What is a CPAP Machine, Exactly? - Karen Salmansohn

What is a CPAP Machine, Exactly?

CPAP machine breathe
You might have heard of a CPAP machine or know that some people wear a mask at night to help with specific sleep issues. Below is a great beginner’s guide to the machine. The information could help someone you know to sleep better soon.

CPAP is an Acronym

The initials CPAP stand for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. The machine is designed for sufferers of sleep apnea, which is a sleep disorder that involves blockage of the upper airway.

While sleeping, if the airway is repeatedly obstructed, either reducing or blocking airflow entirely, it is obstructive sleep apnea. If the brain doesn’t send signals to the muscles to keep breathing, the doctor might say it is central sleep apnea.

When Might a Doctor Suggest a CPAP Machine?

A common way to treat sleep apnea is with a CPAP machine, which must be maintained to work at its best. Read up on how to clean a cpap machine for more details.

Doctors can suggest the specialty machine after determining that symptoms are because of sleep apnea. Common symptoms include frequent daytime fatigue, dry mouth when waking up, and waking up frequently during the night. Signs can include loud snoring and reduced breathing or lack of breaking at all for periods.

As for the causes, they can vary widely from sleeping position (specifically sleeping on your back) to smoking and being obese. Sleep apnea also seems to increase with age, although it may decline in seniors.

How can a CPAP Machine Help?

The CPAP machine can be a part of a treatment plan in conjunction with lifestyle modifications. It is a non-surgical option, which is great for anyone who wants to avoid going under the knife to improve their sleep quality and, in turn, their overall health.

The equipment is designed to increase the air pressure within the throat to stop the airway from collapsing upon taking in a breath. Another positive effect is that it can lessen snoring.

What is the Experience Like?

The specialty breathing device typically involves the passing of air from a heated humidifier through tubing to the mask that the individual wears upon going to bed for the night. The pressurized air flows continuously to provide a cushion of air across the upper airway.

The intention here is to prevent the throat from collapsing. The intention is to support the airway while creating a normal breathing experience for the person using the CPAP machine. Over time sleep quality can improve as the episodes of waking up throughout the night become less than before.

Getting Help for a Good Night’s Rest

If a doctor recommends a CPAP machine for you, the next step is typically to see a sleep specialist as part of a strategy to get more z’s. This individual can assess whether the equipment is right for you, depending on your health and sleep study results.

If they encourage the use of continuous positive airway pressure, they will explain how to use the device properly. Notify them right away if you feel discomfort or any other issues.

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