Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by frequent pauses in breathing during sleep. This condition can be life threatening if not taken care of early. There are a number of treatments that help curb the severity of this condition.
Sleep apnea machines help sleep apnea patients a great deal. They include a small medical pump and a tube attached to a mask. The mask is worn over the mouth, nose or both. The machines work by pumping pressurized air into the airway in controlled amounts while holding the relaxed muscles open.
These machines are available for patients only through the doctor’s prescription and they must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The doctor also recommends the amount of pressurized air delivered in relation to the severity and type of sleep apnea the patient has.
Types Of Machines Available
There are different types of sleep apnea machines that are available today for sleep apnea patients. They are:
- Variable Positive Airway Pressure (VPAP) – This machine works by using an electronic circuit to observe how the patient breathes. It supplies air in two different pressures. Air with high pressure is used for inhalation while the one with lower pressure is used for exhalation. These machines are more expensive than CPAP because they can also be used by patients who are suffering from other respiratory illnesses and those who find it difficult exhaling against pressure. These machines are also referred to as BiPAP or bi-level.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) – This machine is universally used by most sleep apnea patients. Its size is usually equal to that of a shoebox and sometimes even smaller. It is attached to the facemask through a flexible tube. It prevents occurrences of sleep apnea by pushing air through the tube at a high pressure. This pressure is usually enough.
- Automatic Positive Airway Pressure (APAP) – This machine includes a computer and pressure sensors. These assist in monitoring the patient’s breathing continuously. APAP is able to adjust the pressure automatically in relation to the patient’s breathing patterns. This machine is more complex therefore making it the most expensive of the ones on this list.
Features Of Sleep Apnea Machines
The key features of these machines are:
- Ramp – This feature allows the patient to begin their sleep at a lower pressure which rises as they get deeper into their sleep.
- Heated Humidifier – This feature helps in making the air breathed in by the patient warm and moist. This air eases breathing and reduces the chances of having a dry mouth and sore throat upon waking up.
- Monitor – This feature assists in recording how often the machine is used and whether the patient experiences any sleep apnea occurrences while using the machine. The doctor can download this information and easily authenticate the efficiency of the treatment.
- Compliance Motor – This feature can be added to a sleep apnea device to give confirmation that the patient is getting enough amounts of restful sleep every night. To get this information, the patient needs to take the machine to the sleep center where this information is downloaded. The information can also be sent through a telephone modem supplied with the machine. Internet access is not necessary to get this information.
Patients need time to get used to sleep apnea machines. Most patients find it difficult using the device throughout the night. It, however, becomes easier for them once they get a hang of it. Patients are always advised to never give up and to try to increase the time they use their machines.