What is CPAP?
Do you find yourself feeling sleepy throughout the day? Do you snore loudly when you sleep? Do you wake up multiple times in the middle of the night unable to catch your breath? If so, then you may be one of the 18 million Americans that have sleep apnea, a condition that causes a person to stop breathing several times throughout the night. These cessations in breathing can happen hundred of times in one night, lasting up to a minute or longer. While some patients may experience symptoms, usually the sleeper does not even notice any of these symptoms upon waking.
If sleep apnea isn’t treated it can lead to a variety of different health problems including stroke, heart disease and high blood pressure. Furthermore, the daytime sleepiness that often accompanies someone with sleep apnea leaves you prone to more accidents and trauma. There are three different kinds of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and mixed sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea tends to be the most common form and is caused by a blockage in the airway.
Who Develops Sleep Apnea?
While anyone can develop this sleep disorder it is most often found in African American and Hispanic men over the age of 40; however, those with type 2 diabetes and those who are obese are also at risk of developing sleep apnea.
How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?
The only way to receive a proper sleep apnea diagnosis is to have a sleep study performed. During your initial consultation we will sit down with you and discuss the symptoms you are experiencing. If your symptoms are indicative of sleep apnea or another sleep disorder then we will recommend that you come in for an overnight sleep study, in which we will apply sensors to your body to check your vital signs and look for any abnormal activity while you sleep.
How is Sleep Apnea Treated?
If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea then we will most likely recommend using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. CPAP therapy uses a mask or nosepiece that supplies the sleeper with constant air, helping to keep airways open throughout the night. CPAP masks come in a variety of different styles and sizes to fit each patient individually and it’s advised that the sleep apnea sufferer uses their CPAP every night.
If you are having issues adjusting to the fit of your CPAP, talk to us about how to work with your mask and machine to get the best night’s sleep.