CPAP Machine Benefits: Living With Sleep Apnea
Do you ever wake up gasping for air? If so, you might be living with sleep apnea. Poor sleep and breathing interruptions are common symptoms, but most can be remedied with the help of a CPAP machine. Read on to learn more about the condition, CPAP machine benefits, and other treatment options that can provide a good night's sleep.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleeping disorders is an extreme form of sleep deprivation that affects 30 million Americans.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. This under-recognized and undiagnosed condition leads to partial or complete closure of the upper airway during sleep.
As the normal airflow is disrupted, you struggle to breathe, and repeatedly stop breathing throughout the night. This can happen hundreds of times a night without you realizing it. If you do wake up throughout the night, you may actually mistake your sleep apnea for insomnia.
But OSA doesn't only impact your nights. It's also one of the leading causes of daytime sleepiness. Unsurprisingly, sleep deprivation can cause you to fall asleep while driving, at work, or on public transportation.
Obstructive sleep apnea symptoms include:
- Dry mouth
- Loud snoring
- Morning headaches
- Daytime fatigue
- Daytime sleepiness
Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can lead to serious health conditions. These include congestive heart failure, memory loss, and insulin resistance. Left untreated, the condition can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure. Severe sleep apnea can even lead to fatalities.
It's estimated that 2-9 percent of adults suffer from sleep apnea. However, the condition is four times more common among men, and seven times more common among obese people. The condition is also more prevalent in Hispanic, Black, and Asian populations.
What is a CPAP Machine?
In cases of sleep apnea, the soft tissues of the throat collapse during sleep. This is known as prolapsing soft palate. Since this blocks the upper airway, you're likely to choke, snore, cough or gasp in your sleep. In severe cases, you stop breathing altogether.
But there's hope for people struggling with the condition. It's called a CPAP machine. The acronym stands for "continuous positive airway pressure" and it helps people breathe easily throughout the night. Today the machine remains the most common treatment for sleep apnea.
How it Works
The CPAP device delivers a constant flow of pressurized air to keep your airways open so you can breathe normally, and sleep better.
Known as CPAP therapy, CPAP machines work by pushing air into the back of your throat. This small machine comes with flexible tubing and a nasal mask or nasal pillow mask, which go over your mouth, nose, or both.
The tubing connects the CPAP machine to the mask, and it's long enough for you to move around in bed. The motor of the machine works by blowing air through the tube into the face mask.
Most CPAP machines are lightweight, and about the size of a tissue box. But if sleeping with a machine sounds strange, then the benefits of CPAP may change your mind.
CPAP Machines: Benefits
Individuals with sleep apnea are pretty open to any treatment that can help them breathe well and sleep better at night. CPAP machines have become increasingly popular because of the health benefits they provide to people suffering from the condition. Let's take a closer look at the benefits of CPAP therapy.
Prevents Heart Disease
You probably already know that high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, but did you know that using a CPAP machine can prevent heart disease? It works by keeping your blood pressure under control and protecting you from irregular heartbeats. If left untreated, your heart remains at risk of completely shutting down from a lack of oxygen.
Wards Off Diabetes
We learned earlier that obstructive sleep apnea can cause insulin resistance. This is because there's a large overlap between diabetes and sleep apnea. It's common for a person with one of these conditions to develop the other.
But there's hope for people who have diabetes, sleep apnea, or both. Since untreated sleep apnea increases glucose intolerance, CPAP therapy can help improve blood glucose levels.
As continuous positive airway pressure helps you sleep better, studies show that CPAP therapy can improve insulin sensitivity.
Helps With Weight Loss
Can a machine that helps you breathe and get better sleep also help you lose weight? Apparently, yes! According to a study, obese adults with OSA who follow a strict diet can lose additional weight on a CPAP machine.
The study, which lasted 16 weeks, showed that patients on CPAP lost 27 pounds. That's six pounds more than the patients in the study who did not use the machine. While the CPAP machine won't replace the importance of physical exercise, it's worth noting this benefit.
Decreases Your Risk Of Getting Into a Car Accident
Without restful nights, you are more tired during the day and have less focus. This is why daytime sleepiness is common in people with sleep apnea.
Since a CPAP device can help you sleep throughout the night, your daytime sleepiness decreases. As you can imagine, having more energy, and being more alert can significantly reduce your risk of getting into a car accident.
Helps You Focus Better When Awake
How much more productive would you be during the day if you had more focus? With a good night's sleep, you'll be able to really concentrate on each task at hand and achieve better results.
While CPAP therapy doesn't make you more focused, it allows you to sleep better. And with quality sleep comes more focus.
The benefits of a CPAP machine aren't only seen, but also heard! Snoring is normally caused by the narrowing of the passageways during sleep. Loud and chronic snoring is the hallmark of obstructive sleep apnea.
But loud snoring doesn't only disrupt your sleep. It also interrupts sleep on part of your bed partner, which can lead to relationship problems.
Thankfully, CPAP therapy is a common and effective treatment for loud snoring. Since CPAP gives you a constant flow of oxygen, it keeps your airways open. This stops the vibrations that cause excessive snoring.
Makes You More Emotionally Stable
You know better than anyone how a poor night's sleep makes you moody, more irritable, and anxious. It's not your fault, it's what sleep deprivation does. Untreated sleep apnea can also cause depression.
If your sleep apnea is making you depressed or cranky, a CPAP machine can restore good sleep. Studies show that CPAP machines reduce depression symptoms, and this can no doubt help you develop emotional stability.
Disadvantages of CPAP Machines
Finding the right treatment options can be challenging when living with sleep apnea. While CPAP machines have their benefits, they have their downsides, too. Let's see what common CPAP machine side effects are, and what other treatment options are available for you.
Difficulty Falling Asleep
One of the most common complaints about CPAP machines is that it can be difficult to fall asleep. This may sound counterproductive but this is what sleeping with a machine does. For many people, it can be hard to fall asleep wearing the CPAP masks or a tube attached to them.
Your Partner Might Not Like It
While your bed partner will be happy about the health benefits of CPAP, they might not be very happy about having a machine in the bedroom. While effective, these devices are fairly noisy. Besides, three is a crowd, and a CPAP machine can make your partner feel emotionally distant or unwanted.
They Can Be Uncomfortable
CPAP devices can make many people uncomfortable as they're not used to sleeping strapped to a machine. This is why some people report feeling claustrophobic wearing nasal pillows or a face mask. Even if you use the correct pressure settings, the feeling of breathing pressurized air can be uncomfortable. It's not uncommon for some people to feel like they're suffocating.
They Can Cause Dry Nose
The nasal airway is extremely vascular, and the constant cold air pressure of CPAP can cause a dry nose. When the airways lose moisture due to the gas flow of CPAP therapy, you can get a dry nose, mouth, and throat.
... And Congestion
Some CPAP users also experience nasal congestion. This can be caused by several reasons. For example, it's common to have nasal congestion due to dry air from the machine or a leaky mask. Though, it is also possible that your nasal irritation could be due to allergies, colds, or sinus problems.
They Can Irritate The Skin
Another disadvantage to keep in mind is that CPAP machines can cause skin irritation. In particular, if you have sensitive skin. This can happen if your mask is too tight. A tight mask will press on your skin, and trap sweat as well as oil your skin produces.
No one likes noise, especially when trying to sleep. Since CPAP devices can be fairly noisy, it can be hard for you and others in the room to fall asleep. This can often be due to dirty air filters, or due to the machine being faulty. If your need to sleep without stopping to breathe is greater than the noise the machine makes, then the noise of a CPAP machine is something you can live with.
Types of CPAP Machines
With the health benefits as well as disadvantages out of the way, you may want to know about the different types of CPAP machines. After all, variety is key! So, let's take a better look at the different options available.
The first type is the standard CPAP machine. This machine delivers air pressure at a pre-set rate by a medical provider. Since it delivers a continuous pressure level of air throughout the night, it has the minimum amount of air pressure to keep airways open.
Automatic positive airway pressure or APAP provides a different therapy than the standard CPAP machine. APAP is designed to meet each person's breathing needs by, you guessed it, automatically adjusting pressure. As we move in and out of different stages of sleep, our breathing changes. The APAP machine, therefore, delivers only the amount of pressure necessary at any given moment.
Last up, we have bilevel positive airway pressure or BiPAP. This therapy offers varying pressure instead of consistent air pressure like the standard CPAP. For some people, this varying pressure is better as they don't have to continuously exhale. As you inhale, for example, the BiPAP offers more air pressure. And as you exhale, the machine offers less pressure.
Fall Asleep Fast With Sandland Sleep
Sleep apnea can have serious implications on your overall health. Whether it's mild or more obstructive, it's important to find the right kind of treatment for you.
In addition to CPAP therapy, you can secure quality rest with Sandland Sleep. With all-natural ingredients, our all-natural sleep supplements do more than help you fall asleep. They also upgrade the duration and quality of your sleep.
Formulated with plant extracts such as peppermint, low-dose melatonin, and all-natural hemp extract, our products work seamlessly by sending natural signals to your body when it's time to sleep. And just like that, you can get the deep sleep you deserve.
According to research, you should use your CPAP machine for 7 hours. This is the minimum amount recommended to reduce the risks associated with obstructive sleep apnea.
There are other alternatives to a CPAP machine including oral appliances, nasal surgery, Somnoplasty, etc. Don't forget that a healthy lifestyle - no smoking, a clean diet that helps you maintain a healthy weight, and avoiding alcohol - can also help treat sleep apnea.
In most cases, the majority of insurance plans cover the costs of CPAP machines and any other equipment related to them. Different insurance providers have different standards so it's worth doing your research.