There are several different methods of treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and the most suitable option for each patient depends upon several factors.
OSA is a breathing disorder that most often occurs during sleep. It is caused by the collapse of the upper airway resulting in the interruption of breathing. In severe cases, this can lead to death. OSA affects millions of people worldwide and it is quite prevalent in the obese population.
The standard treatment for OSA is mouth-piece respiration, which maintains continuous positive pressure in the airway during sleep. Unfortunately, this treatment is not suitable for all patients. For example, individuals with diabetes may experience a lot of nerve damage in the mouth which causes the collapse of the airway during sleep, thus rendering the treatment ineffective. In these cases, mechanical ventilation is the recommended treatment. In some instances, surgeons may have to reroute the nasal airway which was blocked by swollen tissue during wakefulness. This is a dangerous and highly invasive procedure, which often results in severe complications. Hence, the need to find an alternative to this treatment. In recent years, a lot of research has gone into trying to find an alternative that avoids these complications. One of the most promising options is the use of CPAP for treatment of OSA.
With CPAP, a tube is placed in the nose while the patient sleeps. This tube delivers steadily pressured air into the nasal cavities during sleep, maintaining the airway in a patent state. Studies have shown that CPAP improves OSA and reduces the risk of sudden death in individuals with the condition. Moreover, because the nose is always protected from drying by the CPAP machine, it may prevent and reduce the occurrence of certain breathing related illnesses. Thus, CPAP is seen as a useful and safe treatment for OSA, providing relief to many people who suffer from the condition. Due to its safety and effectiveness, the medical community has largely come to regard CPAP as a first line of defense against OSA. In fact, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) has issued a clinical warning regarding the dangers of sleep apnea and suggests that CPAP be used in treating the condition. Furthermore, the FDA has approved the use of CPAP for treatment of OSA.
However, despite the usefulness of CPAP for treatment of OSA, there are several things that you should know and consider before you start using the device. First and foremost, you should ensure that you are using a true CPAP machine and not an auto-titrating one, which adjusts the pressure of the treatment based on the patient’s breathing pattern. An auto-titrating CPAP machine can cause numerous issues, including damage to the lungs and heart. In addition, you should determine what type and size of mask will be suitable for you. Remember that, although you are not likely to experience any problems with the use of a standard mask, you may need a customized one if you have large facial features or if you sleep with your head elevated. In these cases, you may need a custom-made mask to ensure that the tube is properly aligned with the nose.
Apart from the mask, you should also consider what type of tubing will be suitable for you. In general, thicker and stronger tubing is preferred, as it lessens the chances of leakage. Moreover, you should use only high-quality tube and valve materials, as these are the key components that will affect the quality of your sleep. In addition, the length of the tubing should be such that it does not reach your lungs during inhalation or your stomach during exhalation. This can cause serious complications. For example, if you are using a long tube, then the increased volume in your lungs will cause your stomach to expand which may lead to choking or asphyxiation. Hence, ensure that the length of the tube is neither too long nor too short. Furthermore, you should not kink or otherwise damage the tube during normal use. Doing this can cause serious leakage, which in turn may result in serious health issues. So, take care of the tube and it will take care of you.
Does CPAP Help You Lose Weight?
Yes, it does. The positive pressure created by the CPAP device helps prevent the organs from collapsing, allowing the patient to breathe normally while asleep. As a result, the patient usually experiences an improvement in quality of life and is able to lose a considerable amount of weight as compared to when they were suffering from sleep apnea. For example, studies have shown a 16.9 pound (7.6 kg) reduction in body mass index (BMI) in individuals with sleep apnea who were on CPAP therapy for 3 months. Moreover, it has been observed that obese patients who used CPAP for 3 months lost 7.8 pounds (3.6 kg) more than those who used masks without CPAP. This is because the positive pressure created by the CPAP prevents the organs from collapsing, allowing the patient to breathe normally while asleep.
However, it is important to note that this is not always the case. For example, if you are using a CPAP device with an automatic adjustment mechanism, then you should expect some fluctuations in results as the pressure of the treatment will change based on your breathing pattern. In these instances, you may need to try a few different models before you find one that provides the most suitable pressure for you.
In addition, you should also consider that not all individuals who suffer from sleep apnea will experience an improvement in quality of life or be able to shed off the excess weight, regardless of whether they use CPAP or not. This is due to the fact that the condition may be caused by a structural problem with the nasal cavities which precludes them from filling up with adequate amounts of oxygen while asleep. In these cases, other treatments, such as surgical intervention, may be the best option. However, before you make any such decisions, you must first consult with your doctor or other healthcare provider.
Is It Safe To Use CPAP During Pregnancy?
Yes, it is. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deems that CPAP is safe to use during pregnancy, provided that the pressure does not exceed the recommended range of 10 to 15 cmH2O. In other words, as long as you are not exceeding the recommended pressure, then it is considered safe to use during pregnancy. In these cases, the mother usually utilizes the device when she is not feeling particularly breathable, such as when sleeping while lying down or when feeling unwell. Moreover, it has been observed that infants who are born to mothers who use CPAP while pregnant experience better respiration and have fewer episodes of apnea and choking compared to those who are not.
However, it is still recommended that mothers who suffer from the condition seek medical help as soon as they begin experiencing problems, as this may be the case during pregnancy. This is especially so if they are using a CPAP device with an automatic pressure adjustment mechanism, as the pressure may increase to dangerous levels if these mechanisms are not handled properly. In these cases, the mother may need to undergo an increase in the pressure of the treatment in order to achieve the desired results for the baby’s health.
Does It Come With Any Side Effects?
Usually, when a new device is introduced to the market, it is accompanied by a host of warnings and alerts regarding its potential side effects. In the case of CPAP, this is because it is a relatively new treatment for OSA and the medical community does not know a lot about it. Nevertheless, as it relates to safety, there are no major concerns with the use of CPAP. In fact, it has been observed that the treatment is relatively safe and well-tolerated by most patients, especially when used in conjunction with other OSA therapies, such as behavioral therapy. Moreover, as it relates to efficacy, multiple studies have shown that CPAP is quite effective in treating OSA and in reducing the risk of sudden death in patients with the condition. One such study was the Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Continous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) trial, which consisted of a double-blind, randomized, crossover comparison of CPAP (with Auto-titration) versus a sham device (without Auto-titration). The primary outcome measure in this trial was the Apnea-hipopnea index (AHI), which is the number of apneas and hypopneas experienced per hour of sleep. The trial was conducted at 12 centers in North America and Europe. After a 3-month run-in period, the participants were randomized to one of the two treatment groups and the study period was extended to 6 months. This trial was published in 2007 and several hundred patients participated. The results of this trial showed that: