Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Information

by : arider

Roughly 45% of adults snore, at the very least occasionally. 25% are regular snorers. Snoring that represents a problem tends to be more likely with overweight people and males, getting steadily worse with age. Towards the back areas of the nose and mouth, if there are any obstructions to the airways, snoring is created.

It has come to light recently that there are long term detrimental health effects from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and also Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). A range of techniques are available with which to combat this problem. One of these methods is known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP.

CPAP is a contraption that moves air into your airways via a purpose built nasal mask. Enough pressure is maintained by the air flow, during your in-breathing, to keep your airways open. Only you do the breathing though, the machine is literally a facilitator! A range of mask types exist, from minimal lightweight masks positioned more around your nose and jaw area, to larger and heavier types, some looking more like a pair of goggles. Most models have a strap that stretches around the head and a pipe that comes from a pressurizing machine to your nose. Accessories like air filters or humidifiers exist. CPAP is currently the most effective non-surgical method of alleviating problematic snoring.

Your local otolaryngologist will advise if CPAP is suitable for you. If it is you can expect to wear it every night. Additionally a change in lifestyle may well be necessary e.g. quitting smoking, starting a new exercise program or loosing weight.

CPAP has been seen to be almost 100% effective at completely reducing OSA/ UARS. Studies do exist where long-term CPAP use has been less effective, around 70%. Some people have been known to find the equipment quite claustrophobic or hard to use at the time of traveling. In these cases surgery has often been decided upon.

CPAP may be the answer to your sleeping problems if:

- Your friends and family are frequently disturbed by your loud snoring
- During the day you are often tired
- You frequently wake up during the night
- Headaches and tiredness is common in the morning
- You have frequent bouts of obstructed breathing whilst asleep

A number of considerations are made regarding lifestyle factors (e.g. cigarettes and alcohol), your cardiovascular condition and your past medical history. In addition your airways will be assessed by a physical and also otorhinolaryngological (throat, nose and ears) examination.

A sleep study will be required, before the CPAP mask is given to you, to set the correct CPAP pressure. Once this final procedure is completed all the appropriate requirements for your condition and usage of CPAP will be understood.