Sleep Apnoea Treatment
The most effective and widely accepted treatment for sleep apnoea is positive airway pressure therapy. It does not involve drugs or surgery. A bedside device gently delivers pressurised air via a mask to keep your upper airway open.
Therapy CPAP Treatment
CPAP (pronounced "see-pap") is short for "continuous positive airway pressure." Positive airway pressure therapy is the most effective non-invasive treatment for OSA. CPAP systems consist of a flow generator, air tubing, and a mask (usually a nasal mask). The flow generator pushes air through the tubing and nasal mask. The air passes through your nose and into your throat, where the slight pressure keeps your upper airway open. The low air pressure does not interfere with breathing - though some people need a few nights to get used to the sensation of positive airflow. Many clinicians describe this therapy as a pneumatic splint - literally an air splint to hold your throat open.
The following diagram illustrates a pneumatically splinted upper airway. The tongue and soft tissue have fallen to the back of the throat, but the pressure of the air pumped in by the flow generator holds the upper airway open.
Beginning CPAP Treatment
Positive airway pressure therapy is the safest and most effective therapy available for people with OSA. CPAP was the first of these therapies, and as evidenced by countless testimonials, it can mean the beginning of a vastly better life.
The most important steps with CPAP therapy are the initial steps. The proper treatment pressure, a comfortable system, and good education often mean the difference between success and failure for many CPAP users. Success means sleeping better and getting more enjoyment out of waking hours, and it can also mean lowering blood pressure and resolving the symptoms associated with OSA. Successful CPAP users report feeling improvements in:
vitality and motivation
sexual drive and performance
alertness while driving
quality of life
However, a failure to use CPAP therapy may increase one's risk for conditions linked to untreated OSA:
hypertension (OSA increases your risk of hypertension by five times)
congestive heart failure (CHF)