What is a CPAP Machine?
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a medical apparatus that is primarily used for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. It comprises a box-like unit attached via tube to a mask that the patient wears on their mouth and nose. Sleep apnea patients use the device at night to counter the effects of their breathing problems.
How does CPAP work?
The muscles that help to keep our throats open become more relaxed when we sleep. In this relaxed state, the tissues and muscles in the upper airway may collapse resulting in a partially blocked air passage. This causes pauses in breathing known as “apneas”. Obstructive Sleep Apnea refers to the sleep breathing disorder brought about by the complete or partial blockage of the airways. Common OSA symptoms include loud and persistent snoring as well as repeated choking and gasping during sleep.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) uses air pressure to open the throat muscles so that the air passage remains open and allows the patient to breathe normally while asleep. The amount of air pressure required for each patient may be determined by an overnight sleep study, also known as a polysomnogram (PSG). Usually carried out by a sleep physician or technologist, the PSG is a pain-free procedure used to monitor brain wave activity, breathing and snoring patterns – via sensors placed on the chest, head and legs.
The PSG scores will be interpreted and diagnosed by a qualified sleep physician to assess the kind of sleep disorder you may have. If CPAP is determined as a treatment option for you, they would recommend the appropriate air pressure levels based on the sleep study results.
Is CPAP right for me?
The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is usually the first choice prescribed by sleep physicians for sufferers of obstructive sleep apnea.
By keeping your airway open while you sleep, it can correct your snoring and improve your quality of sleep – not to mention giving the people in your household more peaceful nights. It also helps to relieve your sleep apnea symptoms – that often stem from sleep deprivation – including daytime sleepiness, loss of concentration, morning headaches and memory loss.
CPAP also lowers the long-term risks associated with OSA such as heart failure, diabetes, stroke and even death. People who use CPAP report many positive results – even after the first day of using it. While they claim to feel more alert and less tired during the day, their bed partners also report fewer complaints about snoring and sleep disruption.
CPAP is highly successful when used properly and offers many benefits. However, the success or failure of CPAP treatment usually depends on whether you can comply with the treatment protocols and stick to them.
Different types of sleep apnea CPAP masks
There is no right or wrong way to choose a CPAP mask. In fact, a patient can try different types of masks until they find the one that works best for them.
How long do I need to use a CPAP mask?
It is necessary to use a CPAP machine every time you sleep and for the full duration of sleep. Unfortunately there is currently no ‘cure’ for obstructive sleep apnea. Those who use a CPAP machine may see immediate results the day after with their daytime sleepiness levels. However, ceasing use of the machine will mean that apnea episodes will continue to occur again and you will begin to suffer from symptoms you previously had before using it.
Costs of treatment/ Private Insurance
Partial rebates may be claimable depending on the terms of benefits and coverage with your private health insurance provider. Arrange your consultation with one of our sleep technicians to find out how much the oral appliance therapy will cost you.