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Every Person with Sleep Apnea Should Know This.

CPAP is the most common and most effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or sleep disordered breathing. The continuous flow of air from a CPAP machine keeps your airway from collapsing during sleep and helps maintain stable oxygen levels as you sleep. CPAP’s main target is to help you maintain a steady, healthy level of breathing through the night.

For a lot of people, the positive results of using a CPAP machine are quick and dramatic. The initial night of using CPAP may feel like the first good night of sleep they have had in years. Some people with mild to moderate sleep apnea may not notice improvements right away as it may take time to adjust to this new way of sleeping.

By working to stabilize your breathing, CPAP helps protect you from the severe health risks that are associated to untreated sleep apnea. 1800CPAP is committed to providing you with helpful information regarding your sleep health and CPAP mask and CPAP machine product information. Listed below: potential life threatening consequences of untreated sleep apnea:

Sleep Apnea, CPAP and Heart Disease

Many of the risks involved with obstructive sleep apnea are related to how your heart functions. A person with a severe case of sleep apnea can stop breathing hundreds of times a night. An apnea is considered to be a cessation in breath for a period of 10 seconds or greater. These pauses in breathing cause dramatic decreases in your oxygen levels as well as arousal in your brain wave activity. The decreases in oxygen levels put a tremendous strain on your heart and will lead to an increase in your heart rate.

Research shows that people that suffer from sleep apnea have a higher rate of death due to heart disease. The link is strongest between OSA and hypertension (high blood pressure). Studies also show that CPAP reduces these high blood pressure levels in some people with sleep apnea. The use of CPAP over an extended period of time may help protect you from heart problems and reduce your risk of dying from them. These problems include the following:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Irregular heartbeat

Sleep Apnea, CPAP and Stroke

Recent research has also shown that sleep apnea greatly increases your risk of stroke. A stroke is defined as a sudden loss of brain function. It occurs when there is a blockage or rupture of one of the blood vessels that lead to the brain. Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and long-term disability in the U.S.

Studies show that people with OSA are up to four times more likely to have a stroke than people who do not have sleep apnea. The consistent use of a CPAP machine or BiPAP machine can reduce this risk of stroke for a person with sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea, CPAP and Diabetes

Obstructive sleep apnea is also related to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. These are factors in type 2 diabetes, the most common form of adult diabetes. Treatment with CPAP can improve insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes that suffer from sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing.

Sleep Apnea, CPAP and Motor Vehicle Accidents

Having sleep apnea can make you up to 15 times more likely to be involved in a car accident. The daytime sleepiness resulting from untreated sleep apnea can make it hard for you to stay awake while driving. Treating sleep apnea with a CPAP machine reduces your risk of being in an accident.

Secondary Positive Benefits of Using CPAP:

  • Awareness
  • The use of a CPAP machine can reduce the sleepiness and daytime fatigue that are common symptoms of sleep apnea. By preventing pauses in breathing as you sleep, you get a more restful night’s sleep and CPAP restores a normal sleep pattern and increases your total sleep time. This helps you to wake up in the morning feeling more refreshed.
  • Concentration
  • Using a CPAP machine may enable you to think, concentrate and make decisions better during the day. This can reduce your chance of injury at work and improve your productivity.
  • Mood Behavior
  • People who use CPAP often show reduced levels of depression and irritability. These reduced levels attribute to a better quality of life.
  • Medical Expenses
  • Studies have shown that people with visit the doctor more often and are prone to longer hospital stay than people without sleep apnea thus resulting in higher annual medical expenses. The effective use of a CPAP machine helps prevent health consequences associated with untreated sleep apnea. These annual expenses decrease when you use CPAP to treat sleep apnea.
  • Snoring
  • Snoring is typically the first indicator of potential sleep apnea. Snoring and partial blockages in the airway can lead to full blown sleep apnea. By keeping your airway open as you sleep, CPAP will eliminate snoring. You may not notice this because many people are unaware of their snoring levels. But your bed partner will benefit greatly from the quieter sleeping environment.

Getting the Most of Your CPAP Machine and CPAP Mask

The key is to continue using CPAP all night, every night and during every time you may nap. You put your health at risk if you only use CPAP part of the time. CPAP compliance on a national level is estimated to be 50 to 60%, not very good considering the number of people that need to therapy are not benefiting from it. There are 3 major factors to success with CPAP therapy.

  1. Proper support and education on sleep apnea and what to expect during the initial adaptation period of sleeping with pressurized air and a mask on your face. Let’s face it, most of us have went our whole life without using one of these devices so it is foreign to us.
  2. Proper CPAP mask fitting and selection. A mask that leaks or is uncomfortable to you will certainly encourage you to take it off, sleep without it, or quit therapy all together. It is important to work with your sleep technologist the night of your CPAP study to determine which CPAP mask will work best for you.
  3. Understanding the right CPAP or Bi-Level machine that is right for you; technology by the major manufacturers of CPAP devices has improved dramatically with comfort and compliance being the primary target. Pressure relief settings such as C-FLEX and EPR make it much easier during the initial adjustment phase of sleeping with a PAP device
  4. Therapy devices to treat sleep apnea may target specific types of sleep apnea like central sleep apnea (CSA). Research has shown that CPAP is ineffective in the treatment of CSA and a more effective treatment is Adaptive Pressure Support Servo Ventilation or an ASV device, ResMed S9 VPAP Adapt.
  5. People that have severe apnea may require higher CPAP pressures and be prescribed a Bi-Level device. A Bi-Level device is similar to CPAP but has 2 pressure settings, one for inspiration (IPAP) and a second for expiration (EPAP). These pressure ranges provide a stable pressure during exhalation to keep the airway open while allowing an optimum pressure during inhalation, BiPAP Machines.
  6. Others might be prescribed an APAP machine or also known as an AutoPAP. APAP machines have auto adjusting pressures, different from a CPAP machine, which is a continuous pressure, APAP increases and decreases based on therapy need and apnea detection. Auto CPAP Machines
  7. Get the maximum benefit from your CPAP by making a long-term commitment to improve your sleep and your health. Talk to your CPAP supplier if you need help with your CPAP treatment. Contact your sleep doctor if you experience any ongoing problems.