Have you been told that you’re a habitual or loud snorer? Take heed because this is a possible sign of a sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Characterized by multiple breathing disturbances during your sleep, OSA occurs when the muscles at the back of your throat relax too much, causing your airway to narrow or become blocked. OSA warrants prompt intervention, as it can put you at a greater risk for potentially fatal conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.
To confirm a diagnosis, your sleep medicine specialist will carry out a thorough assessment, which likely includes a sleep study and, based on their findings, will determine the most suitable treatment option for you. They may give you a prescription for a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which is the mainstay of conservative treatment for OSA. The machine delivers steady air pressure through a hose connected to a mask or nosepiece to help you breathe easier during sleep.
The information we’ve provided below aims to give you a better understanding of how a CPAP machine essentially works.
How a CPAP Machine Works
A CPAP machine is built with a motor, which generates a steady supply of pressurized, oxygenated air that travels through a flexible hose. From the hose, the pressurized air is delivered into a mask that you wear sealed around your mouth and/or nose.
As you sleep, the CPAP machine delivers just enough air pressure to push against any blockages, thereby opening your airways, so your lungs receive adequate oxygen supply. Without any obstructions in your airway, you can breathe and sleep better.
A CPAP machine comes with a detailed user guide. It is important that you follow the instructions and your doctor’s advice and ensure that the mask fits you correctly. CPAP machines can take some getting used to, and it’s normal to find it difficult breathing out initially, but usually, once you’re asleep, your body does get used to breathing with the support of the machine.
Some CPAP machines are available with a “ramp” feature that gradually increases air pressure until it reaches the preset pressure level. This allows you to get progressively used to the machine.
Types of CPAP Masks
CPAP masks come in a number of designs. The one your doctor will recommend will likely depend on your breathing habits, your facial features, your personal preference, among other factors.
Your sleep medicine specialist may recommend any of the following types:
- Full mask-This type of mask covers both your nose and your mouth. Your doctor might prescribe this if you have allergies or any other medical condition that causes nasal blockage and consequently keeps you from breathing normally through your nose.
- Nasal mask– This is a cushioned type of mask that covers your whole nose area—from your bridge to your upper-lip area. It is capable of delivering a high-pressure airstream. Your doctor may recommend this if you have a habit of moving around in your sleep.
- Nasal pillow mask- This type of mask has prongs that fit right into your nostrils. This is a great option for people who have lots of facial hair, which may not allow a larger mask to fit snugly.
High-Quality CPAP Machines in Southwest Texas
If you live anywhere in Southwest Texas and are in search of a trusted CPAP machine supplier, contact us here at Reliance Medical, Inc. As one of the leading durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers in the region, our commitment goes beyond merely providing you with the equipment and leaving you to figure it out on your own. We have specially trained and highly experienced staff who will guide you on how to properly use and care for your DME, so you can maximize its benefits.