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CPAP In Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Benefits And Risks Of The CPAP Machine

In his play Macbeth, the celebrated playwright William Shakespeare summarized the importance of sleep as, "Sleep that relieves the weary labourer and heals hurt minds. Sleep, the main course in life's feast, and the most nourishing."

Rightly so, a good night's sleep rejuvenates your body for the day.

Today's world is a breakneck hustle to strike a work-life balance. We have to fit it all in a day's work. In the process, our diet, workouts, and sleep get compromised. Sleep disorders like Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) are very common and often go unnoticed. They are a nuisance and can cause numerous health problems [1][2].

CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, is one gadget to help you sleep better.

What is obstructive sleep apnea? Do you have it?

A breathing disorder that affects sleep. It is caused by a partial or complete blockage of the upper airway tracts, temporarily interrupting breathing during sleep. This results in poor oxygen circulation. So you breathe harder to maintain the oxygen levels, which naturally interrupt sleep.

Signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea are as follows:

1. Broken sleep and jerky arousal from a deep sleep
2. Snoring
3. Cough during sleep
4. Dry mouth
5. Daytime drowsiness
6. Reduced mental alertness
7. Memory impairment
8. Irritability
9. Digestive and cardiovascular disorders follow.

If you relate to any of these, please visit the physician soon.

Causes of obstructive sleep apnea are as follows:

1. Excess weight and obesity
2. Deviated nasal septum
3. Polyps, tumours
4. Chronic congestion of the upper airway tract
5. Allergies
6. Smoking
7. Head and neck deformities
8. Reduced thyroid levels
9. Excess growth hormones
10. Drug abuse.

How can we fix obstructive sleep apnea?

CPAP! This device uses an airflow generator to continuously pump pressurized air into the upper airways to keep them open during breathing [3].

Parts of the CPAP machine:

a. A mask to fit over your nose or face
b. A tube to connect the mask to the motor
c. The CPAP motor blows the air and maintains the pressure.

The types of masks available are:

a. Nasal mask: fits over your nose
b. Nasal pillow mask: it covers only the nostrils
c. Full mask: covers the entire face (best for mouth breathers)

How does a CPAP machine work?

It filters the air in the room.

Pressurizes the air and pushes it into the tube.

The continuous airflow at a constant pressure keeps the tongue, uvula, and soft palate from falling back into the throat.

It stabilizes breathing.

Maintains the sleep

Problems with a CPAP device:

1. Poor acceptance of the device;
2. The feeling of claustrophobia
3. Skin irritation
4. Nasal congestion
5. Mask leaks.

For how long do you have to wear it?

a. Minimum of 4 hours to a maximum of 8 hours of your sleep time [4].
b. The CPAP takes about a couple of weeks to show results.

What is a BiPAP?

A cPAP only provides airflow in one direction. BiPAP is bi-directional because it regulates both inhalation and exhalation pressures. When cPAPs fail, such as in cases of heart failure, BiPAP are advised.

Who do you approach for a quick consultation?

A sleep specialist can prescribe you a cPAP after a detailed sleep analysis.

What are the do's and don't's of using a cPAP?
  1. Clean your cPAP device
  2. Adjust the mask for the best fit
  3. Use saline nasal spray before use; it prevents congestion
  4. Use it regularly to get adjusted.
Read more about: cpap sleep sleep apnea
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