What is a Sleep Apnea Machine?

Sleep Apnea and CPAP are common terms that you’ve probably heard from either a friend or a family member. The CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is currently the leading therapy used in treating the Obstructive sleep Apnoea condition.

Man With CPAP Mask
Man With CPAP Mask Fitted Before A Nightly Sleep. Styles and Types Will Vary in Fitment.

The CPAP has been in the market for over 30 years now. It has helped more patients with sleep apnoea than you can imagine to breathe well during the night and get a better night’s sleep as a result. This is because the machine is designed in such a way as to boost the pressure in your throat therefore your airways do not fall back when you breathe in while you are sleeping.

In this article, the main aim will be to discuss what the CPAP machine is, how it works, its advantages as well as some things that patients take on board to help them adapt when using using a CPAP Machine for the first time.

What is the CPAP Machine?

The CPAP is a machine that comes in a small compact box that has a motorized fan inside it. The fan draws the air from its surroundings, compresses it and then delivers it to the patients in a regulated manner through a mask positioned over the mouth and nose. The mask section of these Sleep Apnea Machines have a filter which keeps dirt and smoke from entering the respiratory system as well as eliminating other possible impurities from the environment. This filter can always be replaced when needed and gives the user peace of mind that the air is purified and free from allergens that can cause inflammation like pet hair and dust.

Most modern CPAP devices come with a built in humidification chamber where water is warmed in order to humidify the air before it is released to the patient through the mouthpiece. This warm humid air in turn helps the patient breathe with so much ease. This warmed air helps by soothing the nasal passages, and easing the possibility of any swelling and discomfort that can be caused by continuous use of these types of machine. The humidification feature, is optional in many cases but it has proved to be quite helpful especially to the patients who live in arid areas where moisture content in the air is low. Some of these people can in many instances wake up with dry throats, mouths or nasal passages due to breathing in a lot of dry air lacking the adequate moisture to replenish the skin and tissue.

How Does the CPAP Machine Work?

The CPAP Machine is quite straightforward and essentially it comprises of a few basic components. There is a flexible, lightweight hose tube which connects the mask and the CPAP machine that contains the air circulation system. This tubing is also warmed to prevent any condensation of air that may occur in the tubing through repeated use.

When purchasing a CPAP Machine it is worth taking the time to ensure the tubing supplied with the machine is long enough to ensure that you are flexible during sleep. The tubing should always be replaced as soon as there is any signs of excess wear, cracks kinks or breaks this will prevent cases of any air leakages and ensure the device is operating as it should and supplying purified clean air in consistent amounts.

The Mask itself is a crucial determiner of how effective this therapy will be for you. The mask should be comfortable and well-fitted on your face. These masks come in different sizes and shapes so it is important to choose one that will work perfectly for you and fit you in a snug and secure way. Generally, the whole set up of the CPAP machine is easy to handle, compact and comfortable for every night’s use and can be operated with the touch of a button. With good maintenance and cleaning schedules, this type of machine could actually serve you longer than you would expect.

Many people who have sleep Apnoea experience a difficulty in breathing when they are asleep. This is because they are unable to keep their airways open as they are lying down in a position of sleep. The soft tissues in their throat tend to fall back hence narrowing the space needed to allow passage of air from the nose to the lungs effectively. At times, this blockage or obstruction will cause pauses in breathing if only for a very short time, consequently leading to inadequate supply of blood flow in the body.

With these pauses, the brain senses the drop in oxygen levels in the blood and hence the person will suffer from constant awakenings throughout the night. If untreated this condition could cause related health problems in the long term.

The CPAP machine is designed to manage the breathing system of a person and hence lessen the risk of the body not receiving oxygen during the nightly sleep. The machine, through the flexible tubing, delivers pressurized air to the patient in a kind of Pneumatic splint. This ensures that the throat does not fall back hence the airstream is kept open. This helps the user to breathe effectively without unnecessary obstructions.

Many people realise even after one use of a CPAP therapy machine the relief they get from sleeping all night long quite comfortably without the constant interruptions which blighted their past sleep experiences.

That being said, some people may take some time before they adjust to this type of machine, however for many people the benefits of using a CPAP Machine far outweigh the initial adjustment time needed. With the use of CPAP Machines you can easily restore those good sleep times that you have missed out on for years and discover how it feels to have a better night sleep without waking up multiple times.

It may take some time to get used to the CPAP for you and below we have outlined the main issues most people experience when using a machine of this type to control and manage their sleep apnoea condition. The top five are listed below;

Using a CPAP Machine for the First Time

1.The Masks and straps may be cumbersome at first and it may take some time to adapt especially if you have never slept with something covering your face before. The CPAP mask comes in three different categories namely;

  • Over the nose nasal masks
  • Under the nose nasal pillow masks
  • Mouth and nose full masks

Just like wearing new shoes, they may be uncomfortable at first but with time you can wear them all day without ever thinking about it again. The same case applies to the CPAP mask and straps. As long as the mask is well sealed, the pressure of the air from the tube remains constant throughout and the system will control the air flow automatically.

2.The Noise. The earlier versions of the CPAP machines were so loud and distracting that one could barely sleep at all during the night which essentially defeated the purpose entirely. Some of these types of machines would produce a metallic clicking sound that proved most irritating. Nowadays however with the latest modern technological advancements, the CPAP machines are infinitely quieter, smaller and less noticeable. This not only reduces the interruptions of the user’s sleep but also that of their bed partners.

3.The Pressure. These type of modern machines also have adjustable settings which control the air pressure automatically. The air pressure can vary significantly depending on whether you are inhaling or exhaling at a particular moment in time. You should seek medical attention from your doctor to adjust the initial pressure to the level that will be both comfortable and effective for you.

4.Breathing through the nose. People who have sinuses and allergies among other nasal tract problems always have difficulty using the CPAP machine. This is however a manageable problem that goes away as soon as you take care of the reason for the underlying congestion with the required treatments. We recommend trying the Airsnore Natural Therapy Drops which may help in this instance.

5.Dryness.Some of the people who use CPAP to treat their sleep apnoea tend to complain or point out how the forced air dries up upon reaching their noses and mouth causing resulting irritation. However, this condition has been addressed by most modern CPAP Machines which come with humidifiers to moisten the inward airflow.

Conclusion

The above description is aimed at helping you have a better understanding of what CPAP Machines are and how they might be a viable option for someone who has the condition of sleep apnoea. Hopefully this will be of some help and benefit when you are considering buying a CPAP Machine to treat Sleep Apnoea, or indeed it may give you a solution to nasal congestion problems if you have sinuses, suffer from congestion or allergies while using a CPAP Machine or even without using a cpap device.