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What about the CPAP therapy for sleep apnea treatment?

At this time, the most effective treatments for sleep apnea are devices that deliver slightly pressurized air to keep the throat open during the night. There are a number of variations available. The treatment depends on the specific problems causing obstruction and their location. In order to determine the appropriate amount of air pressure, the patient usually needs to be monitored in a sleep laboratory. Although this may require only one night, patients may need to be retested if

they do not experience improved daytime alertness.

CPAP, the more common of the three therapy modes, usually is administered at bedtime through a nasal or facial mask held in place by Velcro straps around the patient's head. The mask is connected by a tube to a small air compressor about the size of a shoe box. The CPAP machine sends air under pressure through the tube into the mask, where it imparts positive pressure to the upper airways. This essentially "splints" the upper airway open and keeps it from collapsing. Mask fitting is an essential element of a patient's success with positive airway pressure therapy since it affects compliance and effectiveness of treatment. Higher pressures can result in air leak and patient discomfort. Demands on mask stability increase as pressure increases. Higher pressures may also require tighter head gear to maintain an adequate seal contributing to the discomfort. When selecting a CPAP mask the following factors should be considered.

Nasal continuous positive airflow pressure (CPAP) is safe and effective in sleep apnea patients of all ages, including children. The device itself is a machine weighing about five pounds that fits on a bedside table. A mask containing a tube connects to the device and fits over just the nose. The machine supplies a steady stream of air through a tube and applies sufficient air pressure to prevent the tissues from collapsing during sleep. The device, particularly the mask, often produces anxiety, primarily because of the mask. Starting out with low pressure to get used to the mask may help. Patients may actually experience less sleep or sleep of a different quality in the beginning.

Perhaps the biggest problem with CPAP therapy is noncompliance. Frequently, patients use the machine for only a few hours a night or a few days a week. Sneezing, nasal discharge and dryness sometimes result in noncompliance, but CPAP failure may also be caused by perceived discomfort, claustrophobia and panic attacks. Patients with more severe apnea and debilitating daytime sleepiness are often more compliant, because they are motivated by the prompt reversal of their symptoms. In addition, nearly all patients complain about at least one side effect. Nearly half of complaints are related to the mask. Many can be alleviated with a well-chosen mask that is comfortable and reduces leakage as much as possible.

More information on sleep apnea

What is sleep apnea? - Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person stops breathing during the night. Sleep apnea means cessation of breath characterized by repetitive episodes of upper airway obstruction.
What types of sleep apnea are there? - There are three types of sleep apnea, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea, mixed sleep apnea.
What is obstructive sleep apnea? - Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder in which complete or partial obstruction of the airway during sleep causes loud snoring, oxyhemoglobin desaturations and frequent arousals.
What causes obstructive sleep apnea? - Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by repetitive upper airway obstruction during sleep as a result of narrowing of the respiratory passages.
What're the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea? - Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include loud snoring, Daytime sleepiness, memory changes, depression, and irritability.
What is central sleep apnea? - Central sleep apnea is a sleep breathing disorder that occurs when the brain fails to send the appropriate signals to the breathing muscles to initiate respirations.
What causes central sleep apnea? - Conditions that can cause sentral sleep apnea include bulbar poliomyelitis, encephalitis affecting the brainstem, neurodegenerative illnesses.
What're the symptoms of central sleep apnea? - Symptoms of central sleep apnea include extreme exhaustion and sleepiness during daylight hours, early morning headaches, lack of concentration, and memory loss.
What are the risk factors for sleep apnea? - There are several factors that may predispose a person towards sleep apnea, including gender, age, ethnicity, geography, obesity, immune abnormalities.
What are the complications of sleep apnea? - Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening condition because there are interruptions in breathing during sleep.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed? - A sleep test, called polysomnography is done to diagnose sleep apnea. Confirmation of the diagnosis requires making measurements while the person sleeps.
What's the treatment to stop sleep apnea? - Treatment for sleep apnea is determined based on the individual's specific circumstances and can include behavioral changes, physical therapy and surgery.
What surgeries are available to cure sleep apnea? - Surgeries to stop sleep apnea include uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty, tracheostomy, radiofrequency ablation.
What about the CPAP therapy for sleep apnea? - The most effective treatment for sleep apnea is nasal continuous positive airflow pressure (CPAP) therapy.
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