If you have sleep apnea, you’re not alone. Approximately 30 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. The most common treatment is a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. 

Not only can CPAP machines improve the quality of your sleep, but they can also help reduce the risk of many health issues, including stroke and heart disease. This article will dive into everything we think you need to know about CPAP machines.

How Does a CPAP Machine Work?

A CPAP machine takes in air from the room, filters and pressurizes it, and then sends it through a tube that leads to a mask you wear when sleeping. This continuous airflow keeps your uvula, tongue, and soft palate from blocking your airway, stabilizing your breathing, and allowing you to get a good night’s sleep.

Why Use a CPAP Machine

A CPAP machine is used to treat central and obstructive sleep apnea. In both types of sleep apnea, breathing is interrupted while you sleep. It can happen hundreds of times per night and can lead to a lack of oxygen, putting you at a higher risk of high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and other health issues. A CPAP machine keeps your airways open by continuously delivering filtered, pressurized air through your mouth and nose.

Types of CPAP Machines

CPAP machines are only one type of positive airway press (PAP) device. While CPAP is the most common type, here are some other types of PAP machines:

  • Bi-Level PAP – There are two pressures used in this type of machine, one when you inhale and one when you exhale.
  • Auto CPAP – The pressure of this type of machine automatically regulates to keep your airways open.
  • Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV) – This device is used for people with central sleep apnea and keeps your airway open by delivering a mandatory breath when required.

Types of CPAP Masks

The CPAP mask you use will depend on your type of sleep apnea, your breathing habits, and your comfort. Some of the masks available include:

  • Nasal mask – Only your nose is covered when you use a nasal mask. This mask is recommended for people who frequently move around when they sleep.
  • Nasal pillow mask – Instead of completely covering your nose as the nasal mask does, a nasal pillow mask covers only your nostrils. Some are designed with prongs that fit in your nostrils. Nasal pillow masks allow users to wear their glasses comfortably.
  • Full mask – This mask is triangular and fits over your mouth and your nose. This is the best option if you breathe through your mouth while sleeping. It may also be recommended if you suffer from nasal blockage.

Cleaning Your CPAP Machine

It’s essential to keep your CPAP machine clean, so mold and bacteria don’t form. You should clean your mask, tubing, and water chamber each day. If that’s not possible, you should clean it at least once a week. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on cleaning your machine. Regular cleaning not only prevents mold and bacteria buildup but also helps maintain optimal performance and reduces the likelihood of issues such as whistling noises.

Advantages of Using a CPAP Machine

CPAP machines ensure that your breathing isn’t interrupted by sleep apnea. It can also help eliminate adverse side effects of sleep apnea. Some of the benefits of a CPAP machine include:

  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Lower risk of stroke or heart attack
  • Reduce daytime drowsiness
  • It can also improve sugar control in diabetics

Side Effects of Using a CPAP Machine

In the beginning, people can find them uncomfortable, but getting used to your CPAP machine can take time. Some of the other side effects you may experience include:

  • Insomnia
  • Nasal congestion
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling claustrophobic
  • Nosebleeds
  • Bloating
  • Skin irritation

These side effects should disappear once you get used to your CPAP machine. However, if you continue to feel discomfort, talk to your doctor about other mask or equipment options. 

CPAP Machine Alternatives

While a CPAP machine is the most common treatment for sleep apnea, there are alternatives which include:

  • Oral appliance therapy – A custom oral appliance is created to fit over your teeth. This opens the airways by ensuring proper placement of the jaw. This could be an option for mild or moderate sleep apnea.
  • Positional therapy – If you sleep on your back, you are more likely to experience apneic episodes. In this case, there are devices to encourage sleeping on your side or stomach to reduce the risk for sleep apnea.
  • Controlling your weight – Obesity is a leading cause of sleep apnea. Losing weight can reduce your risk.
  • Surgery – Skeletal abnormalities can cause sleep apnea. If this is the case, surgery may be required to reposition the jaw, remove soft tissue, or implant a nerve stimulator.

DreamZz Sleep Center is Here For All of Your PAP Supply Needs

When sleep apnea is untreated, it can harm your health and quality of life. Sleep apnea symptoms include loud snoring, interrupted sleep, and daytime drowsiness. If you believe you have sleep apnea, contact your doctor. A CPAP machine could be the answer to your sleep problems.

If your doctor recommends a sleep study, or if you already have a sleep apnea diagnosis and need PAP supplies, DreamZz Sleep Center can help. Your care will be in the hands of our knowledgeable, fellowship-trained, Sleep Medicine board-certified physician. And we are your one-stop shop for all PAP accessories.

Contact us today, or order your PAP supplies here.