How Does a CPAP Machine Work?
Posted by Remologie Staff
What is a CPAP Machine?
Specifically designed for individuals with obstructive sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines increase air pressure within the throat to stop airways from collapsing during sleep. Conveniently sized to sit on most bedside tables, CPAP machines are available that run on either battery power or electricity.
The base of a CPAP machine contains a small fan and motor that generates a steady, gentle air flow through a flexible tube attached to a face mask. The mask is then placed over a user’s face and secured with a chin strap. Different styles of CPAP masks include full face masks that cover the mouth and nose and nasal CPAP masks covering the nose only. A nasal pillow mask is often preferred by users who cannot tolerate having a mask on their face while they sleep. Nasal pillow masks for CPAP machines are simply small “pillows” that fit inside each nostril.
The level of air pressure users need to prevent airway obstruction while sleeping is determined by the AutoCPAP function included in a CPAP machine. People with severe sleep apnea may require results from a special sleep test called a polysomnography to establish appropriate air pressure settings.
Maintenance of CPAP machines mainly focuses on the heated humidifier system found in most machines. This system helps reduce nasal irritation and dry mouth due to the drying effect of a constant air flow. Daily cleaning of the humidifier chamber is necessary to prevent calcification and bacteria growth inside the chamber.
How Does a CPAP Machine Work to Treat Sleep Apnea
CPAP machines are designed to treat obstructive sleep apnea. The most commonly diagnosed type of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea involves laxity of the throat muscles at the back of the throat. When you are awake, these throat muscles remain firm, tense and ready to be used while swallowing and speaking. However, when you are asleep, throat muscles relax abnormally and fall over your airway.
By regulating pressure throughout the throat and airway, CPAP machines stop lax throat tissues from falling over airways and blocking airflow. More specifically, CPAP machines keep the pressure level above the atmospheric pressure that normally exists within the throat and upper airway. The constant flow of air produced by the machine allows users to inhale and exhale without interruption during sleep.
How Do CPAP Machines Change Lives?
Getting good quality sleep (and enough of it) is essential for your overall well-being. When you sleep, your brain and body are busily recharging themselves by releasing growth factor hormones needed for bone, organ and muscle health. Sleep also helps re-balance metabolism that tends to slow down towards the end of the day.
If you have tried to slog through a work day on little sleep, you know first-hand how lack of sleep detrimentally affects your ability to concentrate, remember and tolerate even the slightest everyday irritations. Moreover, untreated obstructive sleep apnea has been clinically shown to raise your risk of hypertension, obesity, diabetes and numerous other chronic diseases.
People with sleep apnea who begin using a CPAP machine will immediately start enjoying the benefits of a good night’s sleep. Reports from CPAP users include the following statements:
- I feel much more energetic and refreshed in the morning and throughout the day
- I no longer experience bouts of anxiety and depression due to constant and overwhelming fatigue
- My blood pressure has fallen and my doctor says I may not need to take hypertension medication anymore
- I don’t crave sugary, salty or high-fat foods during the day–and I’ve lost weight!
- I can think more clearly and quickly
- My memory is where it should be for my age
- My relationship with my significantly has greatly improved since I started using a CPAP machine.
Remologie invites you to check out the first of a series where a patient of ours talks about how CPAP dramatically improved their quality of life, here. Contact us today for more information about our CPAP machines and how you can take control of your sleep apnea starting today.