The most effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) blows air down your throat at night to keep your airways open while you sleep. The treatment is done using a CPAP machine, which consists of three main parts:
- Mask that fits over your nose -- or your nose and mouth -- and is held in place with straps while you sleep.
- Motor that blows air.
- Large tube called a cannula that connects the motor to the mask.
CPAP machines are small, lightweight, and fairly quiet. If you travel, you should take your CPAP with you.
Benefits of CPAP include keeping your airways open while you sleep, easing snoring, improving sleep quality, relieving daytime sleepiness, and lowering blood pressure.
Although you will likely feel better rested and alert once you start CPAP, getting used to the device can take some time. Some people have difficulty sleeping the first few nights of treatment.
Side effects of CPAP use are minor and may include:
- Feelings of confinement from the face mask
- Sore or dry mouth
- Nasal congestion, runny nose, sinusitis, or nosebleeds
- Irritation and sores over the bridge of the nose
- Stomach bloating and discomfort
- Discomfort in chest muscles, which usually gets better after a while.
If you are having any of these or other problems, speak to your doctor. An adjustment to your CPAP machine may make it more comfortable. Some CPAP machines have special features such as heated humidifiers to reduce problems such as drying of the airways. Other possible fixes include using a cushioned face mask, chin straps, and nasal saltwater sprays. Your doctor may have additional suggestions.
This answer should not be considered medical advice...This answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.
Archived: March 20, 2014
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