While there are many sleep apnea supplies on the market, not all sleep apnea supplies are created equal. Today, most medical experts agree that Continuous Positive Airway Pressure-or CPAP-is the most effective form of respiratory therapy for patients who suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea affects tens of millions of people globally. If left untreated, it can affect a person's quality of sleep, life, and even lead to death if breathing is obstructed fatally.
A CPAP mask works by providing positive air-flow into the nasal cavities of the patient via a pump that helps ensure that their airway is kept open. Here, we will discuss how a CPAP mask can help patients who suffer from sleep apnea obtain relief.
How Does CPAP Work?
Today’s CPAP machines are much quieter than their antiquated predecessors, thanks in part to smaller and quieter motors. However, they still operate using many of the same principals of their progenitors. They absorb the air in the room (note: not oxygen) via a state of the air filter. The air is then pressurized according to specific settings that have been prescribed by a designated sleep specialist, such as a sleep apnea specialist.
Most CPAP machines will have a centimeter of water pressure (CWP) range of four to twenty-five. Your sleep specialist will help you find the quintessential water pressure configuration for your unique needs. Many of today’s CPAP machines will pass the pressurized air through a heated humidifier system, which will transfer the air via tubing to the CPAP mask’s interface.
It should also be noted that pressurized airflow is kept at a constant rate, which allows for a cushion to be formed along the upper airway of the patient. A pneumatic splint is formulated to prevent your throat from collapsing as you sleep. Otherwise, your tongue, uvula, and soft palate would shift back and forth into the airway.
The vibrations that would have resulted from shifting are stopped, or at the very least are reduced, which will subsequently reduce or eliminate the sounds that are made from snoring.
As an added benefit, a CPAP machine can also relieve any swelling issues that you have in your nasal passageway. It can also help get rid of any accumulated mucus and other such particulates that may have become stuck along the airway.
What's more, over time, thanks to the newfound airway support that the CPAP machine facilitates, your breathing will normalize, which will help remedy fragmented sleep. The result is your sleep quality will improve drastically, as your oxygen levels will be maintained. The CPAP machine eliminates the most severe side effects or repercussions associated with sleep apnea.
In addition, you can also purchase an AutoCPAP machine if you would prefer, which has a few slight variations from conventional CPAP machines. An auto CPAP machine can automatically detect airway collapse issues by measuring resistance. It then subsequently increase the air pressure to the required level to help improve your sleep apnea symptoms as you sleep through the night. AutoCPAP machines are so advanced that they can even test lower pressures and react by automatically adjusting the pressure down if required.
About the Masks
While today’s CPAP masks are lighter, more compact, and easier to adjust than their archaic counterparts, you may need an adjustment period as you get used to having a mask on your face as you sleep. There are different types of CPAP masks and configurations available so that you can find the perfect mask for your unique facial contours as well as your comfort needs.
For instance, you can opt for a full CPAP mask, which will engulf your nose and your mouth as you sleep. Another option is to select a nasal pillow mask, which will fit snugly under the nose. A nasal mask can also be chosen; designed to go over the nose instead of under it.
How to Stop Your CPAP Mask From Leaking
Seal leaks are caused by the accumulation of facial moisture, which will cause the mask to slip over time. You can help prevent seal leaks by trying on the mask before you make the purchase. By doing so, you will find the ideal size for you, and also get its straps adjusted to the right level.
Mouth leaks are usually caused when air leaks through the throat and leaves the mouth. If you find yourself waking up in the morning with either a dry tongue or mouth, then the culprit may be pressurized air that has found its way out of your mouth. Fortunately, you can prevent mouth leaks by opting for a full CPAP mask, which will simultaneously cover your nose and your mouth. You can have the pressure settings on your CPAP machine adjusted by your physician or sleep therapist if you are having mouth leak problems.
As for broken CPAP masks, the mask’s tubing may form several cracks over time, which may cause the pressurized air that is found within to leak outward. As such, if you have noticed several cracks on your mask’s tubing, then you will need to have it fixed. Any broken or defective CPAP accessories or devices must be repaired or replaced as soon as possible to help prevent your sleep apnea symptoms from returning.
Monica Benoit is a blogger in Toronto. She is currently working as a community manager for CPAP Outlet. She graduated with honors from the University of British Columbia with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.
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