There are too many people today who are not getting a sound healthy sleep, and it is not always because they don’t get to bed early enough. Many of these people suffer from sleep apnea, and snoring is the main telltale sign of this condition. The other is that they are not aware that they stop breathing at night for many small intervals, resulting in a reduction of REM sleep and perhaps several night time trips to the bathroom to urinate. These people might have problems staying awake during the daytime. They get tired easily and fall asleep when they should not, like at their desk at work, or even worse behind the wheel of the car. This can be fatal because it can cause a traffic accident. What these people don’t realize is that it ups their risk of other deadly conditions like high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke, to name just a few. It can also put a strain on relationships like marriages since the lack of sleep also affects the partner who may not be able to sleep soundly either due to the noise of the snoring. Tempers flare up easily in sleep deprived subjects, and this can lead to more fighting, domestic violence, or in some cases divorce. Another unwelcome side effect could be sleepwalking. Sleepwalkers can be dangerous and so can sleepwalking. It can be dangerous not only for the sleepwalker, especially if they end up leaving their house while asleep, but also for anyone who they encounter while sleepwalking. Sleepwalkers can react violently and savagely when confronted during an episode, and they can seriously injure or harm another person without even knowing it. Fortunately there is a simple remedy to this overall problem. A sleep study is needed, and this is performed by a qualified physician or sleep center.
The type of physician who performs this test is usually an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist, commonly known as an ENT. The patient is provided with a small device which attached to the nostrils to measure breathing and also has a finger clip to measure the pulse. The subject goes to sleep and the device measures how many breathing stops, or apneas, occur at night, as well as their duration and the pulse. The data tells the doctor how bad the case of sleep apnea is, and also plays into determining how strong the airflow of the CPAP device should be to prevent these apneas in the future.
This brings us to the CPAP machine itself. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Air Pressure. The machine consists of a base unit which contains a filter and an air pump. The settings are hidden and have to be adjusted by the distributor according the physicians prescription. It has a hose that runs from the machine to a nasal mask which fits over the patient’s nose. It blows air into the nose. Some people have issues with adjusting to wearing this while sleeping. Some report ripping it off at night, while others have nasal blockage issues which prevent them from nose breathing at all. This might betray a deviated or otherwise faulty septum or nasal polyps which may need a surgical procedure to correct. Some people insist on a full face mask which also blows air into the mouth. I do not know how they work, but one would be well advised to put the time in and adjust to the nasal mask. The pressure being blown into the nose causes the mouth to stay shut and keeps the patient breathing at night. If all goes well they should get the first full night’s sleep in a long time. They should sleep deeply and feel well rested, and sleep through the night. In the case of a nasal cold or allergy, nasal saline flushes may help, as might a eucalyptus salve like Vicks vapor rub applied to the end of the nostrils, which may work to open the nasal passages so that they CPAP mask is more effective. chin straps for cpap
A CPAP machine is usually covered under most health insurance policies, and even at that they cost usually less than $300 so most people should be able to afford one if needed. They are very durable and last a long time. They optionally come with a water reservoir attachment which adds moisture to the air mix, thus preventing drying out of the sinus cavity and throat. The water reservoir must have clean fresh water daily and also must be cleaned. Most are top rack dishwasher safe, save for the gasket which can be removed for cleaning. The hoses and mask should also be cleaned periodically, and are disposable and replaceable without prescription.