Sleep apnea is a fairly common serious sleep disorder that impacts nearly 18 million people in the United States. Basically sufferers stop sleeping multiple times throughout the night. They can have as many as 60 sleep apnea episodes in an evening. These can last only a few seconds or they can last several minutes. A sleep apnea machine, also called a continuous positive airway pressure machine, forces air into the airway by blowing it at a constant pressure.
The sleep apnea machine is very easy to use and set up. There are several parts to the CPAP machine:
The CPAP mask: These come in a wide variety of shapes and styles to cater to different people’s needs. They can range in size from full face coverage to smaller sizes and nasal pillows. This is the most important part of the machine because if a person is not comfortable wearing it, they will not use the machine and get the health benefits. In fact, about 80% of sleep apnea sufferers say they do not use the sleep apnea machine as much as recommended. More than half of people will stop after between one and three weeks. The popularity of both the nasal pillows and nasal masks is pretty evenly split. Nearly 50% say they like the nasal pillow and 45% say they prefer the nasal mask. If you are looking into CPAP machines, you should arrange a sleep study to try out different masks.
The CPAP motor: CPAP motors are really small compressors. They take in ambient air and gets it to the correct amount of pressure to force the air past the obstruction that causes the sleep apnea. There is a filter that needs to be replaced from time to time to keep the air clean and free of impurities. Advancements in the sleep apnea machine technology have been made in recent years so that they not often have water tanks to add warm water to the mix. That can help the air from drying out the wearer’s airway. These are great for people who live in a region that has a dry climate or for people who have problems with their mouths drying out at night. The CPAP motor is very quiet
CPAP hoses: These deliver the newly pressurized air to the mask from the motor. They vary in size but the average hose is six feet long. The diameter varies as the different CPAP machines have different requirements. Often the hoses are heated to deal with the water from the water tanks. This prevents too much water from collecting in the sleep apnea machine.
How do I know if I need a sleep apnea machine? If you are not getting enough sleep and are concerned, the first step is to talk to your doctor. They can either get you into a sleep clinic for a sleep study or you may qualify to do a sleep test at your own home. The latter is most often to determine the severity of your sleep apnea, not to determine if you have it. The former offers more chance for your doctor or other sleep experts to see how you sleep and gives better information to them. Basically, you go to the sleep center and they hook you up to machines that study your brain waves while you sleep. They also monitor your oxygen level and watch you sleep. It is the best way to determine if you suffer from sleep apnea and how bad it is.
If you you suffer from sleep apnea, the gold standard in treatment is the sleep apnea machine. It is the best way to treat this potentially fatal sleep disorder. The prestigious National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research has estimated that every year, nearly 38,000 people die from the cardiovascular complications associated with sleep apnea. While it may be hard to get used to wearing a mask at night, wearing it often helps most people get used to it pretty quickly. The machines are so quiet that most people get used to that to.
The bottom line is that if you have this disorder, getting a sleep apnea machine and using it is the best thing you can do.