Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure: What is it?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) has been the main treatment modality for patients suffering with the very dangerous condition known as sleep apnea. The CPAP machine works by using pressure to send air flowing through the nasal passages, keeping the throat from collapsing during sleep-the main reason why individuals with sleep apnea stop breathing periodically throughout the night. CPAP, however, is uncomfortable and many people do not use CPAP because of the inconvenience and bulkiness of the apparatus.

Sleep apnea must be treated; if it is not, it can lead to many serious medical problems including:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Sore throat
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive daytime drowsiness
  • Poor concentration
  • Short-term memory problems
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Impotence
  • Cognitive deterioration

Most of us are aware that a good night's sleep is essential. REM Sleep, the time during sleep when we dream, contributes to overall health and proper body function. But during a sleep apnea event, the individual leaves REM sleep many times throughout the night to restart his or her breathing. The result is a lack of deeply restful sleep that seriously affects the body's ability to function.

There are three different types of CPAP machines:

  • CPAP: delivers one continuous air pressure
  • APAP: adjusts to your need for oxygen by starting out at low pressure, senses raising the pressure during a sleep apnea event
  • BiPAP: uses a higher pressure when you inhale and lower pressure when you exhale

To learn more about snoring and sleep apnea, please contact sleep apnea specialist, Dr. Ira L. Shapira, in Gurnee, Illinois today to schedule your initial consultation.

posted by Evan Langsted at 4:54 PM