How Does a CPAP Machine Work?


Purpose of a CPAP Machine

The CPAP machine is used for patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA occurs when the patient stops breathing during sleep, because the airways close off. The breathing stoppage causes the person to wake up, even without realizing it, causing fatigue, distractibility and irritability. The CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines, keep the airways open during sleep so that breathing is maintained.

How the CPAP Machine Works

When you are getting ready to go to sleep, you will put on a CPAP mask. These can range from full-face masks to nasal masks to prongs inserted into the nose. The mask is connected by a 6-foot tube to the CPAP machine. In the machine, there is a filter to remove some impurities from the air, as well as a tank of distilled water to add humidification to the air. Humidification reduces the irritation of the CPAP air. A chinstrap helps keep the mouth closed so that breathing is done through the nose. When the machine turns on, it provides that continuous stream of air through the nasal passages.

Benefits of a CPAP Machine

The continuous air stream being pumped into the breathing passages prevents them from closing off because of the sleep apnea. It keeps the soft tissues in the back of the throat open. This allows the person to have a more restful sleep, as he is not constantly waking up from the breathing stoppages. The CPAP machine also prevents the apnea from causing long-term side effects, such as hypertension and cardiovascular problems.

How to Get a CPAP Machine

To get a CPAP machine, you must first be diagnosed by a doctor as having sleep apnea. This is done through a sleep study in which your breathing is monitored as you sleep in a clinic. The doctor must then write you a prescription for a CPAP machine. He will also then direct you to local companies that carry machines. Work closely with the company and the medical professionals to determine the best fit for you. Consider trying a rent-to-own option.