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Using a CPAP Machine for Treating Sleep Apnea

If you have been diagnosed with moderate to severe apnea, the most effective treatment option for you is to use a CPAP machine every night while you sleep. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, and a CPAP machine is basically the only truly effective treatment for those with sleep apnea, especially more severe forms of the sleeping disorder.



A CPAP machine - not to be confused with a bipap machine which is used for certain types of sleeping disorders like Cheyne Stokes respiration - is a small unit that sits next to your bed and delivers a constant stream of air pressure to the lungs, via a sleep apnea mask which is placed over the nose, or both the mouth and nose, depending on the cause of your airway obstruction. 

This constant flow of air is designed to force air past the airway obstruction into the lungs, allowing sleep apnea sufferers to continue breathing throughout the night and ensure that the oxygen concentration level in their blood does not drop. 

The mask must fit tightly over your nose and possibly mouth, without any gaps in order to ensure that the air pressure is allowed to force its way past the obstructions and into the lungs.

If your doctor determines that the use of a CPAP machine is the only way to treat your sleep apnea, then it will be necessary to use the machine every night for the rest of your life. 

cpap machinesHowever, this is much preferred to the alternative of your health slowly deteriorating due to a lack of sleep caused by sleep apnea and also lowered blood oxygen concentration levels.

Sleep apnea CPAP works for all individuals with sleep apnea, regardless of the position that they sleep in. However, if you sleep on your stomach, you will need to change your sleeping habits, as the mask can be somewhat bulky and requires that you sleep either on your side or your back in order for it to remain in place throughout the night.

Common Sleep Apnea CPAP Complaints

The most common complaint heard about sleep apnea CPAP is that the entire unit can be quite uncomfortable to use, and it takes many people quite a long time to ever get used to using the machine. When you first start using CPAP, you may find that it makes it very hard for you to fall asleep, but you should eventually become more accustomed to using the machine and eventually you will be able to fall asleep fairly easily. 

One way to avoid the discomfort associated with CPAP is to make sure that you choose high quality CPAP accessories, including a comfortable, well-fitting CPAP mask and a CPAP pillow designed for how you sleep (i.e. side sleeper or back sleeper). 

cpap machinesYou will also want to make sure that you purchase comfortable headgear that will keep the mask in place throughout the night. 

Also, if you feel the mask causes sore spots around your nose, you may also want to consider using a CPAP nasal cushion to help relieve any discomfort.

Another common complaint about sleep apnea CPAP is the noise that the machine continuously makes. 

However, there is really nothing that can be done to alleviate this complaint, although more modern sleep apnea machines have been designed which are much quieter than they were in the past.

Necessary Equipment for Using a Sleep Apnea CPAP Unit

 

In addition to the CPAP machine, you will also need to purchase a CPAP mask, headgear, and tubing to connect the mask to the machine. It is also recommended that you purchase a specially designed CPAP pillow which is designed to keep your head properly elevated while also allowing room for the CPAP mask and tubing.

 
Where to Buy a CPAP Machine and Equipment

Generally speaking, when your doctors diagnoses you as having sleep apnea and recommends the use of CPAP to treat your sleeping disorder, they will then connect you with a home health company which can help supply you with the machine and all necessary equipment. 

The home health company will most likely deliver the machine and its components to your home and instruct you on how to properly use the machine, as well as how to properly fit the mask and connect all of the components. Another option is to try and find a properly maintained and cared for used cpap machine

Still, if you are unsatisfied with the machine or any of the components, then you can find replacement parts and different masks on most online shopping sites such as Amazon. Also, the home health company will most likely not provide you with a CPAP pillow, so it will be necessary to purchase this on your own if you find that it is necessary. 

You could also decide that you want to purchase everything yourself, in which case you have a ton of options for the components. However, your options for the actual machine itself will be much more limited. Still, there are a few good ones available online. 

cpap machinesThe best CPAP machine that we have found online is the Sleepstyle 200 family of machines. With this machine, you have two different options- the HC231 model, which is a basic machine, and the HC233 model which is a fully integrated CPAP unit featuring heated or cooled humidification through means of a cpap humidifier

With the standard model, you also have the option to convert it to an integrated unit with a conversion kit. The Sleepstyle 200 machines cost around $500, which is a fairly good price for this type of machine, as some can cost more than double that. Overall, it is quite a good CPAP unit and comes highly recommended by doctors.

Other Treatment Alternatives to CPAP

Basically, if you have been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, there are almost no other treatment options available and you will need to use CPAP every night for the rest of your life in order to overcome your sleeping disorder. However, for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea, you may try one of the other over the counter cpap alternatives such as anti snoring mouth guards or snoring chin straps, or you could also undergo several different surgical procedures for sleep apnea.


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