What Is Sleep Apnea? How Can CPAP Help?

Therefore, before you get more information about the curing mechanism of sleep apnea called CPAP or Continuous Positive Air Pressure it might make more sense to know the basics of this condition, one of the worst kinds of sleeping disorders.

What is sleep apnea?

This is a distressful sleeping disorder marked by frequent cessation of breathing. In fact, a victim could stop breathing for 10 to 30 seconds at a time while asleep. As incredible as it may sound, such pauses in breathing can happen nearly 400 times in a night. Though you may not wake up due to such cessations, you would undoubtedly have a very disturbed sleep that leaves you fatigued and irritable the next morning.

Of the two types of sleep apnea, the more common type is called obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. This condition is characterized by complete blockage of the upper respiratory tract (you could call it trachea) that causes major hindrance to air flow when you breathe. The air passage could be obstructed by the tongue, enlarged tonsils or even the uvula. If you are overweight, the fatty tissues in and around the throat muscles could also cause blockage to the windpipe.

Habitual snoring is considered to be a predecessor to developing sleep apnea. If you decide to ignore snoring as a sleeping disorder, you could gradually develop this extremely dangerous health condition called sleep apnea which is closely associated with several other health conditions like increased blood pressure, hypertension, ischemic heart disease and even stroke.

What is CPAP and what role does it play in the management of sleep apnea?

The CPAP or Continuous Positive Air Pressure is the name of a set of devices used to bring relief to sleep apnea patients. It has to be remembered at the outset, that CPAP machine, consisting of a mask, tubes and a fan does not cure the condition but merely brings sustained relief, when used during sleep.

The primary purpose of a CPAP unit is to push the collapsing tongue forward by using air pressure. This clears the throat and allows air to pass through without any obstruction.

CPAP – is it for everyone?

Sleep apnea is a condition serious enough to warrant consultation with a sleep doctor and under no circumstances should you try self-therapy to treat the condition. Depending on the severity of your condition and the location of the blockage, your doctor may suggest a sleep study, to assess the kind of air pressure you need for the CPAP unit to function optimally.

For example, bulky people may need more air pressure than someone who weighs less. The doctor is the best judge to decide what kind of CPAP machine you would need to get the right kind of relief from the condition.