The website sleepapnea.org estimates that more than 20 million people in the United States are affected by the chronic condition known as Sleep Apnea. This condition could be potentially fatal.
It happens when there is a constriction in the airway of the throat. Here, the muscles relax to the extent that it prevents the oxygen from entering the bloodstream, especially during sleep.
Making adjustments to your lifestyle, such as decreasing your body weight, giving up smoking, and switching to sleeping on your side, do not alleviate your symptoms. Your physician may recommend you to use a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine.
The continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines have been using a system that forces air via a pair of tubes. These are connected to a soft mask that lays over the patient’s nose. In most cases, it is secured in position by a series of straps that, similar to how goggles are used, are fastened behind the wearer’s head.
After the diagnosis of a sleep issue, many people seek information on the benefits and drawbacks of CPAP machines. This is the first treatment option that’s frequently prescribed.
The CPAP devices deliver oxygen by pushing air via two tubes to the airway through a mask that lies on the bridge of your nose. As with goggles, it’s held in place by a set of belts that you fasten behind your head.
In this post, the goal is to assist you in recognizing and mitigating these side effects. So, you can reap the full benefits of this very successful treatment for sleep apnea. Hence, increasing your general compliance with CPAP therapy.
The continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment method is one of the ways that can be used to manage obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Obstructive Sleep Apnea can be treated with CPAP therapy. It occurs when the muscles in the throat relax, blocking the airway (usually by the tongue or tonsils), causing you to stop breathing and wake up many people during the night. This is referred to as an “apnea event” or apnea in medical terms.
When you cannot breathe for long periods and wake up frequently throughout the night, from around 40 to hundreds of times, chronic sleep deprivation is inevitable. Because of this, your life may be shorter, you will be less happy, and you will have a lower level of performance than you would have if you addressed your sleep apnea.
CPAP therapy is used for patients in this situation. During CPAP therapy, you will use a CPAP machine to force air into your airway gently. This will prevent your airway from collapsing, which will, in turn, keep you breathing and sleeping.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the acronym for a CPAP machine. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is best treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
There is a humidifier inside the small rectangular box, powered by a motorized fan. The CPAP machine is connected to the patient’s breathing mask through a flexible tube. Your nose and/or mouth get compressed air from the fan, which provides mild positive pressure on the mask.
As a result, you’ll sleep better at night, knowing that the positive air pressure will keep your airway open during the night.
CPAP machines also come with a humidification chamber. It is not necessary to use a humidification chamber if you are using CPAP machines. Still, many individuals choose to do so because not utilizing one can cause discomfort in the nasal tube and throat.
How Does The CPAP Machine Work?
The little internal fan of the CPAP machine is the device’s most important component. The breathing mask receives a modest and positive pressure boost from the internal fan, which is delivered through the linked hose.
The hose is a flexible, lightweight tube that is kept warm to limit the amount of condensation that forms inside of it.
An excessive amount of condensation can result in a variety of sanitary issues, the most notable of which is the development of mold.
As a result of the continuous delivery of positive pressure to your breathing path, the passageway will not collapse even if your throat muscles are allowed to rest. Therefore, your airway could become obstructed if you did not have a CPAP machine.
People may first find the pressure to be a little unusual, but it is quite uncommon for them to report any long-term issues related to the pressure.
Benefits of CPAP
CPAP therapy is not only the most effective treatment for sleep apnea. But it also improves people’s quality of life by providing them with the oxygen they need to sleep and heal.
1. Better Heart Health
A sleep apnea complication that is often overlooked is hypertension or elevated blood pressure. During sleep apnea, blood pressure rises, putting additional strain on the cardiovascular system. This strain raises one’s risk of hypertension.
Repeated episodes of low oxygen saturation can result in abrupt death due to an irregular heartbeat. This is especially harmful to people with heart disease who already have high blood pressure.
Constant positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines lower blood pressure. It has been shown to lessen the risk of cardiovascular disease, including congestive heart failure.
2. You’ll be Refreshed
The inability to acquire regular, restful sleep is among the most bothersome and severe symptoms associated with sleep apnea. This lack of sleep can cause extreme exhaustion and fatigue.
In the condition known as sleep apnea, when there is a blockage in the airways, your body will force you to wake up from your sleep to open your airways.
This will result in you snorting, choking, or gasping for air. This pattern may continue all through the night, making it difficult for you to enter a state of deep slumber in which you can fully relax. You can improve the quality of your sleep and the amount of rest you get each night by using a CPAP machine on a regular basis.
This can have a significant bearing on how you feel during the day. Those who use their CPAP machine on a consistent basis report feeling well-rested, have improved focus during the day, and are less likely to suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness.
3. Improved Mental Health
Many studies have demonstrated that sleep apnea and anxiety are linked. In addition to irritation and anxiety, people with sleep apnea experience mood fluctuations. People are more likely to suffer from sadness, irritability, and other mental health problems if obstructive sleep apnea is left untreated.
Only 4% of individuals who received CPAP treatment for three months still reported depressive symptoms. This shows that obtaining adequate sleep can positively impact your health.
4. Lowers Risk of Diabetes
Sleep apnea is linked to insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. With the help of the CPAP, you can lower your chance of getting diabetes, enhance your ability to manage it, and improve your blood glucose control.
5. Better Skin
It’s a fact that all of us need adequate beauty rest. Collagen: the protein responsible for your skin’s suppleness and elasticity starts declining in your body if you don’t get enough sleep. Your body will produce more cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone, and excessive levels can cause collagen to degrade.
Additionally, sleep apnea may lower the formation of collagen.
However, you shouldn’t just accept having dull and wrinkled skin. If you want to seem more youthful and have rosy cheeks, try using your CPAP. Regular use of a CPAP machine has been associated with improvements in face wrinkles, redness, and puffiness.
Side Effects of CPAP
Here are some of the most prevalent CPAP side effects and how to fix them.
1. Aerophagia, often known as Bloating or Air in the Stomach
CPAP stands for “continuous positive airway pressure.” And it’s crucial to have that air pressure tailored to your individual needs and symptoms. For example, it’s possible that air from a full-face or oral mask could end up in your stomach if the pressure is too high while wearing it.
Aerophagia, the medical name for swallowing air, can cause stomach pain, hiccups, and excessive belching.
The solution – is to have your CPAP machine’s air pressure adjusted by a medical professional who specializes in sleep disorders. Never manually adjust the air pressure on your CPAP machine, even if the device has the capability to do so automatically.
2. Dry Mouth
In order to get the most out of CPAP therapy, it’s crucial to find the right kind of CPAP mask. Nasal masks, for example, can employ nasal pillows that are flexible plugs for your nasal passages, or they can cover the nose completely. It’s best to avoid a nasal mask if you wake up with a dry mouth because of your habit of mouth breathing.
However, a chinstrap is an alternative if you insist on wearing a nose mask. A chinstrap attachment will keep your jaw in place while you use your CPAP mask. This will prevent dry mouth, which is the primary issue of sleeping with your mouth open.
A humidifier is another accessory to keep in mind if you suffer from dry mouth. Mouth breathers and CPAP users with oral masks may have dry mouth or even nosebleeds if they sleep in a dry environment.
In addition, humidification can help individuals with sleep apnea who experience nasal congestion, excessive mucus, or phlegm due to environmental factors.
Use a humidifier or a chin strap instead of an oral, hybrid, or full-face mask to alleviate the problem completely. Before making any alterations to your CPAP therapy, ask your doctor.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and seasonal allergies are not a good combination. When you already have a sore throat, the last thing you need is for the air from your CPAP machine to blast on it and cause further irritation and dryness.
In addition, nasal congestion makes it more difficult to breathe for everyone, but particularly for people who have OSA. If you let the condition go untreated, you will likely develop a runny nose, dry eyes, and possibly even a sinus infection; all of these symptoms will keep you awake at night.
Consider using a heated humidifier since breathing in warm and moist air will help reduce inflammation in the sinuses and break up nasal congestion. CPAP filters must be cleaned and replaced on a regular basis.
For the first week or two, CPAP use may cause you to feel stuffy, claustrophobic, and even uneasy. For the vast majority of people, this gets better over time, notably if they adhere to the CPAP mask’s compliance minimums. However, for those who suffer from claustrophobia, that sense of confinement may be an enduring issue.
The Fix: If you feel you require medical attention for your claustrophobia, speak with your doctor about your treatment choices. Alternatively, you might simply switch to a CPAP mask with minimum contact.
It’s possible that your CPAP equipment is causing a sinus blockage, resulting in a CPAP sinus headache, or that your CPAP pressure is too high and causing the headache.
Sinus congestion can be alleviated with over-the-counter medications, but it’s vital not to rely on them for long periods of time, as they can become dangerous.
A heated humidifier, on the other hand, is a far more secure option for temporary relief. Aromatherapy can be incorporated into your CPAP routine as an additional alternative. Contact your ENT if you’ve tried these methods and still haven’t found relief.
6. Red Marks
You could wake up with red markings on your skin if you wear your CPAP mask all night long. This may be an indication that there is an infection. When your CPAP mask is overly tight, blood will pool in one spot because circulation to the surrounding skin will be cut off.
This can cause redness and swelling. Because of this, it is essential to consult a medical professional or a sleep specialist in order to try on your mask and have a better understanding of how it fits you. The red lines on your face are the result of this.
The solution is to reposition your CPAP mask while you are lying down, or you might try different cushions, such as memory foam.
7. Skin Irritations
The natural oil produced by your body to preserve and moisturize your skin is known as sebum. Unfortunately, skin irritations, rashes, and acne can result from excessive sebum, sweat, debris, and germs. This is a problem waiting to happen when you use a CPAP mask, which traps all of that build-up under the mask’s chin strap and headgear.
The best solution is to wash your CPAP mask using non-toxic soap and potable water. However, cleaning your CPAP machine can be as simple as using CPAP wipes. Mask liners, which keep your CPAP mask cushion sealed to your face and require less regular cleaning, are another option.
Finally, adherence to your treatment plan will help you avoid consequences such as increased daytime sleepiness and cardiovascular events. In spite of the discomfort, it’s essential to stay with CPAP treatment.
The advantages of CPAP therapy usually always outweigh the disadvantages, even though some side effects are possible.
A few mild adverse effects, such as dry eyes, and nasal sores, persist even after most patients have become comfortable with their CPAP machine and are reporting the finest sleep of their lives after making the first transition to sleep therapy. Before making any alterations to your current CPAP program, be sure to consult with your physician.
Your health and quality of life will improve if you take the time and patience to resolve any concerns that may arise while using your CPAP machine.