How Does a CPAP Machine Work?

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man sleeping

You've discovered that you have a condition called sleep apnea. Your doctor has told to sleep with a CPAP. But how does a CPAP machine work? Here's what you need to know before you make the investment.

How Does a CPAP Machine Work?

Sleep apnea affects 29.4 million Americans, which constitutes 12 percent of the U.S. population. It is a serious medical condition alleviated by the introduction of the CPAP machine.

A CPAP machine works in conjunction with a mask worn over the face when you sleep. The device pushes air into your throat to keep your airways open. As a result, the wearer experiences a proper breathing pattern and a better night’s sleep.

However, when you ask how does a CPAP machine work, it is worth understanding a little about sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common problem associated with sleep disorders. During sleep, the breathing stops and starts, and the condition can lead to a variety of health problems.

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What causes sleep apnea

The automatic stopping and starting in breathing results form a blocked airway or a lack of signals from the brain. The most common type of sleep apnea derives from an airway blockage and is called obstructive sleep apnea.

However, sleep apnea caused by the lack of signals from the brain is known as central sleep apnea. Both conditions represent a serious threat to health and well-being.

How to recognize sleep apnea

man snoring

gif by giphy

When you consider how does a CPAP machine work, it is helpful to recognize the symptoms of the condition.

The sufferer will stop breathing in their sleep. This is an involuntary symptom that can repeat throughout the night.

When the airway re-opens, or the brain successfully sends the signal to breathe, the sleeper will snort, take a deep breath, or suddenly awaken. This is accompanied by a sensation of gasping, smothering, and choking.

The effects of sleep apnea

The condition represents a serious threat to health and leads to a variety of worrying conditions, including heart disease and depression. Also, the sufferer will always feel drowsy and tired, which poses a threat to every-day activities such as driving and work.

We Ask How Does a CPAP Machine Work?

The CPAP machine represents a fantastic advancement in the treatment of sleep apnea. My father suffers from the condition and uses a sleep apnea machine every night, and it has made a significant difference in his health and quality of life.

Normalized breathing patterns

Because the CPAP machine helps to normalize breathing and sleeping patterns, it significantly reduces fatigue. Furthermore, because the patient feels rested, it removes the mental health changes associated with sleep apnea.

Additionally, using a CPAP machine prevents cardiovascular changes caused by the strain of improper breathing.

What Does CPAP Stand for?

man sleeping

image by pixabay

CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. The device keeps the airways open by gently pushing a constant stream of positive air pressure through the mask into your airways. Because the air remains under continuous pressure, it prevents the airways from collapsing.

As a consequence of better airflow, the CPAP reduces the vibration in the throat that causes snoring. Additionally, airways will feel clear as the improved breathing reduces swelling within the nose to reduce mucus.

Because the airway is supported during sleep, breathing normalizes, and oxygen levels within the body and the brain maintain acceptable levels.

The auto CPAP

An Auto-CPAP machine has the advantage in that it can detect the collapse of an airway and compensate. It measures the resistance of airflow and reacts by increasing the pressure of the airflow. The device continually monitors the sleeper throughout the night and makes appropriate adjustments.

Another smart feature of the Auto-CPAP is that it will also test lower pressures and adjust downward if necessary.

A Few Important Points

For the CPAP to remain effective, the seal over the airway should remain tight enough to allow for continuous air pressure from the machine. Several types of CPAP masks exist, so you must try out a few to ensure the right fit for you.

It is worth looking for a CPAP machine with a humidifier chamber to allow for moist airflow. Otherwise, you can find your nose and mouth drying out.

Finally, you must clean your CPAP machine regularly, including any water tanks, the masks, and the tubes. You should wash the mask daily and the headgear bi-weekly. To prevent bacterial growth, clean the humidifier chamber every day.

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How Does a CPAP Machine Work, Answered

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A CPAP machine works by pushing pressurized air into the airways. By keeping your airways inflated, the CPAP machine helps to overcome the effects of sleep apnea to produce a normalized sleep pattern.

Do you use a CPAP machine? Why not tell us about your experiences below as we would love to hear from you.

Featured image by: Unsplash

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