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Getting A Good Night Of Sleep with CPAP Machines

Aug 23, 2008
Sleep apnea is characterized as a sleeping disorder in which a person ceases to breath at various intervals during the sleep. This dangerous sleeping disorder can remain undetected for quite some time. Usually, sleep apnea is recognized by others who witness the sleeping episodes. Fortunately for those with this problem, there are some solutions. A continuous positive airway pressure machine has been developed that presses air through the throat of the sleeping person. This machine has been found to be very effective and can help alleviate some of the adverse daytime side effects of sleep apnea.

Basically, a sleep apnea machine opens the sleeper's airway with pressurized air through the throat. These masks and machines are not like ventilators. The machines are used only to aid sleepers and give slight pressure when the sleeper ceases to breathe. Unlike a ventilator, CPAP machines create positive pressure while opening the airways. The machine will push the air into the lungs during obstruction to prevent sleep apnea. The apparatus is mainly used at home, and is recommended every night.

As the muscles relax during sleep, the throat of a person with sleep apnea will narrow. When this happen, oxygen in the blood is significantly reduced causing the person to wake. This piece of equipment keeps this from happening by sending a pressurized stream of compressed air through the nose. This keeps the airway unobstructed and allows easier breathing. The machines have been amazingly successful in reducing or preventing sleep apnea, as well as the loud snoring that usually accompanies the sleep disorder.

Some sleep apnea sufferers will begin seeing immediate results after the first night's use. However, it is not uncommon for users to take time to adjust to the new machine. The contraption looks uncomfortable and breathing on the machine can be difficult for some people. Different candidates differ on their difficulty adjusting to the machine; while some discontinue treatment entirely. There have been some studies that show that cognitive behavioral therapy can help with the adjustment period and keep sleepers at ease with the new equipment.

The custom masks are fitted to each individual face. Finding the correct size is imperative for the machine to fully function. It must create a tight seal around the nose and mouth, or the machine will not have the full effect. CPAP masks are available in many different shapes and comfort levels. They can be made with gel cushions, air cushions, and other comfortable yet fitting materials. They can also come in a smaller nasal mask form that just fits the nose.

There are three main components to CPAP machines: the flow generator, the hose, and the interface. The flow generator is the part of the machine that supplies the compressed air. The compressed air travels through the hose to the interface. The hose is sometimes rigged with a humidifier to help reduce some of the adverse effects of dry compressed air. The interface is the nasal or full face mask. This provides the connection to the sleeper's airway. Some interfaces even include a lip-seal mouthpiece to prevent the sleeper from breathing through their mouth.

Sleep apnea machines also offer several optional pieces that can help make the process more comfortable for users. A humidifier moistens the air and can help alleviate the discomfort of dry compressed air. A ramp is another optional feature that temporarily lowers air pressure to help the sleeper fall asleep. Another option is the exhalation pressure relief, which adjusts the pressure during exhalation. Finally, flexible chin straps can be added to help keep the candidate from breathing through the mouth.

As with any medical equipment, proper maintenance is essential for proper functioning. Keeping the appliance clean and free from debris is also imperative for full utility. In most cases, this instrument is only available by prescription, and candidates will need to undergo a sleep lab before treatment can start. Nonetheless, the use of CPAP machines can significantly reduce or eliminate sleep apnea.
About the Author
Andy West is a writer for CPAP Supply. Visit http://www.CPAP-supply.com for information on CPAP machines and other CPAP equipment.
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