What is CPAP? - Everything you need to know about sleep apnoea treatment

what is cpap

What is CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)?

The word CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. This refers to therapy that allows a person to breathe consistently and comfortably throughout sleep, by providing mild air pressure to a person’s upper airway. CPAP machines are most commonly used to treat sleep apnoea, working to help avoid pauses and stops in your breathing, which typically occur if you have the sleeping disorder. By improving your breathing while you sleep, CPAP machines help you get a longer, deeper sleep.

So what exactly is a CPAP machine? And what does it do?

The machine consists of two main components; a sleeping mask and a machine. The machine pushes air through a tube, to the mask and into your lungs as you sleep. CPAP masks come in various forms, including nasal, pillow, and full face masks. The varied selection of mask types means that you are able to find a solution that is comfortable and effective. When it comes to the machine itself, there are fixed pressure, auto variable pressure, and travel machines. As with the varying forms of CPAP masks, these machine options allow for sleep specialists to decide on the most effective method of CPAP therapy for a particular person.

CPAP machines are most commonly used to treat sleep apnoea, a sleep disorder which occurs when your throat is partially or completely blocked while you sleep, resulting in pauses or stops in breathing. CPAP is the most effective and most popular treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea. In some severe cases, sleep apnoea can briefly wake you up over a hundred times a night. Sleep apnoea generally affects people who are overweight, snore, are middle aged and/or have a genetic predisposition.

How important is sleep apnoea treatment?

It is absolutely crucial to treat sleep apnoea effectively, as it can increase your risk of diabetes, stroke, memory lapses, and headaches. Not to mention, sleep apnoea can put a significant strain on your body, causing constant tiredness, decreased cognitive function, and a depressed mood.

Therefore, if you think you might be at risk, take our free online sleep apnoea test to see whether you should consult a specialist.