cpap machine

Continuous positive airway pressure (or CPAP, for short) is a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. In people with sleep apnea, pauses in breathing repeatedly wake them up throughout the night. When sleep apnea is left untreated, it can lead not only to daytime fatigue, but also to health complications such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

A CPAP machine is made up of a mask, and a machine that delivers air through that mask. The air gently flows into the nose and mouth during the night to keep the airways open and make sure a steady supply of oxygen is flowing into the lungs.

The CPAP machine is a very effective treatment for sleep apnea. Most people say it improves daytime fatigue, and increases their energy and concentration. Yet it can take some people a while to get used to the bulky feel of wearing the CPAP mask. CPAP can also cause side effects like a stuffed or runny nose, sore eyes, and headaches. Making sure the mask fits well and that the air in the CPAP machine is heated can help prevent these side effects.

To get used to the CPAP machine, experts consider easing into it. Start by wearing the mask for just two hours a night. Add another 30 minutes nightly, until you are able to keep the mask on all night without discomfort. Studies find that it takes between two and 12 weeks for people to fully get used to their CPAP machine.

By giving yourself time to adjust to your treatment, you’ll not only improve your sleep apnea, but you’ll help your bed partner get a better night’s rest, too. If your doctor has prescribed a CPAP machine and you aren’t using it, ask the doctor for tips to help you adjust, or to make the mask more comfortable.

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