What is CPAP? All you need to Know

If this is the first time you have been recommended to use CPAP, the first question that pops up in your mind is what is CPAP? How does it work? What are the accessories needed? What are the benefits?

This article aims to put your mind to rest before you start the therapy for the first time.

What is CPAP? 

CPAP is the short form for Continuous Positive Air Pressure. It is a leading option in the treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. It involves pumping in pressurized air directly into the lungs so that the airways remain open during sleep and does not collapse. Recurrent breathlessness during sleep happens when the flow of air either stops or slows down because the air passage is either blocked, narrowed or has become floppy.

The therapy works by providing artificial and mechanical ventilation by supplying a steady stream of air.

What is CPAP? What about the equipment? 

Comprising of three main parts – the air-generating device, the mask and tube that carries air from the device to the mask, the main device is the size of a tissue box or even smaller. They are light and generally quiet. Some units are about 6 or 7 inches in length and weigh about 2 or 3 pounds.

The device has a built-in fan that pushes the air through the tube, after the machine is switched on. The air is than transmitted to the mask fitted to cover the full face, nose or nose and mouth. The amount of pressure needed to keep the airway open varies according to the severity of the condition.

The equipment could have several additional features like a pressure ‘ramp’ which ensures that the air pressure increases gradually after switching the device on. Humidifiers are now part of most units. They cool or heat the moisture coming from the device for ease of breathing.

What is CPAP mask? 

CPAP masks are a very important part of the therapy.  There can be three types of masks that are used in CPAP. The nasal mask that covers the nose; the full face mask and nasal pillows, a system that inserts soft silicone tubes directly into the nostrils.

It is important that the mask fits the user well, as one of the prime reasons for CPAP non-compliance is discomfort with the mask. It should be snug-fit and neither too lose nor too tight, as air seepage can mar the efficacy of CPAP therapy.

What are the benefits of this therapy

Now that you are familiar with the basic of the therapy and the equipment, the answer to the question: what is CPAP remains incomplete without mentioning the benefits the therapy offers:

–          Keeps airway open

–          Reduces snoring significantly

–          Qualitative improvement of sleep (shorter sleep onset time and less frequent waking)

–          Relief from sleep apnea symptoms including excessive daytime sleepiness (reduces risks of drowsy driving)

–          Reduces high blood pressure

–          Improves memory, reaction time and concentration abilities.

–          More refreshing and rejuvenating sleep

–          Increases daytime alertness.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field