OSA occurs when the throat becomes blocked during sleep. This blockage causes the airway to collapse and prevents the lungs from getting enough air. Individuals with OSA stop breathing for 10 seconds or more at a time. This can occur up to several hundred times every night due to repeated collapse of the airway. Symptoms of OSA include: snoring, tiredness, sleepiness, memory and judgment problems, irritability, difficulty concentrating and personality changes. A sleep study is used to diagnose OSA.
CPAP is used for the treatment of OSA. A CPAP device is about the size of a shoebox and sits beside the bed. It consists of an air blower (airflow generator) attached to flexible tubing leading to a face mask (that fits over the nose or over the nose and mouth) or nasal prongs. It uses air pressure to push the tongue forward and open the throat, allowing air to pass through the throat. The airway pressure delivered into the throat is continuous during both inhaling and exhaling. The air pressure is adjusted so that it is just enough to prevent the throat from collapsing during sleep.
Many individuals (some estimates are as high as 50percent) have difficulty tolerating the use of CPAP. Ways to encourage the use of CPAP include: treatment of nasal symptoms; trying several masks to find the most comfortable fit; humidification of air; providing close follow-up and encouragement.
CPAP is not a cure for OSA and must be used every night. CPAP should also be used when taking a nap. Nonuse of the CPAP device leads to a full return of OSA symptoms.
Will I live longer if I use CPAP?
The use of CPAP may lengthen your life by decreasing stress on the cardiovascular system (by lowering blood pressure) and respiratory system (by maintaining adequate airflow).
Will use of CPAP improve my quality of life?
Yes. Symptoms of OSA will be decreased / eliminated while using CPAP.
CPAP is safe. It is a noninvasive and nonsurgical treatment.
Potential side effects:
Alternative treatments include:
CPAP is considered the most consistently effective treatment for OSA.
The cost for CPAP treatment may range from $5,000 to $24,000 or more per year.
The cost may or may not be covered by your health benefits plan.
The following are off-site links :
Mayo Clinic. (2011, June). Obstructive sleep apnea. Retrieved March 4, 2013 from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/obstructive-sleep-apnea/DS00968.
National Institutes of Health. (1995, September). Sleep apnea: Is your patient at risk. Retrieved March 4, 2013 from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/prof/sleep/slpaprsk.htm.
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