commonly used treatment options for people experiencing breathing problems.
What does the CPAP machine do?
What continuous positive airway pressure machines do is to gently blow forced air through your airway at a constant pressure that keeps the throat from collapsing. The CPAP machines are very basic and easy to use and are composed of three major parts:
The CPAP motor– it is basically a small compressor. It draws in room temperature air and gently forces it to convey the perfect amount of air pressure that you need to clear your obstruction. The air intake portion of the machine has a replaceable filter that makes it hard for particulates and impurities to enter. Recently developed CPAP machines also have a small water tank that, when heats up the water, when turned on, to provide moisture to the air the patient breaths in. These built-in humidifiers are put there to help people living in dry climates and also those that frequently wake with dry mouth, throat, or nasal cavities. CPAP motors are extremely quiet and hardly seem to be noticed.
The CPAP Hose– The hose is simply the delivery device that transports the pressurized air from the motor to the patient’s mask. While most of the hoses are 6 feet in length, the diameter can be different depending on the machine that one uses. Recently with the improvement in technology, most hoses are now heated to reduce condensed water accumulation caused by the humidifiers.
The CPAP Mask– CPAP masks come in all shapes and sizes because individual’s comfort varies from the others. Also the sizes and shapes vary to fit different shaped faces. There are typically three mask types to choose from: we have the nasal pillows, nasal masks, and full face masks. Finding the right mask for a personal level of comfort is the most important part of CPAP compliance so that it can be used in the long run as opposed to discontinuation caused by its discomfort.
So what are the benefits of CPAP machine?
Health Risk Prevention: CPAP can prevent or reverse serious consequences of obstructive sleep apnea. The treatment can help protect you from some serious health risks which include: Heart disease; the breathing pauses caused by sleep apnea changes in your blood pressure and can reduce your blood oxygen levels. This puts an enormous strain on your heart. Statistic shows that people with untreated sleep apnea have a higher rate of death from heart disease than those without sleep apnea or with treated sleep apnea. Therefore the use of CPAP therapy over a lengthy period of time can protect such individual from heart problems and reduce their chances of dying from them. These heart problems include: Congestive heart failure, Coronary artery disease and Irregular heartbeat Stroke: consistent CPAP therapy can help reduce this risk of, a major cause of death and long-term disability. People with untreated sleep apnea are more prone to have a stroke.
Motor Vehicle Accidents CPAP therapy can help an individual become a safer driver by reducing their daytime sleepiness. The reason is that the disruption in healthy rest makes an individual have a hard time staying awake and concentrating while driving.
Daytime Alertness: Sleepiness and daytime exhaustion are common symptoms of the sleep disorder. But CPAP can restore your normal sleep pattern and increase your total sleep time by removing breathing pauses while you sleep. This will help you wake up feeling refreshed and have a burst of energy throughout the day.
Concentration: Untreated sleep apnea can damage your brain tissue. As a result you might be trouble concentrating on any given task. Such individual might even suffer from memory loss. A CPAP therapy helps improve an individual’s ability to think, concentrate and make decisions. This invariably improves productivity and decreases the chances of making mistakes at work.
Emotional Stability: Sleep apnea can also increase the risk of depression. A CPAP therapy allows a healthy rest and this can help improve your mood as well as reduce the risk of depression.
Snoring: Snoring in Obstructive Sleep Apnea is caused when the air tries to force its way from a collapsed throat muscle, what a CPAP does is to keep your airway open as you sleep, this invariably reduces or even eliminates the sound of your snoring.
And in the overall sense, a CPAP therapy helps to reduce medical expenses Sleep apnea can lead to more health problems and more visits to the doctor. Treatments for serious health risks linked to sleep apnea such as heart disease and stroke can be costly. But medical expenses will decrease when you use CPAP machine to treat your sleep apnea.