Do you often wake up in the morning with a massive headache and feel as tired as when you went to sleep? Has your partner ever noticed your loud snoring, gasping and choking at night? You may have obstructive sleep apnea or OSA—and a CPAP machine can help you.
When you have obstructive sleep apnea, the passages of your airway close or are restricted while you’re sleeping. That’s why you wake up frequently at night, choking and gasping for air. One of the most recommended treatment options for OSA is CPAP therapy. With a CPAP machine, you can breathe without obstruction and finally get a safe and good night’s sleep.
What Exactly Is a CPAP Machine?
The CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine has been available for decades to help people with OSA breathe and sleep better. It is a small box that can easily fit on your nightstand. Though compact, it has components that bring huge benefits to your life:
- Motorized fan: The fan draws air from the room quietly, pressurizes it gently and then delivers it to the user at a specific setting. The machine comes with a replaceable filter (filters should be replaced every three months) that will keep any dust or other impurities from infiltrating the fan.
- Humidification chamber: Using water, the chamber humidifies the pressurized air. That way, it’s warm and moist before it’s delivered to the user. Warm, moist air can soothe your nasal and other airway passages and help prevent any discomfort you may have while using the machine. This humidification chamber is optional in most machines. Consider it if you live in dry climates or often wake up with a dry mouth.
- Hose: It’s the component that connects the box to the mask. The hose is lightweight and around six feet—long enough not to restrict your movement as you sleep. It can wear out over time, so make sure to replace it once it shows signs of wear and tear. Many new machines come with the option of heated tubing to better control the humidity of the air delivered.
- Mask device: The mask comes in a selection of shapes and sizes to suit different facial structures. Make sure to select a comfortable and well-fitting mask. That way, you can undergo CPAP therapy comfortably and consistently. CPAP masks can also get damaged out over time, so replace yours as often as necessary. Manufacturers recommend that the mask seal be replaced every six months and the whole mask annually.
How Does a CPAP Machine Exactly Work?
Now you know the components of a CPAP machine, let’s talk about how it works. People with sleep apnea struggle to keep their airways open as they snooze. The soft tissue in their tonsils or tongues relaxes and/or collapses. In turn, the air can no longer move through their noses and into the lungs, leading to unnecessary pauses in breathing. And when these pauses occur repeatedly, the bloodstream is deprived of oxygen that it needs to deliver to all the body organs. The brain then senses this drop in blood oxygen and wakes them up.
Some people with apnea experience these pauses in breathing and sudden awakenings over 100 times a night. If the same thing happens to you, it’s no wonder you feel so tired when you wake up and during the day. That can end if you start undergoing CPAP therapy.
The role of a CPAP machine is to keep those pauses in breathing from happening. By delivering a steady stream of pressurized air into your nose and lungs, the CPAP machine prevents the soft tissue from relaxing or collapsing and keeps the airway open and firm.
Some OSA patients experience immediate relief as soon as they start CPAP therapy. Others, however, may need to take some time to adjust. Nevertheless, one thing remains true for most CPAP machine users: the therapy has improved their quality of sleep—and life.
When Can You Start CPAP Therapy?
Before starting CPAP therapy, you need to be diagnosed with sleep apnea by your family physician or get referred for a Sleep Specialist Consult. If you qualify, you can have the testing done at home or you may have to go to an overnight sleep lab.
At Pacific Sleep Care, we’re here to help you take the first step. Fill out our sleep apnea evaluation form online and/or talk to your family physician. They will initiate a conversation with you about your symptoms and possible diagnostic or therapeutic options.
Once you are diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, we can set you up with the best CPAP machine for your condition. Here are some types of CPAP machines we provide:
- Fixed Pressure CPAP Machines: These machines provide a continuous level of air pressure throughout the night, depending on the settings your doctor prescribed.
- Auto CPAP Machines: When you use an auto CPAP machine, you can count on it to adjust the amount of pressurized air it delivers throughout the night. It can detect changes in your breathing pattern. And it automatically calculates the amount of pressure needed to keep your airways open and minimize any sleep disruptions.
- BiPAP Machines: If your doctor prescribes a BiPAP machine, we have that, too. BiPAP machines feature two pressure settings: one for highly inhaled pressure (IPAP) and another for lowered expiratory pressure (EPAP).
We also provide after-sales support. If your machine is under warranty, we’ll replace it with a new one as long as we have it in stock. We’ll arrange a temporary exchange if it needs servicing. We don’t want you to spend a night without a CPAP machine at your bedside.
Sleep Better with Pacific Sleep Care
Look for the location near you on Vancouver Island. Let us help you restore healthy sleeping patterns and improve your quality of life. If you have more questions about our CPAP machines, supplies and other services, get in touch with us.