What is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine?

A common treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine or CPAP. Sleep Apnea is a condition when the tongue, soft pallet and throat muscles relax too much and cause an obstruction in the airway, and causes as loud snoring or waking up choking and gasping for air. A CPAP combats this issue by forcing constant pressurized air through the nose to keep the airways open. The machine connects to a mask through hoses that allow the air to pass through your nose while you sleep.

There are  a few types of PAP devices and while CPAP is the most common, there are also:

  • APAP

Common Questions about CPAP

How soon will I feel the effects of wearing my CPAP machine?

You can feel the effects immediately but most results take about 2 weeks. If there is no improvement in daytime sleepiness after a month, you should consult your Baptist Health sleep physician for a follow-up to discuss further treatment options or to have your mask adjusted for a better fit (sometimes fit can cause a reduction in air flow and effect treatment).

Will I have more trouble sleeping wearing a mask than without?

A well-fitting mask should provide you with a better sleep than without. While it takes some getting used to, once you have developed the habit for wearing your mask each time you sleep (even for naps), you should have no problem falling and staying asleep. Without the mask, you could be waking up hundreds of times so it is definitely improve sleep due to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

What are some common problems associated with wearing a CPAP?

Some common problems that are associated with wearing a CPAP mask/using a CPAP machine are:

  • Dry mouth/throat, congestion, runny nose, etc.: Using a machine with humidified air can relieve these symptoms.
  • Mask will not stay on all night: An ill-fitting mask or improper mask type can result in the mask coming off during the night. There are certain masks for those who move around a lot or are side sleepers to minimize the chances of the mask coming off during sleep. There is even a pillow for side sleepers to help keep a tight seal on the mask.
  • Machine is too noisy and bothers my partner or me: Most machines are nearly silent but if you or your partner are sensitive to noise, you can try earplugs. Ensuring the filters are clean can also make sure a low level of noise output is maintained on your machine.
  • Water is collecting in the tubing: Condensation can occur in the tubes of your machine when the air outside the machine is cooler than inside. An inexpensive cover can be purchased to prevent this condensation from collecting in the CPAP tubes.
  • My water chamber has a white or pink film: The water chamber of your machine should be cleaned each day. Remove the excess water each morning and let dry completely during the day. Fill again each night with distilled water and to combat bacteria growth or a white or pink film, soak a vinegar/water solution for an hour and rinse with clean tap water.

Our physicians can recommend the correct CPAP machine for you.

Appointments can be made to speak with any of our physicians by calling the sleep lab, however you may need a referral to have a study or other tests performed.

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