CPAP Treating Sleep DisordersMost people using CPAP have a condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA. During sleep, the muscles in the back of the throat relax causing the upper airway to become smaller. This is especially true during the deepest stages of sleep (called Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep). In some individuals, the upper airway can actually collapse, causing a blockage of air movement into the lungs. When airflow is stopped for at least 10 seconds, it is referred to as Apnea. These Apneas can occur many times each hour and hundreds of times each night.
Note: CPAP Devices are sold by prescription only.
How does a CPAP machine work?
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP therapy works by creating positive air pressure within the back of the throat preventing airway collapse and apnea. This positive pressure pushes out on the walls of the throat, creating an air splint within the airway in much the same way that air pressure within a balloon pushes out on the walls of the balloon preventing it from collapsing.
Sleep Apnea: A treatable disorder in which a person stops breathing during sleep, often hundreds of times during the night. Sleep apnea is a common disorder that affects millions of men, women, and children but is often undiagnosed, despite the potentially serious consequences of the disorder. It is estimated that at least ten million Americans have unrecognized sleep apnea.
There are three different types of apnea: obstructive, central, or mixed (a combination of obstructive and central). Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common.
Usually the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes the airways so that sufferers of sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during sleep, as frequently as a hundred times an hour and often for a minute or longer.
Risk Factors for sleep apnea include a family history of sleep apnea, excess weight, a large neck, a recessed chin, male sex, abnormalities in the structure of the upper airway, ethnicity (African-Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Mexicans), smoking, and alcohol use. Yet sleep apnea can affect both males and females of all ages, including children, and of any weight.