What is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure?

A person with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) experiences fitful sleep as the airway becomes obstructed when the back of the tongue relaxes or muscles in the upper airway collapse during sleep. One way to keep the airway open is by use of continuous positive airway pressure therapy also known as CPAP. This is the most common method of treating OSA in adults. With this type of therapy a CPAP machine is used. It constantly blows a stream of air into the throat. When you breathe in, the pressure from the airstream keeps the muscles in the upper air way from collapsing while you are sleeping

What does a CPAP Machine do?

Similar to a tiny air compressor, the CPAP machine pressurizes the air it draws in and delivers it out through a hose. The hose is attached to a mask that is worn during sleep. The air pressure is adjusted so that it is just enough to keep the airway open when you are relaxed. Years ago CPAP machines were large and loud. Technological advancements and designs have made them considerably smaller and barely noticeable where noise is concerned.

The air used by the CPAP machine is cleared on intake by a small disposable air filter. Small impurities and particles are trapped by the filter so they do not get in your airway. Newer model machines also have a water compartment which humidifies the airstream preventing your nasal passages and throat from drying out.

Masks come in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate users. This is not a case of one size fits all. Some people can use just a nose mask while others feel more comfortable with an entire face mask. Nose masks also come in a selection of styles. You will have the opportunity to find out which style of mask is most effective for you. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

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