Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

You might already be familiar with the most frequently prescribed treatment for obstructive sleep apnea–Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (“CPAP”)– because millions of people world-wide use the devices/units that provide CPAP.  CPAP has proven to be the most effective therapy for individuals afflicted with obstructive sleep apnea.

CPAP devices provide just enough positive air pressure inside your throat to keep your airway open.  An open airway eliminates snoring and obstructive respiratory events.  Once treated, you will enjoy a much more restful night’s sleep, and so will your sleeping partner.

A CPAP device is simple to use and should be used every night and during naps to achieve the most benefit.  CPAP devices provide pressurized air through masks that cover your nose (nasal masks), soft cushions that are placed inside the nose (“nasal pillows”), or through masks that cover your nose and mouth (“full-face” masks).  Full-face masks are used for individuals who breathe through their nose and mouth or only through their mouth.  Nasal masks are ineffective for nose and mouth breathers because much or all of the air pressure delivered by the CPAP unit escapes through your open mouth instead of going down your throat.  CPAP machines vary in price, so you’ll want to make sure you understand the difference in price and machine features before you purchase a device.

Your Sleep Specialist and the supportive staff at the Center will assist you in using your CPAP device and CPAP interface so that you obtain maximum benefit from use of your CPAP unit.  Some trial and error might be necessary to identify the most effective and comfortable pressure as well as the PAP interface that best suits you.  All-night, every-night, and nap use of CPAP typically results in the personal experience of a noticeable improvement in the quality of your sleep and in your daytime alertness, energy, and mood. Not-infrequently, CPAP also effects improved memory and thinking.

CPAP use can be associated with mild discomfort(s) and side effects.  An irritated nose/throat, air leaking from the CPAP interface and blowing into one’s eyes, a sensation of stomach fullness, and visible indentations/lines on the face (the latter effected by night-long use of a CPAP mask) are among the most frequently-voiced complaints.  These and other side-effects generally can be easily treated/eliminated upon consultation with your Sleep Specialist and the Center’s cadre of highly experienced CPAP technologists.