What Role Does CPAP Machine Play In Treating Sleeping Apnea?

“Sleep is the golden chain that binds health and our bodies together.” This beautiful quote from Thomas Dekker makes it clear about how important sleep is for our healthy life. However, there are many people who suffer from a varied range of sleeping disorders which can be so not acceptable and a reason of worry for them. One of the sleeping disorder known as sleep apnea is the disorder which is known by the brief and repeated breathing interruption or snoring during one’s sleep. CPAP machine or the Continuous positive airway pressure therapy machine can be used to treat Sleep Apnea and help the patient breath more easily during sleep. This current article will put some limelight on the CPAP machine and its role in treating Sleeping disorder of sleep apnea.

What Role does CPAP Machine Play in Treating Sleeping Apnea?

Introduction to CPAP Machine:

People having obstructive sleep apnea or the sleeping disorder where the affected person has improper sleep because of the interrupted and repeated breathings; can be treated by a therapy known as CPAP or the Continuous positive airway pressure therapy which make use of a machine known the CPAP machine. This CPAP machine improves the air pressure in the throat so that the airway doesn’t collapse while breathing in. This can be used every night while sleeping so as to have a comfortable sleep without any interruption. More on the CPAP machine will be discussed in the following paragraphs:

Parts of a CPAP Machine:

Now, we have a brief idea on what CPAP machine is! Let us now take a look on the parts of the machine below.

So, a CPAP machine comprises the following in it:

  1. A mask that covers the nose and mouth
  2. A mask that covers only your nose and known as NCPAP or the Nasal continuous positive airway pressure. This is in fact the most common type of mask
  3. Prongs that fit in to the nose
  4. A pump connected to the mask.

What Role Does CPAP Machine Play In Treating Sleeping Apnea?

It can be rightly said that CPAP is the most effective non surgical treatment procedure to treat the sleeping disorder of obstructive sleep apnea. In fact most adults prefer using CPAP machine for treating their sleeping disorder. All you need is wear the facial/nasal mask that fits in comfortably while sleeping at night. The pump which is connected to the mask provides you a positive flow of air in to the nasal passage and thus the airway remains open. This helps in sound sleep without interrupted breathing or snoring in sleep apnea. Though it may take time for you to get adjusted or comfortable with the machine, once you are habituated with it; you can get the best benefits out from the CPAP.

Effectiveness of CPAP Machine in Treating Sleep Apnea:

Now let us check how effective CPAP machine is for treating Sleep Apnea. Below are some of the points mentioning about the effectiveness of CPAP and in treating sleep apnea.

  • Research shows that CPAP or the continuous positive airway pressure decreases the daytime sleeping.
  • Studies also show that people suffering from moderate to severe range of sleep apnea are benefited through the NCPAP or the nasal continuous positive airway pressure, which lowers the blood pressure during the day as well as during the night
  • People suffering from coronary artery disease who make use of CPAP for treating sleep apnea are less likely to get heart problems like heart failure.

Side Effects of CPAP:

“Life is about taking risks.” There comes nothing without risk. Here are some of the risks involved with the CPAP machine.

  • There may be excessive dreaming while using CPAP in the early days of use.
  • Runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion can be experienced sometimes
  • Dry nose and throat soreness are felt with CPAP machine use.
  • There may be abdominal bloating
  • If it doesn’t fit properly, there may be leaks around the mask.
  • There is a risk of irritation in eyes and facial skin with the use of CPAP
  • One of the rarest complications with CPAP use is Nosebleed
  • One might feel discomfort in the morning after bed while early use of CPAP. Your doctor can help you in getting you another type of mask with proper fitting or adjustments.

Ways To Get Relief From The Side Effects of CPAP:

Here in this section we will list down some of the ways to get relief from the side effects of the CPAP machine.

In case you feel it difficult to use the CPAP machine while at sleep during night, try to practice using it when you are awake during day time, like while watching TV, working at desk etc for short time period. This way you can get accustomed with the use and can feel more comfortable while wearing it during sleeping hours.

  • In case you have nasal irritation due to CPAP machine then you need to use a humidifier or a corticosteroid nasal spray medicine for reducing the irritation and also for drainage.
  • It must be noted that the perfect fitting of the mask is highly essential. Air should not leak around the mask of the CPAP. There are many sizes and styles of CPAP devices. You can try out the best fitting one for you or talk to your doctor for getting the right adjustments for you.
  • If you sleep with opened mouth or breathe through mouth while sleeping with a CPAP machine in sleep apnea, you may worsen the dry mouth. This can be prevented by placing a chin strap that helps you keep your mouth closed and reduce the leakage of air if you wear a CPAP mask. This can also be prevented well by wearing a full face mask
  • Decongestants and nasal sprays must be used with doctor’s consultation for nasal congestion
  • You can replace the CPAP with BiPAP which may work better and be more comfortable.

What are BIPAP and APAP?

  • BiPAP: BiPAP is a Bi-level positive airway pressure machine which has similar kind of function as that of the CPAP but makes use of a different air pressure while you inhale than while you exhale. BiPAP is another type of machine which can be replaced with a CPAP machine to treat sleeping disorders. It is in fact more effective and more comfortable than the CPAP. Here the machine starts with a low air pressure which slowly and gradually increases as you fall asleep. This gradual increase of air pressure from the machine can help you reduce the discomfort caused due to excessive constant pressure in your nose. BiPAP machine is more essential for treating sleep apnea in patients having heart problems like heart failure.
  • APAP: APAP or Auto-titrating continuous positive airway pressure is a machine which can automatically increase or decrease the air pressure as required. This in turn makes the machine most comfortable and easier to use for treating sleep apnea.

Now, though biPAP and APAP machines are more comfortable than the CPAP machines, yet they are very much expensive. However, these machines for treating sleeping disorders of sleep apnea can also be taken home for rent to be used while the treatment procedure.


There is a common saying, “Time and patience key to success.” Though it can be problematic, irritating and frustrating at first while using the CPAP machine, it can get the best of its result in treating sleep apnea once you stick to it. Once you are habituated with the use of the device everything seems normal, you do not even feel any discomfort by wearing the mask all night. For best of the efficient and comfortable use, talk to your doctor for getting a properly fitting mask to the CPAP if you are advised to wear a one for treating sleep apnea.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 20, 2019

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