CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, and the development of CPAP equipment has been a boon for sufferers of Sleep Apnea. Breathing therapy with CPAP products for sleep apnea enables sufferers to achieve undisturbed sleep, something they are unable to get without CPAP. Additionally, CPAP equipment may be used for newborn preterm infants when their lungs have not completely developed.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Briefly, sleep apnea is a sleep disorder distinguished by an erratic breathing pattern. The normal breathing pattern is interrupted with frequent pauses or is characterized with a slower breathing pattern. The pauses may last a few seconds or even minutes. Typically, the interruptions can occur between 5 to 30 times, or even more frequently, per hour.
Sleep apnea is manifested in two distinct ways, but a combination of the two may also occur. With CSA, or Central Sleep Apnea, the breathing is disturbed due to a lack of respiratory effort, the body simply is not reacting normally. With OSA, or Obstructive Sleep Apnea, there is a physical obstruction that prevents proper airflow. Either way, the patient may not even be aware of the problem. However, the patient’s sleep partner may notice snoring or the irregular breathing.
The problem becomes more apparent to the sufferer during the daytime. The patient feels tired and out of it. There is never a sense of having been completely rested. Mental acuity will be hampered, resulting in a higher potential for accidents, clumsiness or sluggish behavior. Patients often compensate by taking medications or other instant-relief products that may or may not be beneficial.
I Live Alone; How Can I Tell if I Have Sleep Apnea?
If you are concerned that you may have sleep apnea, consult with your physician. He may refer you to a Sleep Lab where they will conduct a Sleep Study to determine whether or not you suffer from sleep apnea. There, you will spend a night sleeping as you normally would. They will monitor your sleep and generate a report. As the patient, you have a legal right to obtain a copy of the report as well as any subsequent prescription that may be provided.
What Kinds of CPAP Equipment are There?
There is a wide range of CPAP machines and accessories available to help the sleep apnea sufferer obtain a good night’s sleep without the unnecessary intake of medications. There are masks, pillows, humidifiers, software and much more. With CPAP travel items that are available, a patient is not relegated to staying home in order to achieve a good night’s sleep.
How Do I Know Which Machine is Right for Me?
Your prescription should indicate what kind of CPAP machine is the best for your particular sleep apnea problem. You may require one that applies a higher or lower airflow pressure. Auto-adjusting machines, for example, will adjust to your breathing on a breath-to-breath basis. In addition, alcohol consumption and weight gain or weight loss may also impact your CPAP requirements. If you have any questions, ask your physician to clarify and specify what models or features you should look for.
Does Insurance Cover CPAP costs?
Your individual insurance provider can best answer that as each provider has different provisions and requirements. Medicaid, Medicare and other government sponsored health programs may not provide for reimbursement of CPAP purchase costs from some websites. If purchasing online, be sure to inquire as to whether or not your purchase costs are eligible for reimbursement. Your physician may also be able to help you locate a website or retail outlet where your costs may be reimbursed.
With the marvelous technological advances in sleep disorder treatment, sufferers no longer have to suffer in silence, or worse, in ignorance of the problem. CPAP equipment offers an easy solution to sleep apnea, one that you can live with.
Harold Michaels is a writer in Florida who suffers from sleep disorders. You can find out more about CPAP machines at CPAP.com.