There are millions of individuals across the world that suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) each year. It is estimated that in Canada alone there are over 5.4 million Sleep Apnea patients. For many of these individuals, upon diagnosis, they are prescribed with CPAP therapy as a course of treatment.
This form of treatment for OSA has long been considered the golden standard for treating this sleep disorder. Why is that? Due to the overwhelming results that sleep specialists and physicians have seen in patients with moderate to severe OSA, many experts are confident that therapy using various forms of PAP equipment will be effective in changing the lifestyle of those that suffer from this sleep disorder.
In order to understand how OSA can be treated, you first need to get a grasp of what this therapy actually is.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy was invented in the early 1980s by Dr. Colin Sullivan. This treatment aims to alleviate the fundamental physiological failure that causes Sleep Apnea events, i.e. obstruction of the airway passage.
This is achieved by delivering a prescribed level of continuous positive airway pressure into the patient’s airway through the use of CPAP equipment. This equipment includes a CPAP machine which provides the airway pressure and a CPAP mask that covers both the mouth and nose. The mask is attached to the machine via tubing allowing oxygen to easily be delivered to the patient - keeping their airways open during the night.
As mentioned above, many patients have noticed a significant improvement in their sleep quality after only a few weeks of CPAP therapy marking it as one of the most successful forms of treatment for Sleep Apnea.
Interesting fact: Oftentimes the term CPAP can be used as an umbrella term for other forms of PAP therapy such as BiPAP and APAP.
There are many telling signs when an individual is suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea symptoms and if you’ve just been prescribed CPAP therapy as a course of your treatment, you may be wondering how it can treat them.
As a recap, we’ve listed some of the most common OSA symptoms that you may experience:
Loud & frequent snoring
Pauses in breathing
Choking or gasping sounds
But how exactly does this form of Obstructive Sleep Apnea treatment work to decrease these symptoms so that patients can achieve a good night’s rest? The answer is simple.
At the core of OSA is the fact that soft tissue in the throat relaxes during sleep causing a blockage in the airway passage. When this happens, the blood oxygen levels in the body begin to decrease. A signal is then sent to the brain that not enough oxygen is entering the lungs that cause the body to jerk awake suddenly.
If left untreated, the continuous decreases in oxygen levels in the body can have long-lasting effects on the patient’s body that not only increases their risk of developing other conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. It also can reduce cognitive abilities and alter the physiological shape of the brain.
When compliant with CPAP therapy on a nightly basis, the deliverance of positive airway pressure makes sure that OSA patients can continue to breathe normally throughout the night. Due to this, oxygen levels in the lungs and blood stay consistent improving energy levels, concentration and sleep quality.
CPAP therapy certainly has helped to improve the sleep pattern of those who have suffered from disrupted sleep as a result of OSA. However, there are vital steps that you need to take before you can get started with this form of Obstructive Sleep Apnea treatment.
First, you will need to be diagnosed by a sleep specialist. These experts carry out sleep studies called a polysomnography sleep test. This test is carried out in a sleep clinic and records specific physical activities that you make while you sleep. Based on the results of this sleep study, a sleep specialist will be able to determine the severity of your OSA and prescribe the right course of treatment.
Next, you will be prescribed a CPAP machine. Based on your results, your sleep specialist will prescribe you with the machine type that is best suited to treating your symptoms. Using this information, you can then go to a CPAP vendor who will help you with your purchase.
Similarly, you will need a CPAP mask. Many different factors must be taken into consideration here such as your facial features and preferred sleeping position. The good news is that CPAP equipment experts like ours here at Monster CPAP can help guide you through our catalogue of masks to help you find the one that will suit you best.
After this, you are fully set and on your way to improving your quality of life with Sleep Apnea therapy. Are you a complete newbie to CPAP therapy and have questions? Feel free to reach out to us and we’ll do our best to help you.