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What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
Obstructive Sleep apnea is a condition in which a patient’s muscles and tissues in the throat and air passage relax while sleeping. This blockage of the airway impedes flow of air into the lungs. This can occur many times per night in the sleep cycle and especially during REM sleep stages.

The body responds to the lack of oxygen by arousing, or waking, from sleep. This cycle leads to the patient being unable to get the needed quantity of restful sleep and may result in constant fatigue, difficulty focusing and irritability. Untreated sleep apnea is potentially fatal and frequently results in the following serious health problems: heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes.

What is Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)?
In central sleep apnea a person stops breathing throughout the night, not due to a blocked airway, but because the brain temporarily stops sending signals to the muscles that control breathing. Treatment for CSA can be BiPAP therapy. The BiPAP machine provides air pressure in an inhale/exhale pattern helping a person to breathe.

What are the symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

- Loud and frequent snoring
- Snorting, gasping or choking during sleep
- High blood pressure
- GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Personality Changes
- Hyperactive behavior (especially in children)
- Decreased size of airways and large neck

- Periods of not breathing during sleep
- Need to urinate during the night
- Morning headaches
- Daytime of evening lethargy
- Drowsy driving, limited attention, memory loss
- Weight gain, severe leg swelling, BMI of 25 or more

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
Obstructive Sleep apnea is a condition in which a patient’s muscles and tissues in the throat and air passage relax while sleeping. This blockage of the airway impedes flow of air into the lungs. This can occur many times per night in the sleep cycle and especially during REM sleep stages.

How is Sleep Apnea diagnosed?
An overnight sleep study is usually indicated when seeking to diagnose if a patient is suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This sleep test is conducted in a sleep laboratory and is called a polysomnogram.
Often people are unaware they may have Sleep Apnea. They may not realize they have difficulty breathing in their sleep at all. It is usually someone else who witnesses the person sleeping and having these events (gasping for air or sudden stoppage of breathing while asleep) whereby they first become aware they may have Sleep Apnea.
Snoring is a significant symptom however there are many people who snore who do not have Sleep Apnea. If snoring stops briefly and then resumes, that is a key indicator of sleep apnea. Daytime tiredness or drowsiness, difficulty or lack of concentration, headaches, impotence or decreased sex drive, moodiness or irritability, lack of energy, acid reflux (GERD), restless sleep, tossing and turning, night sweats, memory problems, nighttime choking or chest pain, anxiety, depression, increased urination at night; these could all be symptoms of sleep apnea. Some people first learn of the problem when they are involved in a motor vehicle accident due to the side effects of untreated sleep apnea.

Will losing weight cure my OSA?
It depends on the person. Some people experience less severe or cured sleep apnea after losing weight. Other people report no change in their sleep apnea post weight loss.

What is CPAP therapy?
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. CPAP therapy is the most recommended and the most effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.
A CPAP machine provides air at a constant prescribed pressure through a tube, using a CPAP mask to deliver the air pressure to the person with obstructive sleep apnea. This constant airflow maintains the airway open so that uninterrupted breathing is maintained during sleep. This eliminates sleep apnea events and allows the patient to get a restful sleep.
The pressure of the air is determined during your sleep study and your doctor will prescribe you a CPAP machine at that pressure.

What are the benefits of using CPAP therapy to treat sleep apnea?
Successful CPAP users report improvements in; quality of sleep, quality of life, energy and motivation, mood, job performance, sexual drive and performance and alertness while driving.
A failure to use CPAP therapy may increase your risk for conditions lined to untreated OSA; congestive heart failure, stroke, and hypertension.

When should I start feeling better after beginning to use my CPAP?
Most patient begin feeling better within the first week, though some people may take a little longer.

What if I still snore on CPAP?
Snoring while on CPAP should not occur. If it does, contact your home care provider. Your pressure level may need to be adjusted.
My mask seems to be leaking, what do I do? Check all the connections. If your mask has a forehead arm or adjustment feature, try readjusting that first to correct the leak.
If there is no improvement with these steps, readjust the headgear straps. The mask should be as loose as possible while still creating a seal. A mask that is too tight against the face can cause leaks to occur by creating folds in the materiel.

My nose and throat are dry, my nose is congested, or I have nosebleeds.
Try adjusting the heated humidification. You may change the temperature setting on the humidifier. Try nasal saline spray before bedtime and upon awakening.
This condition may improve over time. Consult your home care provider if symptoms persist.

My eyes are sore, dry, irritated, or swollen.
The mask may be leaking into your eyes. Use the forehead adjuster, if applicable, to reduce leaks. Try pulling the mask away from your face and repositioning it.
The mask may be too tight, readjust headgear straps.

My hose fills up with water at night.
Condensation builds up because the air in the room may be cooler than the air coming from the machine. To prevent this condensation from forming, try placing the tubing under the covers to warm it.
You may also ask your homecare provider for a hose cover made of fleece. Heated tubing is also available. What are the health risks of untreated Sleep Apnea?
Untreated sleep apnea can lead to; high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, depression, cardiac arrhythmias, obesity, diabetes and chronic fatigue.

Do I have to use CPAP every time I sleep?
Yes. Using CPAP therapy every night and during naps will increase the effectiveness of therapy. Even during a short rest your air passage is obstructed and being without oxygen is harmful to your health both short and long term. To avoid the side effects of untreated Sleep Apnea use your CPAP each time you sleep.

How can I adjust to treatment?
CPAP therapy can take a little time to get used to. Try to wear your CPAP every night without exception even if you end up taking it off after a few hours. This will help you acclimatize to your new therapy and get into the habit of wearing it every night. At first try wearing your mask just around the house. Read while wearing your mask, or watch TV with it on. Getting used to the feel of the mask will help it feel more familiar when you wear it through the night. You need to make a commitment to your therapy to live a longer healthier life.

I have trouble falling asleep on CPAP or I feel uncomfortable when I first apply the air pressure at night.
If the ramp feature is available on your CPAP device, use this feature to slowly rise to your prescribed pressure setting.

My machine does not seem to be working.
Check the power cord to be sure it is firmly inserted into the back of the machine and electrical outlet. Contact your homecare provider if you have any problems you are unable to correct.

How long will I need to use CPAP for?
CPAP therapy is used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. It is important to remember that this therapy will need to be used for the duration of your sleep apnea diagnosis. CPAP therapy is the most effective and recommended treatment for OSA.

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