All About CPAP

All About CPAP

By Taikhum Sadiq

Breathing is the key to survival. Respiration is the basis of all life in this world whether it is aerobic (with oxygen) or anaerobic (without oxygen). But we humans might be the first to have discovered the mechanism of breathing and developing devices that help us breathe if our body loses the ability to do so. CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure is a airway pressure ventilator that applies air pressure continuously to keep the airways constantly open for people who are unable to breathe on their own.

All About CPAP

It stents the lungs' alveoli open and thus makes more of the lung's surface area available for ventilation. CPAP devices apply continuous positive airway pressure throughout the breathing cycle and are thus different from PEEP. Initially when the device was developed, the ventilator did not conduct cycles automatically during CPAP, no additional pressure above the level of CPAP was provided, and the breaths would have to be initiated by the patients themselves. But now we have automatically adjusting devices too.

CPAP specifically is used for people suffering from conditions such as sleep apnea. CPAP is also used in hospitals for infants whose respiratory system is not fully developed. For example, physicians can use CPAP in infants with conditions like respiratory distress syndrome. CPAP improves survival and decreases the need for steroid treatment for lungs.

But now technology has brought CPAP machines to your home. CPAP at home utilizes device specially designed to deliver a constant flow or pressure. A few CPAP machines have other features as well, such as heated humidifiers. CPAP is the most effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, in which the mild pressure from CPAP prevents the airway from collapsing or becoming blocked.

There are two major types of CPAP machines.

  • All About CPAPFixed Pressure CPAP - A fixed-pressure machine stays constantly at one pressure level all the time and delivers air at the same pressure throughout the night. Fixed pressure pumps run at a pressure that you set for your specific needs. They have a ramp function which allows this pressure to increase slowly to this level after it is put on, if the user prefers so. They are cheaper than auto-adjusting devices and are highly acceptable to many patients, particularly for average pressure requirements.
  • All About CPAPAuto – Adjusting CPAP – Also known as an APAP it automatically titrates, or tunes, the amount of pressure delivered to the patient to the minimum required to maintain an unobstructed airway on a breath-by-breath basis by measuring the resistance in the patient's breathing, thereby giving the patient the precise pressure required at a given moment and avoiding the compromise of fixed pressure. Auto-adjusting CPAP, these respond to subtle changes in your upper airway and provide an adequate pressure response on a breath-by-breath basis. The flexibility in pressure can make for a more natural breathing sensation when wearing CPAP.