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What is sleep apnea?
What is CPAP?
Can you give me some tips about using my CPAP machine?
What is a polysomnogram?
Is my CPAP machine covered by my insurance company or Medicare/Medicaid
What is AHI?

What is sleep apnea?

The word "Apnea" in Greek means "without breath." defines sleep apnea as "a condition characterized by temporary breathing interruptions." There are two types of Sleep Apnea: obstructive and central. defines obstructive sleep apnea as a stoppage of breathing caused by something (tongue, tonsils or uvula) blocking the air passageway. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. The website defines central sleep apnea as a stoppage in breathing caused by signals in the brain being interrupted or before they can reach the muscle or the signal isn't being transmitted at all. Central sleep apnea is rare and probably present with other neurological problems. continues to explain that the number of interruptions varies from a dozen to hundreds of times per night. Typically these periods of stopped breathing last longer than ten seconds.

The Mayo Clinic describes the following symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Loud snoring (more common with obstructive sleep apnea)
  • observed incidents of breathing stopping during sleep
  • Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Shortness of breath (central sleep apnea)
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute gives the following cuases or risk factors for sleep apnea:
  • Throat muscles and tongue relax excessively
  • Tonsils and adenoids are larger than normal
  • Excessive weight. The additional tissue in the throat makes it harder to keep the throat open. (measure your BMI with Vitality Medical's BMI calculator)
  • The bones in the head and neck are disproportionate to the size of the mouth and throat.
< states there are a few different types of treatment for sleep apnea. The most common CPAP is discussed below in this FAQ and is safe and easy to use. Dental appliances are also used to treat sleep apnea, but are not as effective as CPAP and as uncomfortable side effects such as soreness in the teeth or jaws. The dental appliances can be divided into two categories oral appliances, which are similar to mouth guards that athletes use, and head devices that fit over the head and chin to reposition the jaw. Surgery can be used in situations where it is appropriate to increase the airway size, remove throat tissue or reshape the jaw.
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What is CPAP? defines CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) as "a type of therapy used to effectively treat obstructive sleep apnea in which an air compressor forces air through the nose and airway..."
CPAP treatment consists of three parts: the CPAP compressor, tubing and a special CPAP mask or cannula (comparisons between the different types of CPAP Machines, CPAP Masks and CPAP Tubing are located below in this FAQ). The CPAP Machine is essentially a quiet air compressor that continually forces air through the tubing to the mask or cannula (cannulas are small tubes that fit within the nose). The continuous air pressure forces the airway to remain open, which allows for normal breathing for the entire night. Difference between Bi-level and Auto CPAP machines: Bi-level CPAP machines has two different settings, one for inhalation and one for exhalation. Auto CPAP machines automatically adjust to the resistance a patient's breath gives and provides the appropriate amount of pressure. While Bi-level CPAP machines will work without problems, Auto CPAP machines provide maximum comfort.

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