CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is a manner of artificial ventilation of the lungs with the development of positive pressure in the airways after exhalation. How do CPAP-therapy cure so many diseases? It is believed that all these diseases are closely associated with a disturbance of sleep.
Why is Sleep so Important?
Sleep helps the body to relax from the anxiety with which a man or woman is faced every day. During sleep, hormonal regulation happens in our body. Some hormones secrete only during sleep, and some hormones secrete just after sleep. Consequently, if sleep is impaired, it leads to a disturbance of the hormonal balance and nervous system transmitters, which ultimately causes the development of various physical and psychological diseases. The main cause of disturbance of normal sleep is sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is an absence of pulmonary ventilation during sleep for more than 10 seconds, which is characterized by decreasing of oxygen saturation in the blood (SaO2) by 4% or more. Usually, sleep apnea lasts for 20-30 seconds, nevertheless, in severe cases it can last for 2-3 minutes. The amount of episodes of sleep apnea may sometimes be up to 60 percent of the total nighttime sleep. Standard sleep apnea (usually less than 10-15 times within an hour) is called obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
Obstruction of the upper airways means that air can’t enter the lungs and there is oxygen deprivation of the whole organism.
Constant positive airway pressure (CPAP) is an effective way of treating obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. CPAP-therapy was introduced into clinical practice in 1981 by an Australian doctor and Professor. Colin Sullivan for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
The mechanism of action of the CPAP device is quite simple. Additionally it is used a humidifier that provides moisturizing and heats the air which enters the airways. This device doesn’t allow the upper airways to be blocked due to the constant positive air pressure and gets rid of the main reason for the obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
CPAP-therapy for patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is currently universally accepted. Polysomnography is a medical examination of a patient’s sleep by means of specialized computer systems. Polysomnography allows calculating the apnea index and determining the severity of the disease.
The apnea index is that the frequency of apnea episodes during one hour of sleep. The apnea index is considered pathologically important if there are over 20 apnea episodes per hour, irrespective of the presence or absence of clinical signs. Incidentally, more than 5 attacks of sleep apnea episodes are considered to be threatening for a individual with a gradual development of daytime drowsiness, memory impairment, psycho-emotional ailments, insomnia, development of cardiovascular diseases (arterial hypertension, coronary heart disease or stroke), and disturbance of cardiac rhythm.
CPAP – How is it Used?
The first session of CPAP-therapy is performed on the next night following a diagnostic polysomnography. The purpose of the first CPAP session is to select the minimum air pressure that eliminates obstructive apnea, snoring and other respiratory disturbances in all areas of the body and in all phases of sleep. During the first session of CPAP-therapy, the minimum set of parameters will be listed: electroencephalography, electrooculography, electromyography, chest and abdominal movements, body posture, snoring, electrocardiography, blood saturation. These parameters let you determine the job of the brain and the stage of sleep, which excludes the possibility of inadequate air pressure through undiagnosed wakefulness episodes.
The”golden rule” is to use CPAP machine nightly during the entire time of sleep. Patients often follow this recommendation in severe forms of obstructive sleep apnea. In cases like this, there is an improvement in the quality of sleep and daytime activity. In the moderate and mild forms of the disease, the irritating effect of the mask and airflow may sometimes decrease the quality of sleep, nevertheless, there’s a clear positive effect on daytime activity and on lots of other symptoms. One of the important benefits of CPAP-therapy is the absence of side effects.
Of course, sometimes in the beginning, as with any system of treatment, there may be side effects. Among the most common complaints, this may be irritation of the skin below the mask (about 50 percent ), dryness of the mucous membrane of the nose and pharynx (about 30%), nasal congestion or rhinorrhea (roughly 25%), eye irritation (about 25%). However, these symptoms are not serious, they finally disappear and do not interfere with the continuation of therapy.
Also, there are some recommendations how to remove these unpleasant effects in the treatment:
1. To use CPAP-therapy every day during the first 4-5 hours of sleep. During this period of time, there’s the deepest dream and negative effects from CPAP-therapy do not disturb the patient. Then in the other half of sleep when the dream becomes superficial and the mask or airflow starts to interfere, the mask can be removed and slept without it. It is necessary to admit that the positive effect of therapy – decreasing the intensity of snoring and diminishing the amount of apnea episodes continues during the remainder of the night.
2. To use CPAP-therapy with brief breaks for 1-2 days. It is an intermittent use of CPAP-therapy. It’s advised to use CPAP-therapy at least 70% of the nocturnal time. It’s strongly recommended if there’s hypertension or other cardiovascular diseases. Also, CPAP-therapy ought to be performed if a significant dose of alcohol or a sleeping pill has been taken before sleeping.
Despite the presence of these minor side effects, CPAP-therapy is the most effective method of treating obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.
Using CPAP-therapy has made a huge contribution to solving the problem of treatment of cardiovascular disorders and other ailments and has caused a dramatic improvement of the quality and prognosis of the people’ life.
Where to Purchase CPAP Supplies Online?
CPAP supplies, like masks, machines and tubes can be bought online through Amazon or check out CPAP.com for specialized products.
Mandita has been a victim of OSA syndrome for many years, which caused her excess loud snoring. As it is a sleeping disorder that’s not widely spoken about, she found it tough to find information to help her understand the symptoms and causes of the syndrome, as well as the treatments available.