A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or Sleep Apnea machine, is something that is typically used by those who have problems breathing especially at night. This means those with sleep apnea, the temporary cessation of breathing caused by tissue around the mouth and neck collapsing in the mouth’s airway, cutting off the oxygen during sleep. Also, those with multiple sclerosis, ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, severe asthma, or any other condition that impairs their lung function and breathing at night may be prescribed the use of a CPAP machine. What is this device and how does it work?
The term Continuous Positive Airway Pressure gives the first clue as to what a CPAP machine is and how it works. Using a slight amount of pressure this machine forces or delivers a positive flow of oxygen to a person’s nose and mouth throughout the night. While the word “pressure” might seem a bit frightening, the pressure is adjusted for each patient’s individual physical needs and is typically only enough to push the oxygen into his or her system; there’s no need to think that this is going to over-inflate your lungs or cause damage in any way. A CPAP machine operates by having a mask that resembles the oxygen masks you see in hospitals and doctor’s offices connected by tubes to the body of the machine. A patient slips this mask over his or her nose and mouth and this allows them to continue breathing throughout the night.
Some are a bit put off or hesitant to use the CPAP machine when it is first recommended to them because of how bulky the mask looks. In truth, it might be a bit uncomfortable at first but many who use this machine report being very accustomed to it after only a few nights, and the relief they get from the use of the CPAP machine far outweighs the slight discomfort they feel.
It’s important to realize that you should not use a CPAP machine unless you’ve been advised to do so by your doctor. There are many places online that sell these machines without needing a doctor’s note or prescription, but using an incorrect setting for its pressure can irritate your lungs at night. You also don’t want to rely on a CPAP machine if instead you should be concentrating on treating a certain medical condition or on losing weight or whatever else may be causing your breathing problems.