If you have been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, then your doctor might prescribe CPAP therapy for treatment.
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, and is basically a type of treatment that involves wearing a mask that is hooked up to a CPAP machine. This machine creates positive airway pressure while you sleep, and the mask helps to keep it all sealed within your respiratory system.
This helps to stop snoring and OSA because the positive airway pressure pushes back on the lining of the soft palate, which is what causes snoring and sleep apnea.
All things considered, CPAP therapy is actually pretty effective for helping those who suffer from OSA. But it is not altogether simple, and there are a few things that anyone thinking of using it should know.
So with that in mind, here is some of the basic information that you will need to know about breathing masks for snoring.
CPAP machines are set at a specific pressure, and push air through a tube to your mask, which then makes its way into your respiratory system. The actual pressure used must be carefully calculated and adjusted by your doctor after you have undergone a sleep study, though there are also some newer ‘auto-adjusting’ CPAP machines that make it easier for a person to choose their own pressure.
Generally speaking, CPAP is not necessarily a ‘popular’ therapy for OSA. Wearing a breathing mask for snoring while you sleep is not necessarily anyone’s idea of a ‘good time.’ It looks a little weird, it makes sleeping more difficult, and it can certainly be a lot to adjust to.
It is important to remember, however, that staying consistent is the key. If you only wear it once in a while, or only wear it for a few hours every night, you will not be able to enjoy the full range of benefits that come from sleeping OSA-free and resolving your sleep debt over time.
So the most important piece of advice that anyone using CPAP should listen to is this… stick with it, and don’t give up!
CPAP Masks Can Be Tricky
No two faces are exactly alike—which can make finding the right mask a bit of a challenge. The problem is that a mask needs to fit perfectly in order to create a good seal… and a good seal is what you need to avoid leaking, which will lower the air pressure and render the device less useful.
A good mask should complement your facial features. It should not need to be ‘overtightened’ to stay sealed. It should, rather, be able to just ‘sit’ on your face and allow the air pressure to create the seal naturally.
There are actually several different types of masks that you can choose from. Discussing the different options with your doctor may be the best way to figure out which one would work the best for you.
CPAP tubing is actually a science all of its own. This is the part of the device that attaches the mask to the machine, and is an essential part of the setup. Tubes come in a range of types and styles that are mostly intended to help the wearer position the tube in the most comfortable manner possible, though there are also other features that you can choose from.
For example, some CPAP tubes are ‘heated’ to help prevent condensation, etc.
You Will Need To Change Parts Frequently
One thing that a lot of people fail to understand is that CPAP requires quite a bit of maintenance to use correctly. Masks come with replaceable parts to help keep costs down, though this also helps to keep them working correctly and to maintain their ‘comfort level.’
Tubing is also supposed to be replaced pretty regularly, as old tubing can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold.
CPAP machines also have filters that need to be replaced regularly. These filters help to take small particles out of the air being sent to your respiratory system, and are a vital part of the system to keep maintained.
One of the most difficult challenges associated with CPAP therapy is staying comfortable while falling asleep. You may need to shop around to find the right pillow, as making a mask work with your pillow can be difficult. Buying a quality tube that is long enough will also make a big difference.
A lot of people try to find ways to ‘drape’ the tubing overhead instead of laying it next to them, as this is said to offer a greater freedom of movement. But once again, the experience is different from person to person.
The most important thing to remember is that you need to commit to using it every night if you really want to see long-term, positive results with CPAP therapy.
For best CPAP machine alternatives see this post.