If you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep specialist will likely recommend CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy – it’s the gold standard for treating OSA and some other sleep disorders. CPAP machines are electronic devices that use a connective hose and breathing mask to deliver humidified and pressurized air into the nose. It’s meant to help improve sleep and reduce daytime fatigue. Added benefits include lowering the risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other conditions that are linked to many sleep issues.
Many people are quick to dismiss CPAP therapy, thinking the machine would be too cumbersome, bothersome or uncomfortable. Thankfully in the last 10 years, CPAP technology has improved dramatically, including:
Quieter devices. While some enjoy the white noise that comes from earlier generation CPAP machines, others have likened it to a dull roar. Today’s models are sleek and quiet, making it easier for you – and your partner – to sleep more soundly.
Better fitting face masks. A properly fitting face mask is one of the keys to success with a CPAP machine. Although the traditional triangular mask works well for some patients, others find it confining. Nasal pillows are a great option that seal around the base of the nose using a soft pillow. This headgear is preferred by people who want a less restrictive mask. Further breakthroughs in technology are replacing standard headgear with adhesive strips that adhere to the patient’s nose. Because they aren’t inserted into the nostrils, they’re the least invasive face mask option available today.
Lower pressure options for sensitive patients. Some people who have difficulty with wearing a CPAP report that the amount of pressure delivered by older machines was too much to handle. Patient-specific pressure settings available on some newer models can be carefully adjusted for each patient’s airway and comfort.
Improved portability. In the past, people with sleep apnea had to choose between lugging around a large machine or risking a bad night’s sleep while away from home or traveling. Newer CPAP machines are much smaller, more compact and easily fit in a suitcase, without sacrificing the machine’s quality.
If your sleep study shows you would benefit from CPAP therapy for sleep apnea, you have options. CHI Memorial Sleep Center will work with you to find the right combination of devices and accessories to help you sleep more soundly – and more comfortably – than you thought possible. Call (423) 495-REST (7378) for more information.