Continuous Positive Airway Therapy
CPAP became commercially available in 1981, and is now the most common therapy for moderate and severe OSA.
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure - pronounced see-PAP) is a small device that provides a gentle flow of positive pressure through a mask that fits over your nose to keep the airway open during sleep. This then allows for normal respiration and a peaceful sleeping pattern.
It is well documented and proven that CPAP is a very effective treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Although CPAP is the treatment of choice, some patients find it challenging to accept and use. Please do not stop CPAP without talking to your doctor, who can help you with other treatments if you are unable to use CPAP.
CPAP is not an easy therapy to use and people tend to give up if they do not notice a big change right away. Education and follow-up on using CPAP effectively are very important to keeping up with your CPAP treatment. Problems such as mask fit, sores or redness around the nose, and dryness or nasal stuffiness are common reasons that people feel like giving up. Your therapist can usually resolve all of these issues.
When problems are solved, you begin to feel rested and have more energy.
Many people using CPAP complain of nasal dryness, dryness in the throat and mouth, sore tongue, nasal stuffiness, or nose bleeds. Complying with your CPAP therapy is difficult when you have these problems. Upper airway dryness is a side effect of CPAP use and is one of the reasons people stop using their CPAP therapy.
Normally, the nose humidifies and warms the air we breathe. However, the delicate tissue on the inside of the nose changes when you use CPAP due to the increased airflow. To maintain CPAP therapy, you may need a medical assessment of the condition of your nose and throat, and a humidifier attached to the CPAP unit to provide warm, moist air.
For conditions of nasal stuffiness due to rhinitis, sinusitis, or allergies, your doctor can prescribe nasal sprays or medications to manage the disorder so you can breathe easier with your CPAP.
If your dryness or stuffiness is related to CPAP, using a humidifier attached to the CPAP unit may help.
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