CPAP is continuous positive airway pressure. This treatment uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open and is beneficial for people with breathing problems such as sleep apnea. It is also used to treat preterm infants whose lungs are not fully developed.
As the leading therapy for sleep apnea, CPAP requires patients to wear a face or nasal mask during sleep. It is connected via tubing to a pump, which provides positive airflow into the nasal passages to keep the airway open. Patients typically see immediate improvements in their sleep apnea symptoms such as daytime mental and physical fatigue.
In addition to treatments such as CPAP, doctors recommend lifestyle changes such as weight loss since it can drastically improve breathing during sleep; however, people who are not overweight may have sleep apnea because of their anatomy.
Your otolaryngologist may ask you the following questions to determine if you might be a candidate for CPAP:
- Is your snoring a disturbance to family and friends?
- Are you sleepy during the day?
- Do you wake up throughout the night?
- Do you have headaches in the morning or wake up tired?
These questions along with a medical history and examination of the airway may lead your otolaryngologist to recommend a sleep study to confirm a breathing condition that could be improved by CPAP.
CPAP has proven to be an effective treatment for snoring and sleep apnea; however, the device does need to be used every night. Some patients have found the device too constrictive and burdensome. Proper mask fitting and use of a humidifier often help patients use the device consistently.
If you or someone you care for is interested in CPAP, please contact our office at 717-728-9700 to schedule a consultation with an otolaryngologist.