CPAP machines are devices that have been designed to help people diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. The OSA patient wears a mask that is attached to the CPAP machine. The mask fits over your nose (or both your nose and your mouth) and works by applying continuous pressure into your airway to keep it open.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
OSA is the name given to a sleeping condition where obstructions in your airway lead to periods of apnea. Apnea is the medical name for temporary cessation of breathing, especially during sleep. When you have OSA, you will experience long pauses without breathing when you are asleep. During periods of apnea, the level of oxygen in your blood decreases causing your heart to pump harder to move oxygen around your body. Your heart rate and blood pressure go up, putting additional stress on your heart. Read this detailed National Institutes of Health (NIH) report on OSA.
What Can Untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea Lead To?
It’s really important to treat OSA. Oxygen is vital for the health of your heart, and lack of it puts a lot of pressure on your cardiovascular system. During apnea, not only do you have lower blood oxygen levels, you also have elevated levels of carbon dioxide which can result in headaches, fatigue, or memory loss during your working hours.
Don’t Put Yourself at Risk for Serious Medical Conditions
If you ignore your OSA because you dislike wearing your CPAP machine, you will be at risk for the following heart-related conditions:
• Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) – CHF occurs because your heart is unable to pump enough oxygenated blood into your system. As a result, fluid builds up in various parts of your body. Fluid may build-up in your lungs making it hard to breathe.
• Atrial Fibrillation – Symptoms of atrial fibrillation are an irregular, quivering, and rapid heartbeat. Periods of apnea combined with an irregular heartbeat can lead to sudden death.
• Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) – With CAD, plaque builds up in your artery walls, narrowing them and restricting blood flow to your heart. CAD can lead to a heart attack.
• Stroke – A stroke can cause severe disability or death, and, in the case of disability, if you have OSA you may have a more difficult recovery time.
It Doesn’t Matter That You Won’t Look Pretty
The first thing that you will notice about a CPAP machine is that the device is not attractive. You won’t find one in a beauty parlor! In addition, some types of CPAP machines are quite bulky and will take up a fair amount of space in your bedroom. Many people find getting used to a CPAP device quite challenging at first – you have to get used to wearing it. However, if you have OSA, a CPAP machine will not only provide you with a good night’s sleep but prevent more serious health conditions and even save your life.
So, Please Wear Your CPAP Machine
It’s worth it! Your CPAP device will keep your airway open so you can breathe easily while asleep. Your blood oxygen levels will be more normal, and your carbon dioxide levels won’t rise. You will stop dozing off over your desk, be a much safer driver, and, more importantly, be at a much lower risk for scary heart conditions.
Find a CPAP Device that Feels Comfortable
Every OSA sufferer is different so Valley Sleep Center will choose the best CPAP machine for you and help you get used to wearing it. We have a wide variety of CPAP machines and accessories available for you, so don’t hesitate to contact us.