CPAP refers to continuous positive airway pressure, which is a therapy that is used to provide treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. This is a condition where your airway gets blocked when your throat muscles relax when you are asleep. During therapy, a CPAP machine is used to introduce pressurized air down your windpipe to keep it open so that your breathing is not interrupted.
There are different types of CPAP machines that you can use for your therapy and they come with a variety of additional features. You can therefore get a machine that is comfortable for your use and one that is within your budget.
The Parts Of A CPAP Machine
CPAP Machines Have Three Main Parts – a pump, a tube and a mask. The pump absorbs air from the room which is passed through a filter. A set amount of pressure is added to the air which is transmitted through a tube to the mask. You can opt for a machine that has a humidifier especially if you live in a dry area or you normally wake up with a dry mouth.
The humidifier is a small tank of water that gets heated and the vapor is mixed with the pressurized air so that you can breathe in moist air. The hose is normally six feet in length and you will need to use a heated hose when using a humidifier. A heated hose is important to ensure that condensation does not take place as the moist air is transmitted to the mask.
Choosing The Right Mask
CPAP masks come in all shapes and sizes and a right fit is important to ensure that your therapy is effective. When buying a mask, it is important to try them out until you get one that is comfortable and that fits well. You can decide to use a full face mask, a nasal mask or a nasal pillow.
The full face mask covers your nose and mouth and it is suitable if you normally sleep on your back. You can also use it if your doctor has prescribed a high pressure for your therapy since you can breathe in through your nose and mouth.
The nasal mask covers your nose and consists of a gel or silicone cushion to give you sufficient comfort. When using the nasal mask, you should only breathe through your nose in order for your therapy to be effective. If you tend to breathe through your mouth in your sleep, you can use a chinstrap to keep your mouth shut during therapy.
The nasal pillow consists of two pillows which are inserted at the edge of the nostrils. The air is delivered directly to your nose and is ideal if your therapy requires low pressure.
Cleaning Your CPAP machine
Like any other equipment, CPAP machines do get dirty and require regular cleaning. Keeping your machine clean will enable it to function properly. You should also keep your hose and mask clean to avoid the growth of mold or bacteria. You should wipe the areas of the mask that normally get into contact with your skin daily with a damp cloth. This will ensure that the mask continually has a good seal so that leakage of air is avoided.