Have you been told by your doctor that you have sleep apnea and would benefit from a CPAP machine? A growing number of Americans use this breathing aid to get a restful night’s sleep and improve their overall health.
If you are new to CPAP, what should you know before you start using one? Here are a few essentials to make a great start.
What Is a CPAP Machine?
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. A mask fits over your nose (and possibly mouth) at night, blowing air in a continuous stream into your respiratory system to keep your airway open and functioning well.
As the airway is kept open while you sleep, your brain and other systems receive better oxygenation. This leads to fewer breathing difficulties at night and a much more restful sleep. It may also boost concentration, weight loss, memory, and mood.
How Is a CPAP Machine Monitored?
Your doctor, often a pulmonary specialist, has probably already done a sleep test to determine if you’re having breathing issues at night. If you are, they may recommend you visit a medical equipment company that specializes in respiratory equipment to be fitted with a CPAP machine and mask fitted for comfort and show you how to get started at home. Most modern CPAP devices also show the user data about the quality of their sleep, so you can see if it’s doing its job.
The doctor or the respiratory/CPAP technicians will usually continue to monitor data received from the CPAP machine while you adjust to the equipment. This data tells how much pressure to use in the tube and whether it’s having the desired effect. Monitoring the results of CPAP usage on a regular basis is key to getting the most from your machine a good night’s sleep.
Is Using a CPAP Machine Comfortable?
Like many medical devices, a CPAP mask takes some getting used to. Your CPAP technician will probably recommend the smallest possible head gear — from nasal pillows to a mask over the nose and mouth — for the least impact on your sleep routine.
Try to get used to the CPAP device at first, perhaps using it for short periods during the day so you become accustomed to how it operates. Some people have a harder time adjusting to the continuous stream of air than others.
The key to acclimating to a CPAP mask is diligence, patience, and a positive attitude. You may not be able to wear it all night long at first, so work up to a full night’s sleep. Some people, though, find that their sleep is so improved that they have no problem accommodating the mask or tubes.
What Adjustments Are Possible?
Modern CPAP devices provide a variety of fine adjustments you can make to improve how it works and how it feels. Many masks come with strap configurations to match each person or sleeping style. If one mask or strap bothers you, don’t give up. Ask your CPAP Specialist to fit a new mask with a different configuration.
In addition to the mask, you can also adjust how the machine works. Depending on the type of machine you are using, you may be able to set the device to activate when you place your mask on, or to ramp up the pressure gradually as you fall asleep. These settings help many people alleviate any anxiety over the air pressure.
CPAP devices provide those who suffer obstructive sleep apnea with a chance at a better night’s sleep, better health and a better life. At Corner Home Medical, our goal is to help all our customers find the best fitting medical aids and use them to their best advantage. Get a better night’s sleep with your new CPAP machine today by meeting with our trained medical professionals.