If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you have probably been prescribed positive airway pressure therapy. Depending on your diagnosis, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or auto-adjustable positive airway pressure (AutoPAP) machine was recommended. Although this treatment is supposed to help you breathe easier while you sleep, it can be downright uncomfortable. Refusing to use your PAP machine can increase your risk of severe health problems such as hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and more.
You've come to the right place if you hate using a CPAP or AutoPAP while you sleep. Follow along as ApneaMed explains the difference between these two treatments and what you can do to improve your comfort and alternative treatment options.
What Is AutoPAP?
PAP therapy aims to provide the individual with pressurized air that helps prevent the soft tissues in the throat from collapsing during the night and blocking the airway. One form of PAP therapy is an AutoPAP machine, an auto-adjustable positive airway pressure machine.
An AutoPAP machine provides pressurized air throughout the night at the level of pressure you specifically require. The AutoPAP device can automatically adjust to your needs and provide varying air pressure levels while entering different sleep cycles throughout the night. With a range of pressure points to choose from, APAP therapy is exceptionally flexible and makes it easy for you to find your ideal setting.
What Is CPAP?
Another type of PAP therapy, and the most common, is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. While an AutoPAP machine automatically adjusts to your inhalation patterns while you sleep, a CPAP machine provides steady, constant pressure no matter the sleep cycle or sleeping position.
Although the air pressure doesn’t automatically adjust, it can be adjusted to match your specific needs. Between these two treatment options, continuous positive airway pressure therapy is more likely to cause some discomfort in the beginning due to the constant pressure.
How to Improve the Comfort of your CPAP or AutoPAP Machine
Now that we’ve laid out how CPAP and AutoPAP machines help sleep apnea patients let’s uncover a few tips for improving their comfort.
Make Small Adjustments to Your CPAP Mask
If the discomfort from your breathing machine appears to be from the mask itself, it may be time to troubleshoot and make the necessary adjustments. If the mask is causing red marks on your face when you wake up in the morning, try loosening the mask settings.
Does the mask fall off or move around while you sleep? You may need to tighten the mask. Make these adjustments while lying down in a sleep position to emulate how it will fit throughout the night.
Change the Type of CPAP Mask
Do you sleep on your back? Are you a side sleeper? Have you talked with your sleep physician about how you sleep throughout the night? Different positioning will determine which type of CPAP mask is best.
Drink Plenty of Water
A common complaint after frequent use of a CPAP or AutoPAP machine is dry mouth. Although you won’t be able to combat this completely, it can be helped by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day — encouraging your mouth to produce saliva.
Get Assistance with Your PAP Therapy from ApneaMed
These breathing machine options can relieve symptoms for patients, allowing them to receive a deeper night’s sleep and function better throughout the day. The goal is to ensure you reap the most benefits from the PAP therapy. If you aren’t sure which type of PAP therapy is ideal for your situation, or if you need help improving your comfort levels when the PAP machine is in use, your doctor can make recommendations.
Once you’ve decided which form of sleep apnea therapy to move forward with, ApneaMed can supply the breathing machine you need. Contact us to learn more about the breathing equipment we provide sleep apnea patients.