Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders with one in four Canadians at high risk for it. Sleep apnea therapy is most often done with a CPAP machine: CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airways Pressure.
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by soft tissue in the throat collapsing and blocking the airway during sleep and a CPAP machine blows pressurized air into your throat to keep the airway open, allowing you to breathe without interruption.
Even though CPAP therapy is a doctor’s preferred recommendation for sleep apnea treatment, many people are hesitant about it. So, today we’re debunking myths about CPAP therapy and responding to hesitation and skepticism about using CPAP to treat this sleep disorder.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of CPAP I use, they’re all the same”
Not all CPAP machines are the same.
Each model delivers a specific “mode” or algorithm that is designed to address a variety of upper airway characteristics. Some CPAP machines are set to remain at a fixed pressure all night, while others automatically adjust to accommodate fluctuating pressure requirements. There are even different types and sizes of masks.
Some CPAP machines incorporate comfort features like “pressure relief” and “climate control.” Pressure relief drops the pressure on exhalation making breathing easier while climate control technology utilizes heated humidifiers and heated hoses to ensure a comfortable sleep without experiencing a dry mouth and throat.
If you’re uncomfortable, you’re not likely to use your machine. At Provincial Sleep Group, we’re committed to helping you find the right therapy option for a restful night’s sleep. With CPAP therapy, some people feel better beginning the next day, and others find it takes a little longer.
Sleeping while using CPAP therapy is awkward at first, and it will take time to get used it, but it is most definitely worth the relief you will evidently feel from treatment. Any problems you face with your CPAP can be solved simply by asking!
“I don’t need CPAP therapy, natural remedies work just fine”
Unfortunately, home remedies like raising the head of your bed, rolling over, using a room humidifier, or abstaining from drinking alcohol are not going to completely prevent your throat from collapsing during sleep.
They might help lessen the severity, but they aren’t going to cure your sleep apnea. For some patients, an oral appliance may work, but CPAP therapy is considered to be the gold standard for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.
“All I need to do is lose weight and my sleep apnea will go away”
While being overweight is a contributing factor in sleep apnea (as well as a symptom), losing weight alone isn’t likely to cure your sleep apnea.
Obesity and neck circumference can play a role in softening the tissues that cause your throat to collapse, but there are often other anatomical factors at play. That being said, losing weight (unless you’re underweight) is never a bad idea – it will improve your blood pressure, increase your vitality, and reduce inflammation and insulin resistance. Plus, CPAP treatment may actually help you lose weight when combined with a healthy weight loss plan.
“I don’t need to use my CPAP every night!”
Yes, you do.
As soon as you stop using your CPAP machine, your sleep apnea will return and pose serious risks to your health. Using it all night, every night (as well as for naps) is essential to eliminating your symptoms and getting the most out of your treatment. If you travel a lot for work or leisure, you can try the AirMini™ portable CPAP machine, which weighs less than a pound and fits in your hand!
“CPAPs are too expensive.”
It’s true that the cost of a CPAP machine ranges from $1,700 to $2,500, which is a considerable investment.
Most extended health benefit plans (Great West Life, Sun Life, Manulife, Blue Cross etc) cover the majority, if not all, of the cost of CPAP therapy. Investing in a CPAP machine is an investment in your health which will ultimately save you money in the long run.
At Provincial Sleep Group, we are in the business of improving quality of life through sleep apnea treatment. If you think you might have this treatable sleep disorder, take our sleep quiz and we can move forward with your personalized CPAP treatment!