If you are reading this blog, you, a friend, or your partner may be suffering from a sleep disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA. OSA is a condition that affects about 22 million Americans, and most don’t even know that they even have it.
Perhaps you have heard about Obstructive Sleep Apnea, but don’t know exactly what it is, or maybe you’ve heard about a treatment called a CPAP machine, but would like to know how it works. At Gingras Sleep Medicine we are frequently asked about CPAP therapy, so we’ve prepared this guide for our patients to explain what a CPAP is, how it works, and most importantly, how it can save your life.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea? What Treats it?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea, and it occurs when the muscles in your throat relax and block or obstruct your airway during sleep, causing your breathing to be repeatedly interrupted. When you stop breathing during sleep, OSA may cause your chest and diaphragm muscles to work hard to open your obstructed airway, causing excessive snoring or gasping for air. While these disturbances in your sleep may annoy you or your partner, they could ultimately save your life by drawing your attention to a potentially life-threatening condition.
The CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy) machine is a device and form of therapy used to help people experiencing severe breathing problems due to their Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
How Does A CPAP Machine Work?
The CPAP machine delivers pressurized air into your nose, or into your nose and mouth, in order to keep your airway from collapsing and being obstructed, and to prevent these repeated episodes of apnea (stopped breathing). A mask worn on your face will create airflow, blowing gentle air pressure to keep your airway open while you are asleep. It may take a bit to get used to, and you may need to adjust your mask or try more than one mask before you find the one that works best for you, but properly treating OAS can save your life in the long run, and allow you to have a much better quality of life.
After an examination, your doctor may order a sleep study (Polysomnogram) to determine whether you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OAS). The results of your testing will allow your sleep specialist to assess the severity of your sleep apnea, and determine the best treatment options for you. If you need a CPAP machine, your sleep specialist will answer any specific questions you may have.
Call Gingras Sleep Medicine at (704) 944-0562 to learn more about the CPAP machine and what it can do for you, or to schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist. Request an online appointment here.