How does CPAP work?
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines work by providing a constant flow of air pressure, in order to keep the airways of a sleep apnea sufferer open. This means that no blockages are caused and apneas are prevented.
CPAP machines treat sleep apnea by providing a constant flow of air to the airways, which ensures the airways are kept open without any obstructions or apneas occurring.
A step-by-step process of how a CPAP machine works:
CPAP machines work by taking the air from your room and gently pressurises it. The air processes through fine filters that screen out particulates and impurities. The air then blows through the tube and mask, into your throat. The pressure of the air keeps your throat open while you are sleeping, preventing any breathing difficulties during the night.
The hose works as a delivery device that transports the pressurised air from the motor to the users CPAP mask. The average hoses are 6 feet in length, while the diameter of the hoses can be different depending on the machine used. You can also purchase heated hoses, to reduce a condensation build up.
There are several CPAP mask variations that you can choose from; full face, nasal cushion, nasal pillows, and oral and hybrid masks. Finding a mask that suits your breathing style is essential when choosing a mask, as every individual is different. When using CPAP therapy, you need to adjust the mask so that it fits comfortably without any leaking occurring. If the CPAP mask leaks, then it may become noisy and air may blow into yours or your partners eyes. If you do experience leaking from your CPAP mask, you might like to try RemZzzs mask liners. CPAP mask liners prevent many of the common problems associated with CPAP masks. With the large variety of CPAP masks available, there is a mask that suits everyone’s individual needs, so it is essential that you do your research first.
If I start using a CPAP machine, how often do I have to use it and when will it take effect on my sleep apnoea symptoms?
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines usually become effective from the first night of use, if you have fitted your mask correctly and haven't experienced any leakage. Although, some people find it takes slightly longer for the CPAP machine to have an affect on their sleep apnea symptoms. CPAP therapy unfortunately is not a cure for sleep apnoea, but it is an ongoing treatment that has to carried out every night to ensure you get the full benefit from your therapy. CPAP therapy can take some time adjusting to, and it can feel slightly invasive at first, but once you get into the routine of using it every night, you'll be able to see the positive benefits it is having on your quality of life. CPAP therapy is the most recommended treatment option for sleep apnoea because it is has such a high success rate if used correctly.
I think I suffer from OSA and would like to obtain a machine. Can I just order one or do I need to confirm my diagnosis?
To obtain a CPAP machine, you do need to confirm your sleep apnoea symptoms by taking a sleep study. There are two main options to confirm your diagnosis:
- You can go through the NHS for free. Just visit your GP, who can then refer you to go to a sleep clinic for an overnight analysis in their specialist sleep unit. (Be aware that this process can take several months, dependant on your area. Although this route will save you costs).
- Or, you can order a private and confidential sleep study that you can take in the comfort of your own home. This route provides you with a quick diagnosis within 7-10 days, but does come with a fee.