OSA Obstructive Sleep Apnea Is More Than Loud Snoring: Consider CPAP Therapy

Written by Manny Erlich on May 23, 2012. Posted in Sleep Apnea Symptoms & Treatments, Snoring 101

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is one out of the two forms of Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea is a disorder defined by long pauses in breathing or shallow breaths that occur during sleep. The result of this sleep-disordered breathing is insufficient air reaching the lungs, which can cause the sleeper to wake up gasping for breath.

Osa_cycleObstructive Sleep Apnea specifically occurs when your airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep. This can cause many health problems for the sleeper and in some situations, also causes grievances for person sleeping next to him or her. Loud snoring occurs when the air resulting from your disordered breathing is pushed through the blocked airway.

Waking up from a sleep-apnea-related breathing lapse is often frightening and suffering from sleeping next to a loud snorer is aggravating. CPAP therapy (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) can help ease these problems and all of the health problems that go along with OSA.

What is CPAP Therapy (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) And How Can It Help My Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

A CPAP is a mask worn while sleeping that is connected to a machine which pumps air through the mask and into the lungs. It is often thought to be the best treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. The CPAP machine is considered an extremely effective means of treating OSA.

Because people with OSA stop breathing multiple times during the night they lose their steady flow of oxygen to the brain, which therefore causes them to have a higher risk of heart disease, strokes, memory problems and daytime sleepiness.

According to a 2011 study published in the journal Sleep, CPAP therapy not only improves sleep but improves an individual’s quality of life as well if they have obstructive sleep apnea. People with OSA using a CPAP machine on a regular basis:

  1. Feel less fatigue during the day,
  2. Are more energetic and
  3. Experience less daytime sleepiness.

How does CPAP Therapy Work?

CPAP Therapy involves using the machine every night while asleep. A CPAP machine uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open. The machine has three parts:

  1. A mask that usually fits over the nose and mouth,
  2. A tube connecting the mask to the machine and
  3. A motor that blows air through the tube.

The CPAP machine will not be viewed as a designer or fashionable piece in your bedroom but it will stop the loud snoring and heavy breathing generally accompanying OSA. It will probably increase your energy level and put an end to the excessive sleepiness feeling during the day. Clearly it will improve your and your bed partner’s quality of life.

How can I get a CPAP Machine?

A doctor must prescribe a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine and it will be up to him or her to work with you to determine the appropriate settings of the machine. Your doctor may prescribe a sleep study to help determine the proper settings for you. (Read: What are Sleep Studies?)

Remember; if left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can lead to a myriad of health problems. Do not hesitate to make your appointment with a sleep specialist if you believe your bed-partner or you have OSA.

Want a more personalized way to learn about CPAP therapy? Read our blog about CPAP for Sleep Apnea or ask a question and participate in our discussion board about Sleep Apnea


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Manny Erlich

International Foundation of Employee Benefits - Certified Employee Benefits Specialist