Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that leads to interrupted or shallow breathing during deep sleep. The most effective non surgical treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP). CPAP machines need some getting used to, and people need some practice before getting it right. People opting for this treatment should be aware that maintaining and cleaning a cpap machine is essential to their proper functioning.
Sleep apnea: diagnosis and effects
Sleep apnea can be difficult to diagnose, since the sufferer is in deep sleep when the breathing is disturbed. Undiagnosed sleep apnea manifests itself as tiredness and lowered levels of alertness. An estimated 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. And about one out of 50 individuals, or two to four percent of all Americans, have undiagnosed sleep apnea. The number of men who suffer from sleep apnea is twice the number of women who suffer from the disorder.
Untreated sleep apnea increases the likelihood of diseases like stroke and heart disease. It increases the risk of stroke by a factor of four and of heart disease by a factor of three. Research by the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research found that approximately 38,000 deaths each year can be attributed to cardiovascular problems connected in some way to sleep apnea.
Using cpap machines to treat sleep apnea
Cpap machines work by keeping open nasal airways to prevent interruptions in breathing. While using a cpap machine is the first treatment of choice for adults, it isn’t easy. For this reason, among patients who use cpap machines, as many as 80% say they don’t use it enough to keep them safe. And almost half of all people using CPAP machines stop after using them for only one to three weeks.
CPAP machines can dry out nasal passages and when used by patients over 60 years of age, are five times more likely to need heated humidification. Users also need to know about cleaning a cpap machine, and maintaining it in good condition. The cost of a cpap machine can be quite high and they can sometimes be rented. Despite the difciutlies, the adavantages of the treatment can be seen in dramatic improvement in overall wellness and alertness.