Last updated: January 30th, 2017
Sleep apnea is an increasingly common sleep disorder affecting millions of people in the world. This condition either causes you to stop breathing during the night or causes very shallow breathing. Signs of sleep apnea include snoring loud, your breathing stops, or you choke as you are trying to inhale. This is a result of the relaxing of the muscles of the upper airway, especially if you sleep on your back. Obstructive sleep apnea may cause drowsiness throughout the day, high blood pressure, depression, pre-diabetes conditions, heart damage, and stroke. This is a very serious medical condition that needs to be treated in a timely manner. There are different ways to treat sleep apnea, including prescriptions, surgery, and sleep apnea machines. This article will explain what a sleep apnea machine is.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Before knowing if a sleep apnea machine is right for you, view the following symptoms of sleep apnea. If you meet several of these, you will want to discuss this with your primary care physician.
- You stop breathing unnaturally while sleeping (typically witnessed by your sleeping partner)
- You wake up gasping for air
- You snore very loudly
- You have unnatural sounding snoring (more guttural noises)
- You experience a feeling of brain "fogginess"
- You have difficulty concentrating
- You experience excessive and consistent daytime drowsiness
- You feel like you consistently get poor sleep
- You have constant headaches
- You are experiencing memory loss
- You feel irritable
If you have several of the described symptoms, there is a chance that you will be referred to a sleep study center to undergo testing. Most patients who are diagnosed with sleep apnea are prescribed a CPAP machine, the most common sleep apnea machine.
Risk Factors For Sleep Apnea
If you're still not sure if you should talk to your doctor, you should take note of the common risk factors for people diagnosed with sleep apnea:
- Excess weight – overweight people are more likely to be diagnosed with sleep apnea
- Large neck – if you have a large neck (17 inches + for men, and 16 inches + for women), you are at risk because there is more soft tissue in your neck
- Gender - males are at higher risk
- Age - Middle-aged people are at higher risk
- Genetics - If a direct family member such as your father has sleep apnea, you're at a far greater risk
CPAP is one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea. It’s proven that this is one of the most effective treatments. It pushes the air into the throat to keep it from collapsing during the night, maintaining consistent breathing. The parameters are adjustable, so you can control the air pressure and other settings to suit your needs.
Features On Sleep Apnea Machines
- Humidifier – This increases the air moisture. Some patients often complain about mouth dryness after using a CPAP machine. This part is optional, and you don’t need to use it, but it can improve comfort and increase compliance.
- CPAP masks – There are a few types of masks. Some models cover just your nose, some are full face masks, and others are just in your nostrils, called nasal pillows. The Eson Nasal Mask is one of the best CPAP masks.
- CPAP Hoses - Depending on your machine's capability, you can get slim hose lines, or heated hose lines. Heated CPAP hoses improve comfort and reduce the chance of rainout.
Additonal Sleep Apnea Machine Info
The pressure is measured in cm/H2O. The best pressure is determined by a doctor or medical technician who is monitoring your sleep process. Be sure to discuss with your doctor whether you should do a sleep study.
As with many other medical treatments, CPAP therapy can have minor side effects. The most common side effects are the skin irritation as a result of the constant pressure. If that happens, you should replace the mask to find one with a better fit, or adjust it for a better fit. Another side effect is the dryness of the nose, mouth, and throat. This problem can be solved by using an appropriate humidifier that adds moisture to the air.
There are a few companies that manufacture CPAP machines, and you can buy from a Durable Medical Equipment supplier that specializes in medical equipment.
If you have some of the previously-described symptoms, you should visit your family doctor to discuss the situation. When the problem is detected, it's easy to treat with the right sleep apnea machine. CPAP therapy is one of the most common and most efficient treatments for OSA. Using a CPAP device may be frustrating in the beginning, but it is very important to be patient because the treatment will allow you to live a healthier life. Remember, it may take more time until the results are visible. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or concerns.