Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, make it very difficult for patients suffering from the disease to have a regular sleep routine. Their breathing gets interrupted repeatedly and multiple times while they’re asleep.
If not appropriately treated, sleep apnea can lead to numerous health-related problems and disorders, such as diabetes, heart failure, cardiomyopathy, stroke, hypertension, and heart attacks.
Sleep apnea can often cause kids and adolescents to underperform academically, while adults might not be able to excel at work due to this disease.
One way to treat sleep apnea is by using a CPAP machine. By utilizing the benefits of a CPAP machine, individuals can control the sleepiness they experience during the day and get better sleep without waking up multiple times at night.
A CPAP machine lowers the possibility of streaks, heart attacks, and cardiovascular diseases. It also lowers your blood pressure and helps reduce your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. CPAP machines help treat both types of sleep apnea, namely obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Research suggests that millions of Americans get affected by sleep apnea every year. It doesn’t just affect people of a certain age, which is why a CPAP machine enables them to be well-rested through uninterrupted sleep.
You might face certain roadblocks with your machine if it has been used for a while, but it’s nothing that can be solved with proper servicing. There are things you can also do at home to solve these problems, such as checking the filters and tube and checking the adapter.
Whether troubleshooting a CPAP machine or learning about its mechanisms and different types, we’re here to help you with it all. Let’s dive right in.
What is a CPAP Machine?
A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is prescribed to those suffering from sleep apnea disorders. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder that pauses your breathing or causes interruptions in your sleep cycle, either when your body’s airways face collapses or your throat gets temporarily blocked.
Central sleep apnea (CSA), too, is a sleep apnea disorder in which your breathing gets paused and then starts up in parts. This happens because your muscles don’t receive proper signals from your brain about breathing in air.
CSA differs from OSA because, in the latter, the issue occurs when the upper airway gets obstructed. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in comparison to central sleep apnea.
As you sleep, a CPAP machine steadily supplies pressurized air into your mouth and nose, and it is this air that allows you to breathe normally while also opening up your airways. The pressurized air gets into your system through a tube inside your mask.
A CPAP machine has three parts: a hose, a mask, and a machine. The machine is equipped with a fan responsible for drawing the air in, which is then filtered and purified. Consult your doctor to efficiently set the pressure level of the CPAP machine, which is based on the water pressure.
The machine is connected via a thin hose to a CPAP mask. A tight seal attaches the hose to both the device and the mask, with the length being sufficiently long so that the person using the mask doesn’t feel restricted.
Based on the style of the CPAP mask, it should easily cover your mouth, nostrils, or both. While you use it, the air that has been pressurized travels via the hose, from the machine, and inside the mask, which is how it reaches your airways.
Different Types of CPAP Machines And Masks
CPAP machines are not the only type that helps deal with sleep apnea. There are various categories that you can look into for this purpose. Some of them are as follows:
1. APAP Machines
An automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) machine can lower or raise one’s blood pressure depending on their breathing patterns.
If you’re a sleeper whose pressure requirements fluctuate based on the sleep cycle stages or your sleeping position, an APAP machine is the right choice. It is also comfortable for those who can’t handle CPAP therapy.
2. BiPAP Machines
A bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machine consists of dual pressure settings. It keeps a lower pressure when someone inhales and higher pressure when they exhale. If your OSA is severe, a BiPAP machine allows you to cycle air in and out of your lungs quickly.
3. Travel CPAP Machines
In a travel CPAP machine, the technique is the same as that of a CPAP machine, with the difference being that the design is more portable. Being lightweight and smaller, you can also carry this in aircraft as specific models are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
4. ASV Machines
Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV) machines are a non-invasive way to treat obstructive and central sleep apnea. Adapting to the patient’s breathing patterns, the device keeps adjusting itself between low and high pressure as required.
Besides machines, there are also various types of CPAP masks, such as:
5. Full Face Masks
A full face mask covers your nose and mouth. This type of mask works if you have a blockage in your nose or a habit of breathing through your mouth while sleeping.
6. Nasal Masks
A nasal mask is a cushioned mask that covers the entire area of your nose. Lighter than a full face mask, it delivers a high-pressure airstream and is best suited for people who move around in their sleep.
7. Nasal Pillow Masks
Nasal pillow masks tend to be even lighter than nasal masks, giving you more visibility and a sense of openness. The tiny cushion in these masks covers the area of your nostrils, with some even possessing prongs that could fit inside an individual’s nostrils.
If you have a lot of facial hair and have been finding it difficult to find a mask that fits you properly, a nasal pillow mask might do the trick.
Troubleshooting CPAP Machine When it is Not Blowing Air
If your CPAP machine is not blowing air, all you need to do is replace the filters and tubes to fix it. This also helps in extending the lifespan of your CPAP machine. In fact, it is often advised to replace the filters on a monthly basis if one is using the machine throughout the night.
Change the tube of your CPAP machine once every one to three months, as it will be very beneficial for you. If the filter is dirty or clogged, it won’t be possible for normal pressure to be generated from the CPAP machine.
Another vital point to remember is to keep cleaning the CPAP tubes periodically. You can use a specialized CPAP sanitizer machine or soap and water to keep it tidy.
Tips to Get Accustomed to a CPAP Machine
You might have certain reservations if you’re about to use a CPAP machine for the first time. However, follow these tips to ensure you get used to a CPAP machine in a more accessible and effortless way:
- Use it an hour before bedtime during the first week so that your body gets accustomed to the breathing pattern you must follow while wearing the CPAP mask.
- Buy a CPAP machine that is quieter.
- If a calming sleeping experience is what you desire, make sure to use a diffuser along with your CPAP mask.
- Revamp your lifestyle to maintain your sleep hygiene adequately. This entails developing a proper routine to get all the hours of sleep your body requires. Listen to your body’s internal clock and try to go to bed every day at a fixed time.
- As you begin sleep therapy, ensure to go to bed only when you’re tired. This is because if you’re up with the CPAP mask on, it might feel uncomfortable during the initial days. Falling asleep quickly, though, will help you get accustomed to the process.
- Purchase a CPAP mask that fits your face. Some companies allow you to do a trial run with your mask before completing the purchase. You might want to try that option before settling for a mask.
Before you buy a CPAP machine, make sure to visit a doctor and also schedule a sleep study. During this study, your apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) gets measured by a physician, and if in case your breathing halts for 10 seconds or more, you can determine if you have sleep apnea.
Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, the doctor can decide if CPAP therapy is a plausible path of treatment for you or not. With a CPAP machine, you achieve the ability to go about your day without feeling lethargic due to lack of sleep.
Fixing an issue with a CPAP machine, such as when it isn’t blowing air, is not too difficult a science to crack. This article explains how troubleshooting the CPAP machine works and why you should get one for yourself.