CPAP – also known as continuous positive airway pressure – is a growing treatment among those with breathing problems. Whether sleep induced or caused by another form of sickness, CPAP helps patients young and old maintain a healthy breathing pattern while sleeping. The therapy is most often seen in those with sleep apnea and babies with lungs that are not yet developed.
With the former, CPAP helps keep air moving so patients won’t wake up from breathing interruptions. By keeping airways open with this constantly moving oxygen, patients no longer suffer from frequent waking, which is caused by collapsed airwaves during sleep. While, with infants, breathing treatments allows lungs to rest and grow while a machine takes care of the air flow. That way young, underdeveloped lungs don’t get tired out before they’re able to naturally expand.
What Exactly Does CPAP Do?
Consisting of a mask, machine, and a tube that connects the two, the CPAP machine pushes a constant flow of oxygen. One wears the machine at night to receive breathing assistance until morning, or whenever a doctor deems necessary. The mask comes in all sizes so it can properly fit each patient, and sits atop the nose. Some versions cover both the nose and mouth, while both come with straps to keep the mask securely (but comfortably) in place.
Most machines are small, lightweight, and create soft, rhythmic noise as to not interrupt the sleeper. Specialized versions also come with humidifiers or heaters, depending on the specific type of treatment. CPAP machines are easily portable, helping those that travel regularly or need the machine throughout the day.
Compared with alternate breathing treatments, CPAP machines are known to be much less invasive than ventilators or steroids (used to strengthen infants’ lungs). Oftentimes they are chosen first to create a more natural treatment regimen.
How to Get Started
CPAP users must first be diagnosed by a doctor. Once receiving a prescription, patients work with a home equipment or medical provider to find the best machine to fit each person’s size and condition. It’s also likely follow ups will take place to ensure the equipment is still as efficient as possible, and that symptoms are being effectively treated with CPAP’s help.
Though it’s used to treat a wide variety of medical instances, CPAP therapy has shown to offer a great deal of support for both breathing and sleeping problems.
To find out more about CPAP and better sleep, check out our articles page.