Being able to answer, "What does a CPAP machine do?" can help you to find the perfect solution to your sleep apnea. Sleep apnea, a disorder that affects over 22 million Americans, can lead to severe and sometimes fatal issues.
From heart disease to problems with memory retention, it is a sleeping condition that is treatable with the right equipment. Knowing what a CPAP machine is and how it can help you can give you the information you need for a peaceful night’s rest.
Where Do CPAP Machines Come From?
The history of CPAP machines is rather new, especially when compared to other medical treatments. Developed in 1981, Dr. Colin Sullivan determined that access to a constant flow of air could assist with interrupted breathing while asleep. The most exciting thing is that he realized this after looking at his mother’s vacuum.
In the past, the only treatment for sleep apnea was to undergo a tracheostomy. A tracheostomy is a permanent or temporary procedure that involves inserting a tube into the windpipe to allow air to enter the lungs regularly. Although it is a very effective solution, it is also incredibly invasive and expensive to undergo.
Over the years, CPAP machines have gone through many upgrades. Now all you have to do is slip on a mask connected to a device. You will then be delivered pressurized oxygen while asleep, so your breathing is never interrupted once your throat muscles relax at night.
How Do CPAP Machines Work?
You’ll find that most modern CPAP machines work similarly to the first versions of the devices, only with a few more convenient upgrades. A device generates pressurized air with a quiet motor, and instead of using an oxygen tank, it uses the oxygen in your room.
When the air pulls into the CPAP machine, it is filtered and pressurized based on settings determined by your sleep specialist. Most CPAP machines come with settings between four CWP (centimeters of water pressure) and 25 CWP. You’ll receive your perfect settings after visiting a sleep specialist and undergoing several tests.
Once started, the machine will transfer the air through a humidifier and then push the filtered and pressurized air through a tube to the mask you wear on your face.
The best thing about CPAP machines is that they take all of the work out of getting a better night’s rest. All you have to do is strap on your mask, power on the machine, and fall asleep. There’s no need to adjust settings or manage intricate functions.
How Do CPAP Machines Help?
Now that you have an understanding of how these machines are designed to work, it’s time to discuss how they help you at night. As it is continually pumping pressurized air into the mask, it creates a cushion along your upper airway. The airflow is meant to prevent your throat from collapsing, as it substantially inflates your trachea.
As a result, your tongue, uvula, and soft palate are unable to shift, which reduces any blockages in your airway once your body slips into sleep. You’ll also find that a CPAP machine helps to prevent swelling in your nose and is highly recommended for reducing mucus buildup. After your first use, you’ll begin to notice a highly improved amount of sleep, as long as the oxygen levels are maintained.
Above all else, using a CPAP machine when it is needed is essential for avoiding the harmful effects of sleep apnea. You won’t have to worry about a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, moodiness, and even obesity. Instead, you’ll finally be able to achieve the quality of sleep you have always desired.
Another highly accessible version of a traditional CPAP machine is known as an AutoCPAP machine. It is slightly more advanced and a little more expensive. It is typically prescribed to patients with severe sleep apnea conditions.
With an AutoCPAP machine, it will automatically detect if your throat is collapsing while you're unconscious. If a throat collapse is detected, the AutoCPAP machine will immediately increase its pressure throughout the night, as needed. They can also adjust their pressure downward to determine if a lower pressure is preferable for your condition.
The Pros and Cons of CPAP Machines
Even though it’s easy to see how a CPAP machine can significantly improve your quality of sleep, they may not be the best treatment for everyone. Below are some of the most common pros and cons people experience when treating their sleep apnea with a CPAP machine.
Pro: Uninterrupted Sleep
The most important advantage of using these machines is that you will finally have the length of sleep you have always desired. Since you won’t have to worry about waking up coughing, gagging, or choking from a lack of oxygen, you’ll have an uninterrupted period of sleep.
By far the most significant disadvantage people have noticed about CPAP machines is aerophagia, also known as air swallowing. As you are wearing a mask that is continually pumping oxygen into your lungs, you won’t be able to blow some of the oxygen out. This effect is especially true if you’re using a pressure that is too low for your needs.
It is of the utmost importance that you work with a sleep specialist to determine the perfect settings for your CPAP machine. You should also avoid tinkering with the settings to reduce air pressures, which are too high or too low, without professional help.
Pro: Reduces Snoring
For many, the main reason they find out they have sleep apnea is that they snore incredibly loud. Loud snoring could lead you to either wake yourself up in the middle of the night or wake up your loved ones. When you have a CPAP mask on your face, your throat muscles will never block your trachea.
An unobstructed trachea means you’ll be far less likely to snore, as your airway will not be obstructed in any way. You’ll find that less snoring will be far more beneficial for your partner, and your quality of sleep will improve as well.
Con: Awkward to Wear
Over the years, CPAP machines have become smaller and more convenient. If you’re not used to wearing something on your face at night, they will be awkward to wear at first.
You will eventually get used to needing one; however, CPAP machines will have control over the way you sleep and the position you’re in. For example, stomach sleepers may find it difficult to lie on their stomachs with the mask on.
Pro: Improved Mental State
Many don’t realize the importance of sleep on our day-to-day functions. When you have a night of poor sleep, you’re far more likely to lose concentration and be unable to focus during the day. You may also be at risk for depression, irritability, and overall moodiness.
Instead of trying to control emotions affecting you merely because of poor sleep, it’s far more recommended you invest in a CPAP machine.
Alternatives to CPAP Machines
By now, you should know that there are alternatives to using a CPAP machine, depending on the type of sleep apnea you have. For example, you could opt for oral devices to prevent snoring, rather than a constant flow of oxygen. Another popular alternative to CPAP machines is the Stop Snoring and Sleep Apnea Program.
For many snorers and sleep apnea patients, having control over their treatments is a necessity. This theory is especially true if you are searching for an all-natural solution that doesn’t require surgical procedures or auxiliary devices. The program offers four comprehensive exercises specifically tailored to your needs.
What you’ll come to love the most about the Stop Snoring and Sleep Apnea Program is how easy it is to do daily. Each exercise should only take between one and two minutes, for a total of seven to eight minutes per night. To assist with having a more peaceful night’s rest, it’s well worth the investment of time.
What Does a CPAP Machine Do: Final Thoughts
There are many things a CPAP machine is responsible for, but its primary objective is to prevent your throat from collapsing at night. If you’ve ever wondered what does a CPAP machine do, talking to a sleep specialist will give you a better idea of how it can help. This statement is especially true if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and need immediate treatment.
As an alternative, consider the Stop Snoring and Sleep Apnea Program, as it is a reliable remedy for sufferers of all ages. Regardless if you’re tired and embarrassed of your snoring or sleep apnea, this program is designed to help.