What Does a CPAP Machine Do When You Stop Breathing?

What Does a CPAP Machine Do When You Stop Breathing?

Question: What does a CPAP machine do when you stop breathing? Read on to find out.

CPAP is typically a method where the machine produces continuous air pressure just like the name suggests. You need to have your mask on your nose when sleeping to receive it. The CPAP machine will give you more in terms of air pressure compared to what you usually receive when breathing normally.

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The machine’s air pressure helps prevent the passageway on the upper part of the airway from blocking. This therefore means that it’s ideal for snoring and sleep apnea treatment.

What Does a CPAP Machine Do When You Stop Breathing?

A CPAP machine cannot prevent you from dying, in case you stop breathing. The machine is not an iron lung. Rather, it is only  positive pressure as an assistive device. When you stop breathing, a CPAP cannot restart the breathing process.

A BiPAP works similarly to a CPAP machine but with two levels of pressure. However, a BiPAP is also not an iron lung. While BiPaps can do more than CPAP machines, they cannot completely replace the body’s ability to breath. Both CPAPs and BiPAPs are simply assistive devices.

When you stop breathing while using a CPAP, if it has an auto shut-off feature, it will turn off after sensing that you are no longer breathing. If there is no auto-shutoff feature, the device  will continue running.

Assistive devices are only assistive. A CPAP reduces the chances of death but does not completely prevent it.

Using a CPAP Machine

However, first time users claim that the CPAP machine is quite uncomfortable for nightly use. The structure is what brings about discomfort when you start using it. Most patients get used to wearing the mask after using it severally especially after making adjustments for a more secure fit. Get the right fit if the mask does not stay in place during sleep. What’s more, the CPAP machine also comes with a humidifier to keep you more comfortable.

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Be consistent when using the machine even when you have other issues. Don’t give up! Consult your physician for any adjustments and corrections instead of ditching the whole thing. Besides, the air pressure settings will have to change if you gain some weight.

Side Effects of CPAP Machine

When using the CPAP machine for the first time, it tends to get on the nerves since wearing the mask is a bit uncomfortable especially when you are not used to it. The discomfort can make you stop the sleep apnea treatment. However, this would beat the purpose. In such cases, it would be best to use a machine with lower air pressure when starting out.

Most patients that use this method of treatment usually experience some side effects with a huge percentage complaining about the mask. Get a super comfortable mask with a proper fit and a firm seal.

Here are some of the side effects patients experience when using the CPAP machine:

  • Dry and sore mouth
  • Throat and nose irritation
  • Nose sores especially if you wear the device tight
  • Eye irritation
  • Excessive air pressure – you find trouble exhaling
  • Infections on the upper part of the nasal opening if the machine is not always clean
  • Nasal congestion
  • Discomfort on the chest muscles

There are different types of CPAP machines in the market that will ensure you get enough air in the throat. They can be adjusted for a perfect fit to keep air flowing properly through the throat. The machine will automatically adjust the air pressure as you sleep.

If the CPAP machine fails to work for you, consider using an oral appliance or a mouthpiece. The device will keep that throat open allowing air to flow. It works well for those with mild or moderate sleep apnea. Some people prefer to use the mouthpiece than the CPAP machine which is more effective.

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The mouthpiece keeps the throat open by moving the jaw forward thus preventing snoring and treating mild sleep apnea. You can buy an over the counter mouthguard but ensure you consult your dentist before buying and after about six months of using it. However, it may take some time before you find a comfortable one.

After using the mouthpiece for a year, you can now graduate to seeing the dentist only once to ensure it still works properly and the fit is right. If it’s uncomfortable, ask the doctor for any possible adjustments.



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