Continuous Airway Pressure or CPAP. This is the generally the “solution” most health care providers will recommend as the initial answer to sleep apnea. Most sleep centers will prescribe CPAP if you experience sleep apnea. While the patient is sleeping, the specially designed mask is worn, usually covering the nose and/or mouth. The mask utilizes a pressure feature which sends air through the nasal passages. This increase of oxygen prevents the throat from collapsing during sleep. Eventually, the “apnea” is eliminated during the night and the patient is able to freely breathe.
Additional benefits have been linked to the CPAP as well. When using the mask, snoring is reduced and even prevented altogether. This allows both you and your bed partner a better night’s sleep. The appliance can also decrease other sleep apnea symptoms such as headaches, nasal dryness and irritated eyes. Because this appliance offers a temporary solution only, sufferers must wear the mask each and every night.
If you are seeking CPAP, please email info@SleepDallas.com, and I will get you set up with a sleep physician who can prescribe this for you.
While CPAP is the treatment option that is prescribed most frequently, it is an option equally as unpopular. After extended use of the appliance, a high percentage of patients suggest they actually hate the device. Here’s why:
CPAP has close to a 100% success rate when it’s used as it’s intended and the proper directions are followed. The issue lies in the fact that CPAP is a difficult appliance to commit to. Claustrophobia and mask leak seem to be the 2 largest complaints. A lack of intimacy is another complaint. The majority of people that use the device reportedly wear it for 4 hours (or less) nightly.
There are additional problems related to CPAP. Facial breakouts are more prominent due to the irritation on the skin from the straps of the mechanism. The appliance itself contributes to irritated eyes and nose, dryness of the mouth, sore throat and a runny nose. Not pleasant! Also, patients that use CPAP will encounter problems if they tend to sleep on their stomachs, suffer from allergies or constantly breathe through their mouth. After continued use of the appliance, most patients discover this treatment isn’t working for them and they often find relief from oral appliance therapy.
Common Inquires – Frequently Asked Questions about CPAP
What is CPAP?
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. As you sleep, a machine is used in the prevention of snoring and aids in correcting sleep apnea symptoms.
How does it work?
CPAP forces continuous air flow through your nose. A steady stream of air prevents your airway from collapsing when your muscles relax during sleep. This results in a continuous oxygen level throughout the night.
Can CPAP cure sleep apnea?
No. CPAP will not cure sleep apnea. It’s simply a temporary solution that prevents the suffering of sleep apnea symptoms.
Do I need a prescription for CPAP?
Yes. To purchase a unit you do require a prescription.
Are there different types of PAP machines?
Yes. Three basic types exist:
- CPAP – delivers one continuous level of pressure
- APAP – starts out at a low pressure, senses when you are encountering a sleep apnea episode and increases the pressure to accommodate
- BiPAP – employs an increase in pressure when you inhale and a decrease in pressure when you exhale
Are there alternatives to CPAP?
Yes. Sleep apnea can be modified with a change in certain patient’s diet or lifestyle. Oral appliances – a device used to re-position your jaw and/or tongue - are available. In severe and extreme cases, surgery may be required. Dr. Smith can discuss the various alternatives with you.
Do I have to use CPAP every night?
Yes. To optimize the benefits of CPAP, instructions must be precisely followed. This includes wearing the appliance each and every night. Missing even one night will result in episodes of sleep apnea.
What if I have to travel?
The CPAP machine is able to be relocated. Talk to the airline before flying, to make arrangements or to verify their policy. Plan to make it part of your carry-on luggage as the CPAP machine may be damaged if included in your checked luggage.
If you plan on a camping trip or other travels by car, there are options when it comes to CPAP machines. Certain units can operate with batteries or function when plugged into your car battery.
Will my insurance cover CPAP?
Insurance policies vary from company to company but most will cover CPAP. Because sleep apnea is a critical condition, linked to various health problems, it’s in their best interest to cover this unit as a preventative measure.
If you have sleep apnea ranging from mild to severe OR if you are a heavy snorer, call or email us today. We will help you to manage your sleep apnea with a treatment that is right for you.
Dr. Smith has great compassion and experience in distinguishing and revealing the cause of your sleeplessness. Taking into account a number of aspects - including your symptoms, your age, your gender, your medical history and your current emotional state –Dr. Smith will present you with a full analysis and offer you answers . . . . and the solutions you have been searching for.