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American HomePatient is your partner as you begin your new therapy. Our team is dedicated to supporting you in becoming successful with the sleep therapy that your doctor has prescribed. Once you are diagnosed with a sleep condition, it is extremely important to your health and overall wellbeing to use your therapy, and stick with it. Explore our website and read below to find out more about sleep apnea and your therapy.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious but treatable medical illness. People who have sleep apnea quit breathing repeatedly during sleep, and apneas (suspension of breathing) occur when the airway in the back of your throat temporarily collapses and closes up. This can happen because the muscles inside your throat relax as you sleep; the tongue may also fall back into your throat and block the airway.
A partial or total collapse of the airway during sleep pauses breathing and causes partial awakening. This leads to sleep fragmentation, reduced oxygen levels, poor quality sleep, and many other associated health problems.
There are many companion diseases called comorbidities that frequently accompany sleep apnea. It is not entirely clear which comes first, but we do know that treating sleep apnea can help reduce symptoms of many comorbidities and improve your quality of life.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the consequences of untreated sleep apnea include: increased risk of high blood pressure; heart attack; stroke; obesity; and diabetes. There is also increased risk for or worsened heart failure, arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats), and increased chances of having work-related or vehicle accidents.
Positive Airway Pressure (PAP)
CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy is the standard therapy for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). CPAP delivers continuous pressure while you sleep – this pressure is determined during your sleep study. However, some people have issues with exhaling against the constant pressure, especially those with higher pressure settings.
Bilevel positive airway pressure is another option that is similar to CPAP, but instead of providing one consistent level of pressure, there is one pressure level when you breathe in (inspiratory positive airway pressure – IPAP) and a different pressure level when you breathe out (expiratory positive airway pressure – EPAP). The EPAP level is usually lower than the IPAP level, making it easier to exhale. Bilevel is great for those who have issues breathing against the continual pressure, and can also benefit those who require breathing assistance or have a cardiopulmonary disorder (congestive heart failure, etc.).
We’re here to help you become a successful PAP therapy user for a lifetime of good health. Click here to learn more.
Finding a comfortable fit is important to achieving success with PAP therapy. Click here to learn more about how your therapy should fit and how to use it.
To get the most out of your therapy, you should use clean, fresh supplies. That means cleaning them regularly, and eventually replacing them. You’ll also need to perform routine maintenance on your PAP device. Click here to learn more about maintaining your PAP therapy.
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If you’re traveling, don’t forget your PAP machine! Even if you’re only going to be gone for a few days, you still need to sleep well. Click here to learn more about traveling with your PAP machine.
Many PAP users face the same issues when using their therapy. We’ve compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions & Troubleshooting to help you solve any problems you may face.
The best tip is to remember the many health benefits associated with continuing your therapy. The longer you stick with it, the easier and more routine it will become!
If you’re having issues, contact our Sleep Support Center at 877-247-2352. It is important to work through whatever obstacles you encounter. Successful therapy is well worth the time and patience you invest in your ongoing health and wellness.
Fisher & Paykel, ResMed, and Respironics images and text used with permission.