Sleep apnea is a common but serious medical condition that may cause death if left untreated. CPAP machines currently serve as the most popular treatment modality in order to help those with sleep apnea sleep through the night unperturbed.
CPAP masks allow for optimal airflow so that the patient can sleep properly. Comfort is maximized, snoring is kept to a minimum, and the patient is able to sleep soundly without having their nasal passages or esophagus obstructed in some severe fashion.
Still, some patients may be nervous about their CPAP machines. They may be concerned about the device being too cumbersome or they may worry about the mask being too heavy and uncomfortable.
Here, we will provide you with everything you need to know about your first day of CPAP use so that you are better prepared for your first night.
Sleep Apnea and the Importance of CPAP Therapy
Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that may prove fatal if not treated in time. Obstructive sleep apnea causes the patient to stop breathing for a period of time while they sleep.
Breathing repeatedly stops and starts as the patient tries to sleep. The muscles in the throat intermittently relax while the patient sleeps: The result is the patient’s airway is blocked, which may cause them to suffocate in their sleep.
A common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common type of sleep apnea, is snoring. The snoring tends to be quite loud and may disturb the patient’s partner and loved ones in the middle of the night.
Breaks and pauses in breathing while sleeping are also very common, which is a telltale sign that the person needs to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Gasping for air is also an indication that something is amiss and waking up in the morning with a dry mouth should also be a cause for concern.
If you wake up in the morning and notice a dull throbbing in your head or have a migraine or headache first thing in the morning, then it may be caused by obstructive sleep apnea.
Insomnia, which is characterized as trouble falling or staying asleep, is also very common in patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Another common symptom is daytime drowsiness and excessive sleepiness or fatigue during the day is also quite common.
If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea then your doctor will recommend that you use a CPAP machine during the night. A CPAP machine will dramatically improve the quality of your sleep – and it could also save your life.
The CPAP mask will apply continuous pressure which will keep your airway open while you sleep. This means that when you fall asleep, you know that you will not have to deal with any airway obstruction issues through the night.
What are the different types of CPAP masks available today?
It is essential that you choose a mask that fits the unique contours of your face as well as a machine that matches your unique needs. If you get this right, you’ll avoid future complications. There are three different categories of CPAP masks to choose from.
Full face masks will cover your entire nose and mouth. A seal is created that will cover both airways. They may be a tad uncomfortable for some patients, as some full face masks can be quite bulky.
However, they are recommended if you breathe through your mouth. Plus, if you require higher pressures in order to get a good night’s sleep, then full face CPAP masks may be the best solution.
People who also sleep on their back may benefit from full face CPAP masks, as well as patients who suffer from medical issues or allergies that may make it hard for them to breathe through their nose.
Nasal masks will cover your nose from the upper lip to the bridge. They provide natural and indirect airflow and will work well if you sleep on your side or move around a lot while you sleep.
However, they would be a poor choice if you breathe through your mouth, and if you suffer from allergies, or are dealing with a cold, then optimal pressure delivery will be impeded due to nasal blockages.
CPAP nasal pillows help certain patients with sleep apnea. They are lightweight and compact and are recommended for people who breathe through their nose, as well as those who toss and turn in bed.
That being said, if you require higher pressure then they may be uncomfortable, as the airflow is sent directly into your nasal passage.
Your First Day with Your CPAP Machine
The mask can be broken down into three components: The cushion, headgear, and frame. A doctor will perform sleep tests to determine the severity of your condition. Once you receive your CPAP machine you should place it in the right spot.
You should also adjust the machine in order to optimize pressure and comfort levels. You may experience some discomfort in the beginning as your body adjusts to sleeping with a CPAP mask.
You should clean your mask on a routine basis and you should also keep your supplies clean.
Live Long and Prosper
Sleep apnea can be very serious if left untreated. CPAP masks will help treat your sleep apnea so that you can sleep without concern. There are many different CPAP masks, machines and brands to choose from.
Your doctor will recommend a certain type of mask and machine depending on your sleep condition and its severity. Some discomfort and irritation are to be expected but they will eventually go away, once your body becomes accustomed to the mask.
You should clean the mask on a regular basis to reduce the risk of contamination. Supplies should also be cleaned routinely to ensure optimal performance.
If you have any issues with your mask or machine, please speak to your doctor so that they can make the necessary changes to your sleep apnea treatment.