What is sleep disorder breathing treatment or CPAP?

Severe sleep disorders that result in repeated, temporary cessation of breathing – or sleep apnoea, may require a treatment called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). CPAP is a treatment that uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open.

How does sleep disorder breathing treatment / CPAP work?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is delivered by a CPAP machine. A CPAP machine has three main parts:

  • A mask or other device that fits over your nose or your nose and mouth
  • A tube that connects the mask to the machine’s motor
  • A motor that blows air into the tube.

Some CPAP machines may also include humidifiers, to gently warm the air that is blown through the tube. CPAP machines are generally small, lightweight and quiet to use.

Why is sleep disorder breathing treatment / CPAP necessary?

Sleep apnoea is an obstruction of the airways caused by a collapse of the tongue and soft palate onto the back of the throat during sleep. The air pressure provided by the CPAP machine holds the airway open – preventing this collapse.

CPAP stops snoring by preventing structures in the airway from vibrating. CPAP also prevents the airway from narrowing and obstructing breathing. When the correct air pressure is applied through the CPAP mask, breathing becomes regular and unobstructed.

The CPAP machine does not make the body breathe or provide extra oxygen to the body. Instead, the CPAP machine maintains an open airway to allow your body to breathe normally.

Is sleep disorder breathing treatment / CPAP a cure for sleep apnoea?

CPAP cannot cure obstructive sleep apnoea – it only treats the symptoms. For this reason CPAP treatment must be used continuously during sleep, every night.

Do I need sleep disorder breathing treatment / CPAP?

Your requirement for CPAP will be determined during an overnight diagnostic sleep study, or overnight polysomnogram. Depending on the severity of your sleep apnoea, your Sleep Physician may recommend a CPAP-titration study.

For a comprehensive assessment of your sleep disorder and the treatment options available, book an assessment with us today.