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CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. CPAP therapy typically involves wearing a mask that is connected to a CPAP therapy machine. A CPAP machine applies pressure to your airway, keeping it open throughout the night allowing you to breathe unrestricted, avoiding sleep apnea.

How does CPAP work?

A standard CPAP set up will normally include a CPAP machine, CPAP mask, tubing and power supply unit. The machine contains an air pump which delivers the pressure to your upper airway while you sleep. There are two different types of machine:

Fixed Pressure: This CPAP machine delivers a constant pressure during sleep.

Automatic Pressure: The automatic machine alters pressure throughout the night and adjusts itself to your needs.

What are the CPAP components?

The Machine: This is the air pump that creates the pressure. It is also responsible for many small settings that affect your overall therapy such as the climate control and ramp settings.

The Mask: The mask is used to actually deliver the pressure to your airway. The type of mask you use is often dictated by how comfortable the mask is for you. You will often have a choice of a full face mask, nasal mask and a nasal pillows mask.

Do I have to use CPAP?

It is a good idea to have a trusted medical professional in your corner advising on whether CPAP use is right for you. Things to consider are: 

  • Your sleep study result
  • Symptoms
  • Disturbances to bed partner
  • Management of other health conditions

Generally speaking, you don’t have to do anything. However, by wearing it every night you are giving yourself a chance to sleep more efficiently in order to enjoy your days more.

How long does CPAP take to work?

The answer to this question will be different for everyone. Some people feel better after a single night of use, for others, it will take a couple of months. It is important to be consistent and try your best to get the full benefits of CPAP.

Do I need to wear CPAP for the rest of my life?

Generally speaking, Sleep apnea will get worse as we age, therefore it is likely that CPAP is going to be a long term therapy. However, if weight loss, improved fitness, changes in lifestyle occur, then getting off CPAP therapy is a possibility.