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CPAP machine

Understanding CPAP–How to Deal with the Initial Discomfort

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a form of treatment used to address Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (interrupted sleep due to breathing problems). The patient is fitted with a mask that delivers continuous airflow through a tube into the patient’s mouth and nose at a pressure that forces the airway to remain open without limiting the patient’s ability to sleep.

CPAP machines have a variety of features including a ramp feature (for the gradual increase of air pressure), a humidifier to prevent dry throat, a memory card to collect sleep data for use in consultation with a medical professional, and air filters to deliver clean air to your lungs.

Benefits of CPAP

CPAP machines can alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnoea and its everyday negative effects. Regular and healthy sleep is essential to all the functions of a person’s body. The use of the CPAP machine to treat sleep apnoea can result in greater alertness during the day, a calmer and happier mood, fewer morning headaches, improved memory and concentration, a lowering of blood pressure, improved sexual performance, and better ability to manage and maintain weight.

Initial Discomfort from CPAP Use and How to Deal with It

Users of CPAP may experience chest and lung discomfort soon after they begin their treatment. The process of exhaling larger amounts of air coupled with the pressure of the CPAP machine can stress the muscles of the chest more than the patient is used to. Like any muscle, the patient’s body will get used to this and adapt in time.

If the discomfort is too much, to begin with, there are a few things a patient could do.

  • Start the CPAP machine off at a lower pressure and slowly build it up as the lungs get used to the process of breathing with the machine.
  • Use a CPAP machine that is equipped with technology to lessen the pressure as you exhale, reducing the work of your muscles.
  • Engage in regular exercise to better improve respiratory health and develop the muscles surrounding the lungs.
  • Diet greatly affects a person’s ability to breathe optimally. Being overweight creates greater pressure on your lungs and can obstruct proper breathing due to fat deposits around the throat and chest. Smoking also compromises a person’s respiratory health, making it more difficult to breathe. Try to adjust your lifestyle if these factors could be affecting you.

CPAP machines can deliver the benefits of a full and healthy sleep for sleep apnoea patients. They are a valuable tool for treating sleep apnoea and should be considered in consultation with a psychology professional. If you suffer from sleep apnoea, contact McMahons Point Dental today and discover the benefits of CPAP treatment! We can also discuss alternative treatments to manage your sleep apnoea symptoms.