The Health Value of CPAP Machines


Bipap mask

Sleep apnea is a dangerous and debilitating condition. According to the Mayo Clinic, a respected medical authority in America, sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where breathing starts and stops while the individual is asleep. The health effects of this disorder can begin to be understood with the following statistics:

  • People with untreated sleep apnea have a stroke risk four times higher than those without sleep apnea.
  • Untreated sleep apnea sufferers are three times more likely to have heart disease than those without sleep apnea.
  • Between 2-4% of all Americans have an undiagnosed case of sleep apnea. This means one in 50 individuals have not been diagnosed.

Sleep apnea is twice as common in men as it is in women. The disorder affects around 18 million Americans. It can lead to major health problems as well as a more basic one: lack of sleep. Those who suffer from sleep apnea and do not have the proper equipment to treat the illness or those who have not been diagnosed, face serious sleep issues, as each interrupted breath affects the sufferer’s quality of sleep and therefore life.

Fortunately, there are many ways to treat sleep apnea, from changing diet to relaxation techniques. But for those who need more than these methods to treat the illness they suffer with, technology has led to advancements in the care of sleep apnea. They are called CPAP machines.

CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure and includes a machine that supplies a constant stream of air into the individual suffering from sleep apnea. The machine delivers that air through a tube that ends with either a nasal pillow or a CPAP full face mask. The different terms for this equipment are CPAP nasal masks, CPAP nasal pillows, CPAP mask pilow, and full face masks.

Nasal pillows consist of two little plugs, similar to the earbuds of headphones, which go under the nostrils to deliver the continuous stream of air. These are particularly useful for those that suffer from claustrophobia, which can be an issue for some sufferers of sleep apnea with other types of equipment, such as the full face mask. These little plugs also work to prevent air leaks, another potential issue with a full face mask.

A full face mask is similar to what it sounds. It is a full mask that goes over most of the face. It delivers air into the mask, which is then inhaled and used to reduce the breath interruptions associated with sleep apnea. The difficulty with the full face mask is the claustrophobia and air leaks, which can be troubling for some CPAP users.

Preferences within the population that suffers from sleep apnea is split. 50% of patients prefer nasal pillows, while 45% favor full face masks. 5% of users have no preference.

While CPAP machines can be incredibly helpful machines, some of those suffering from sleep apnea never use them or stop using them early on in the treatment process.

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