What is CPAP?

CPAP – abbreviated as (Continuous positive airway pressure)

CPAP is the primary most effective treatment for all sleep apnea, it was developed in 1980 by an Australian physician in Sydney, Australia. The treatment demonstrates to be fully effective at eliminating obstructive sleep apnea.

Airway collapse is indeed extremely common and therefore seen in people who have breathing problems such as sleep apnea. A device including a machine and hose are connected to a mouth or nose mask to aid you to breathe while asleep.

How does CPAP work?

A patient would wear a lightweight mask around their mouth and nose (or just the nose) which is then attached to a machine which provides mild purified air pressure (greater than atmospheric pressure) to keep the airways open.

CPAP is a type of positive airway pressure. Airflow is directed into the airway to ensure a continuous level of pressure to keep the airway open. The air delivered by the CPAP allows the airways to stay patent and prevents them from collapsing.

This mask is worn while the patient is asleep. Consultation with a sleep technician will establish the correct settings of the machine to the individual patient. As you sleep the airstream from the CPAP machine pushes against any blockages allowing the opening of the airways in order for the lungs to receive adequate oxygen. As the air flow is consistent and not blocked your breathing will not pause, which will ensure a good night sleep.

The CPAP treatment therapy can result in a significant improvement in just days although this can vary on each patient. Generally therapy is achieved in around 2 weeks.

Different Masks are available for the CPAP treatment to alleviate and maintain comfort while you sleep.

Nasal pillow mask – A mask which has a small cushion which supports the nostril area, very effective for people that wear glasses or that have large amounts of facial hair.

Nasal mask – Completely cushioned that covers the nose area, excellent if the patient moves around during their sleep, delivering a high pressure airstream.

Full mask – A triangular shaped mask which covers both the mouth and nose. This tends to be prescribed if a patient breathes through their mouth whilst asleep or has blockages in their nose, such as a cold or fever.

What effects does CPAP have ?

CPAP is notoriously an adjustment treatment therapy. The non-invasive treatment can be extremely effective and has been proved to be able to deliver and promote better sleep patterns.

The following describe the potential of this therapy in brief.

  • Airways opened during sleep
  • The reduction of snoring and noise
  • May reduce blood glucose and cholesterol
  • Improved lower Blood pressure
  • Quality of sleep
  • Better concentration and focus
  • Reduces risk of illness and serious cardiac problems.
  • Studies show 8% increase after 1st night use & 50 % within the 1st year.
  • Less daytime sleepiness

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP therapy may be used to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. Our equipment is provided by Philips Healthcare, who will also provide a remote support service for the early months of your treatment. The Sleep Support Team at Philips will contact you to arrange when and where you want them to deliver the device. It will come with all the instructions. You will have access to the Sleep Support Team via 0800 652 0303 to help with set-up if necessary and to advise on ongoing use.

The machine is automatic. It senses when you are starting to block off your airway and increases the pressure so as to splint the breathing passage open. When you are first getting used to this it might cause you to wake up. If this happens then push the ramp button (it has a triangle on it) and the pressure returns to normal. Once you have got used to CPAP this won’t be an issue.

The people who do well on CPAP use it every night. In this way the body gets used to it and it simply becomes part of the routine of going to bed. As a minimum you will should use it for 4 hours a night on 70% of nights. However, the more you use it the better. 

DreamMapper is an app you can download. This allows your device to connect to the CPAP machine via bluetooth and you can see your own treatment data. 

How to set up Philips DreamStation…

DreamStation with humidifier.

DreamStation without humidifier.

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