CPAP - Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is the abbreviation for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. A CPAP is used in the treatment of severe OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea).

What is a CPAP
A CPAP consists of an air pump and a hose connected to a face mask. The system is portable so you can take it with you wherever you want. The face mask is attached to the mouth/nose during sleep and the pump does its work from the nightstand.

How does a CPAP work
The machine blows air into the windpipe through the mouth and/or nose. This ensures a buildup of positive pressure in the airways, keeping them open during sleep. This way you will suffer no suspension of breathing (an apnea) and in most cases there will be no more snoring.

Types of CPAP's

  • The standard CPAP
  • A CPAP has a fixed pressure level. This level is determined during a trial period.
  • The automatic CPAP (also called APAP or autoPAP)
  • This machine measures and adjusts the pressure automatically during use according to the user's needs.
  • The VPAP/BPAP
  • Sometimes a user does not tolerate the fixed overpressure. Then you can try VPAP/BPAP (variable/bilevel positive airway pressure). This generates a pressure change between the inspiratory and expiratory phases.

The mask
The mask is probably the most important part of a CPAP. It needs to work properly but also be comfortable. There are three types of masks:

  • The mask that covers the nose as well as the mouth. This mask type is often used by people who are persistent mouth breathers.
  • The nasal mask. This only covers the nose and is the most frequently used mask.
  • The nasal pillow. This one has small pillows that are inserted in the nostrils. It is used chiefly by calm sleepers with a low pressure.

Sleeping with a mask is not always pleasant. Most people will get used to it after a period of time, especially when experiencing that it works. You will wake up with more energy and feel less irritable. You will feel less and less fatigued.

This will of course not always be the case. Sometimes a patient cannot get used to sleeping with a mask. When this is the case, other solutions for the problem will have to be considered. A snoring splint (MAS), for instance. The advantage will be that, because you cannot get used to your CPAP, the health insurance company will likely cover the costs of your MAS on medical grounds.

Look at our selection of Anti-Snoring Splints...