If you have sleep apnea, you are not alone. More than 18 million people in the United States have sleep apnea, according to the National Sleep Foundation – a potentially serious sleep disorder in which you stop and start breathing repeatedly as you sleep. Fortunately, a CPAP machine can help you continue breathing regularly as you sleep, so you can awaken feeling refreshed and renewed.
CPAP is an acronym that stands for “continuous positive airway pressure.” A CPAP machine is an important part of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
How CPAP Machines Work
Sleep apnea is a mechanical problem. While you sleep, your tongue slides backwards towards your soft palate, the flexible back part of the roof of your mouth. Your soft palate and your uvula, that fleshy structure dangling at the back of your throat, fall against the back of your throat to close off your airway. When you expand your chest to breathe, no air enters your lungs.
A CPAP machine supplies constant, steady air pressure through a hose and mask or nose piece. This continuous air pressure holds your airway open.
The machine features a pump that controls airflow, a tube that carries the air from the machine to you and a mask that fits over your nose, mouth or both.
Types of CPAP Masks
There are three types of CPAP masks available:
- A nasal mask that covers your nose
- A “nasal pillow mask” that goes under your nose
- A full mask, which fits over your nose and mouth
You can find variations on these masks, such as nose masks featuring prongs that fit into your nose and full-face masks that cover your eyes as well as your nose and mouth. You may have to try a few types before you find a system that is comfortable and effective. Any configuration works, as long as it delivers air at a constant pressure and you find it comfortable enough to wear every night.
It may take you some time to adjust to wearing a CPAP mask, especially if you have never slept with something on your face. The good news is, with some adjustments and time, you will eventually wear a CPAP mask without even thinking about it.
You may worry that your CPAP mask might leak, that you will have trouble falling asleep or that the air will dry out your nose or mouth. Fortunately, if one CPAP device or mask does not work for you, there are many other options. Most CPAP systems are adjustable to make them more comfortable, or you can purchase a different type of mask.
Selecting a CPAP machine can seem overwhelming. However, with the right assistance from an experienced pulmonologist, you can find the most effective – and comfortable – CPAP machine for a good night’s sleep.
Contact Us about CPAP Machines
For more information about obstructive sleep apnea and CPAP machines to treat it, contact O2 Pulmonary & Sleep Group by calling our Plano pulmonary and sleep clinic at 214-919-0757.