CPAP System or Machine
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP machines are typically used in the treatment of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a chronic condition in which the patient stops breathing several times during the night for at least ten seconds. The most common type, obstructive sleep apnea, is caused by the relaxing of the muscles of the throat, which allows tissue to fall back and temporarily block the trachea. When this happens, breathing is interrupted. The patient might jerk in his sleep or snore when this occurs. While snoring is not always a symptom of sleep apnea, it, too, can be treated with a CPAP system.
Several treatment options exist for obstructive sleep apnea. The goal is to ensure that oxygen is constantly delivered to the lungs. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to daytime sleepiness, an increase in accidents, as well as a higher risk for heart disease and high blood pressure. Opening the airway to get oxygen into the lungs will prevent the effects of sleep apnea. CPAP systems can be effective in opening the airways to prevent the patient from a cessation of breathing during the night. It is one of the primary treatment methods attempted before the discussion of surgical options. Studies over the years have found it to be one of the most effective forms of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, and it is often well tolerated by patients who might otherwise be opposed to the implantation of an oral device or surgery.
As with any breathing treatment, the best means to ensure effectiveness of the CPAP machine is to have a masks which fits snuggly over the nose and mouth. This makes certain that air is forced into the lungs and not just to the sides of the patient's face, where it will offer no benefits. The mask must also be washed and air dried after use and disinfected two to three times a week. This will prevent mold and bacterial growth on the inside of the mask between uses.
It is important for the patient to use the CPAP machine nightly. One missed treatment could bring a return of daytime drowsiness the next day, and thus a higher risk for accidents. Some patients experience discomfort from their CPAP system. Typically, these sided effects are mild. The can include dry nose and throat, nosebleeds, or nasal discharge or congestion. Relief of dryness in the nose and throat can be had through the use of nasal sprays or a humidifier in the room. Treating congestion with oral decongestant medications should be discussed with the physician since these can interfere with sleep patterns. If the side effects are mild, they should be discussed with the physician, but the patient should not cease treatment unless ordered to do so by his doctor.
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