Some of us may know what sleep apnea is but for those of us who may not be well acquainted, Sleep apnea is a disorder that entails the interruption, obstruction or stopping of breath during sleep. It is typically characterized by loud snoring and possible tiredness after a night sleep.
Over the last 30 years, specialists have made developments that have led to the introduction of the Continuous Positive Airway pressure therapy: a treatment remedy for sleep apnea. The method involves the delivery of pressurized air through a special delivery system to allow people with the condition to maintain regular breathing patterns:
• People with sleep apnea receive specific air prescriptions and a CPAP machine to deliver it.
• The ordinary outlook design feature of a CPAP machine is a small box with a motorized fan, a pipe, and a mask.
• The fan draws in air from the surrounding environment, pressurizes it gently, and delivers the specified amount according to one’s prescription.
• The CPAP machines also have a filtration section that keeps away contaminants present in the air like smoke and dust.
• The Humidification chamber is another key feature of the CPAP machines.
• Its function is to warm water that humidifies the pressurized water before it is released to the user.
The importance of the humidified air is that it soothes the nasal and upper airway passages; this prevents the discomfort or in some cases, swelling that occurs while under therapy. Humidification is not a necessary feature for all patients. It is, however, advantageous for people who live in dry climates and ones who experience dry throats, nasal passages, or mouth as a result of sleep apnea.
• Connecting the box to the max is a hose that is flexible and lightweight.
• It is commonly about 6 feet and its role is to direct the air to the user’s masks.
• It is typically heated in order to reduce condensation that may occur inside it when the humidifier is on.
• Due to the movement during sleep, the pipe could wear out over time and, thus, needs to be checked regularly.
• The other part is the mask; the viability of the therapy depends significantly on the fit and comfort of it.
• As a result, users are often advised to go through the wide range of mask sizes and shapes that best fits them.
• Just as the hose, the masks can wear out over time and may need to be replaced from time to time.
CPAP machines were designed to keep a person’s airway open so as to allow normal breathing. The pneumatic splint of pressurized air is meant to prevent the collapses or obstruction of the nasal passages associated with sleep apnea. They can be effective in the treatment and management of the condition.
However, it is imperative that patients first get tested by a professional. The physician needs to establish a patient’s air pressure setting that will inform the settings of the CPAP machines. One may need to spend a night at a sleep lab for this.