How Do CPAP Machines Combat Sleep Apnea?

Updated on August 30, 2021

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can stress the body enough to provoke major health problems in several of the body’s systems over time. Luckily it is very treatable, even when it comes to severe cases. CPAP machines provide therapeutic air flow support for those with chronic and severe cases of sleep apnea by producing a pressurized air flow that is just strong enough to hold the patient’s airways open, preventing the lack of oxygen that provokes waking during the night. The right mask is important, and different patients have widely different experiences with each design. Many wind up choosing one form or another of hybrid full face CPAP mask to get the best possible confluence of performance and comfort.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

The direct cause of poor sleep in apnea patients is the closure of the airways that allow oxygen into the body during sleep. There are multiple ways this can happen. Some patients have physiological issues with air flow because their throat muscles relax during sleep, blocking the airway. Others have an issue with the signals sent out from the brain automatically during sleep, leading to cessation of breathing and then waking. In some cases, patients deal with both. The divergent reasons for the condition are why treatment often involves both a device and also lifestyle changes. This approach attempts to address all the possible causes together.

How To Find The Right CPAP Mask

With choices like the Resmed Mirage Quattro full face mask offering options that contour to various face types and sizes, the key to a good fit is understanding your size and then experimenting until you hit on a design that avoids any personal discomfort spots. This can take a couple attempts for new patients, but it gets easier once you have your size figured out. For the best fit, you’ll need a size chart that matches your mask type. The important measurements are nose width and height for nasal masks, but hybrid and full face masks each size differently, with full face masks simply having an overall mask coverage size.

Choosing Your Mask Type

The biggest obstacle to a mask’s fit other than size is the possibility the patient will feel some degree of enclosure anxiety or even claustrophobia. Pinch points and other comfort issues can be addressed by changing designs within a mask type, but coverage is important to avoid enclosure issues. It might seem counterintuitive, but the best option for those facing this issue is a full face mask. Designs like the Fitlife full face mask cover more but they also provide a larger air pocket within the mask, and the feel of the air movement is reported to be a bit more natural as a result.

Sleep Through the Night

Many patients receive all the relief needed from a CPAP machine, but most require some lifestyle changes as well. Smoking and a high BMI are both correlated to the condition, as is the habitual use of sedatives or alcohol, both of which can relax throat muscles and impede brain signaling at the same time. For mild cases, these changes may be enough to correct the condition. If not, a CPAP machine provides additional support so you can get a full night’s sleep.

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