Sleep Apnea Equipment: How Do CPAP Machines Work?

Sleep apnea sufferers often get prescribed continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy by their sleep doctors. With proper CPAP medical equipment and CPAP therapy, most patients experience better sleep with less fatigue during the day and fewer associated health problems as well. But, how do CPAP machines help sufferers sleep through the night? Let's take a closer look at CPAP therapy and explore how CPAP machines work to treat sleep apnea.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

To understand how CPAP machines work, it's helpful to understand the causes and symptoms of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. People with OSA awaken frequently throughout the night, during what are known as "apnea events." These apnea events happen when airways are physically blocked by soft tissues in the back of the mouth or in the throat area. As breathing stops, the brain loses oxygen, causing it to trigger the body to wake up to restore breathing.

OSA sufferers often snore loudly and wake up gasping for breath regularly. They also experience many other negative symptoms, like excessive tiredness during the day and symptoms of chronic fatigue, issues with mood, concentration, and memory, and even health problems like high blood pressure and greater risk for heart attacks and stroke. 

How Do You Get a Sleep Apnea Diagnosis?

OSA sufferers must get a sleep apnea diagnosis from a sleep doctor, who may prescribe CPAP therapy as part of their treatment plan. First, the patient will undergo a sleep study, which takes place in a sleep lab. Sleep doctors and technicians monitor the patient as they sleep during the night, making note of all apnea events and other factors related to sleep quality.

Based on the number and frequency of apnea events, a sleep apnea diagnosis is made, and the severity of the case is determined. Armed with this diagnosis and the data from the patient's sleep study, sleep doctors then create a customized treatment plan, which often includes CPAP therapy.

How Does CPAP Equipment Work?

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines prevent airway obstructions that OSA sufferers experience by gently pushing air into the lungs to keep the body and brain properly oxygenated. CPAP machines are specialized air pumps that can create a very precisely controlled amount of air pressure and airflow. Many CPAP machines also have integrated humidifiers to help keep the user's airways hydrated and improve comfort.

The CPAP machine's air pump is connected to a hose that delivers the pressurized air to a CPAP mask, and these masks come in many different types and configurations. Nasal masks cover only the nose area to push air into nasal passages. On the other hand, full face CPAP masks cover both the nose and mouth area, and total face masks cover the entire face, including the eyes.

No matter what type of mask a CPAP user has, a soft, breathable cotton RemZzzs® Mask Liner will improve comfort while helping the mask seal better against the face for optimal performance. That means better sleep and better overall CPAP therapy as a result.

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