If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you’d like to read more about nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which is a very common treatment for this sleep disorder. This therapy is a nonsurgical treatment that provides a steady flow of air to the lungs through the nose. The nasal CPAP therapy is also very helpful for infants who due to their underdeveloped lungs breathe more easily. Hence, to make things easier for you, we decided to share everything there is to know about this therapy.
Who Needs Nasal CPAP Therapy?
Nasal CPAP therapy is a beneficial treatment for people of all ages who experience obstructive sleep apnea symptoms. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder which causes frequent pauses in breathing, which stop the flow of air to the lungs. Hence, after each breathing break, the body automatically reacts to starting breathing again. As a result, the sleep apnea sufferer is pulled out of the deep sleep stage.
These breathing breaks can be triggered by some obstruction in the airway. The obstructions might include throat muscles that relax too much to allow normal breathing can block the flow of air or a large tongue or tonsils. So, a blocked airway can cause the individual to snort, choke, or gasp. Then, the breathing resumes, but it again becomes blocked moments later.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Many individuals who experience these breathing pauses aren’t even aware of their occurrence and don’t remember them. Thus, there are many people who continue living with undiagnosed sleep apnea. Some of the most common sleep apnea symptoms include:
- snoring loudly
- irritability, depression, grumpiness, or impatience during the day
- gasping or choking during sleep
- quickly falling asleep while working or reading
- frequent or hard-to-treat headaches
- dry mouth or sore throat in the morning
This sleep disorder doesn’t only have troublesome symptoms, but it can also be life-threatening. If undiagnosed and not treated properly, this sleep disorder increases the risk of experiencing a heart attack, stroke, hypertension, irregular heartbeat, and other related conditions.
Fortunately, there is a very successful treatment which reduces these risks and restores sound sleep. Thus, it is very likely that when you get a diagnosis for sleep apnea, your doctor might recommend using a nasal CPAP device.
What Is a Nasal CPAP Device?
If you’ve been diagnosed with mild sleep apnea, you might need to incorporate certain lifestyle changes to get relief from the symptoms. These simple lifestyle changes include losing weight, not consuming alcohol, not using allergy medications or nasal sprays. There are people who find a custom-made mouthpiece or oral appliance very beneficial for their condition. These appliances adjust the position of the lower jaw and tongue to help keep airways open during sleep.
On the other hand, if you have moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, you might need a breathing device called a nasal CPAP machine. A nasal CPAP machine is a device which blows air into your nose through a nose mask and helps keep the airway open during sleep. The device comes with a small machine, known as an air compressor, which is usually placed on a bedside table and connected to a tube and mask that fits over your nose.
The nasal CPAP machine delivers a steady flow of air through the tube and mask, exerting just enough pressure to keep muscles and tissues from collapsing and blocking the airway. You will likely get help from your physician to choose the mask which best fits your needs, as well as, adjust the settings on the CPAP machine to the pressure required for your condition.
However, if you don’t experience any improvements over a week, you should contact your physician or sleep specialist who will adjust the pressure settings. Using nasal CPAP therapy on a regular basis means that you will experience the following benefits:
- improved sleep
- reduced anxiety
- better overall mood
- improved concentration and memory
- increased productivity
Complications Associated with Nasal CPAP Therapy
It might be a bit difficult to get used to CPAP therapy, but it gets better over time. However, there are many people who experience some problems with nasal CPAP therapy. Some of the most common complications which are associated with this therapy include:
- Runny nose or sore eyes due to ill-fitting mask. You can solve this issue by adjusting your mask or using a heated humidifier.
- Sore or inflamed skin due to too heavy or improperly cushioned mask.
- Claustrophobic sensation
- Uncomfortable sensations with forced air
- Dry mouth which can be solved by getting a CPAP device that covers both your nose and mouth.
Most of these inconveniences can be solved by contacting your physician or sleep specialist to make simple adjustments, which will make you feel more comfortable.