An Explanation of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

Dr. John Krehlik has practiced sleep medicine for more than 30 years. In that time, Dr. John Krehlik has introduced many patients to the potential benefits of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.

Designed to keep the throat open during sleep, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment depends on a machine that provides a steady stream of air. The machine runs on a motor that sends air through a tube, which in turn connects to a mask that fits over the patient’s nose and mouth or nose alone. The type of mask depends on the patient’s needs and preferences, though the nasal mask is the most common.

Physicians most often prescribe this treatment for chronic obstructive sleep apnea, though research has shown that it can also effectively treat infants with underdeveloped lungs, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, or respiratory distress syndrome. When used to treat sleep apnea, it can decrease blood pressure as well as daytime sleepiness. It is typically effective in controlling snoring and preserving quality of sleep for both the patient and his or her household, while also protecting some sleep apnea patients against heart conditions that arise secondary to coronary artery disease.

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