General Practice 2022

CPAP: what é, what it is for and how to use it

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CPAP: what é, what it is for and how to use it
CPAP: what é, what it is for and how to use it

The CPAP is a device that is used during sleep to try to reduce the occurrence of sleep apnea, preventing snoring at night and improving the feeling of tiredness during the day.

This device creates a positive pressure in the airways that prevents them from closing, allowing air to be constantly passing from the nose, or mouth, to the lungs, which does not happen in cases of sleep apnea.

CPAP must be prescribed by a doctor and is usually used when other simpler techniques, such as losing weight or using nasal strips, have not been enough to help you breathe better during sleep.

What is it for

CPAP is essentially indicated for the treatment of sleep apnea, which manifests itself through other signs and symptoms, such as snoring at night and tiredness for no apparent reason during the day.

In most cases, CPAP is not the first form of treatment for sleep apnea, and the doctor gives preference to other options, such as weight loss, the use of nasal strips or even the use of nasal sprays. See more about the different options for treating sleep apnea.

How to use CPAP

To use the CPAP correctly, the device must be placed near the head of the bed, and then follow the step-by-step instructions:

  • Put the mask on your face, with the device off;
  • Adjust the mask straps, so that it is tight;
  • Lie down on the bed and adjust the mask again;
  • Turn on the device and breathe only through the nose.

At first it is normal for the use of CPAP to be a little uncomfortable, especially when trying to get air out of the lungs. However, during sleep the body has no difficulty exhaling and there is no risk of stopping breathing.

It is important that you always try to keep your mouth closed when using CPAP, as opening the mouth causes air pressure to escape, causing the device to no longer be able to force air into the airways.

If the physician has prescribed a nasal spray to facilitate the initial phase of CPAP use, use them as directed for at least 2 weeks.

How the device works

The CPAP is a device that sucks air from the room, passes the air through a dust filter and sends that air under pressure into the airways, preventing them from closing. Although there are several types of models and brands, all should produce a constant stream of air.

Main types of CPAP

Major types of CPAP include:

  • Nasal CPAP: is the least uncomfortable CPAP, which only blows air through the nose;
  • Facial CPAP: used when it is necessary to breathe air through the mouth as well.

Depending on the type of snoring and sleep apnea, the pulmonologist will indicate the most suitable type of CPAP for each person. See when nasal CPAP is indicated and how to use it.

Cautions when using CPAP

After starting the use of CPAP, and during the first few times, it is normal to have small problems that can be solved with some care. These problems include:

1. Feeling of claustrophobia

Because it is a mask that is constantly stuck to the face, some people can go through periods of claustrophobia.A good way to overcome this problem is often to ensure that the mouth is properly closed. That's because, the air passing from the nose to the mouth can cause a slight feeling of panic.

2. Constant sneezing

In the first days of CPAP use, sneezing is common due to irritation of the nasal mucosa, however, this symptom can improve with the use of sprays that, in addition to hydrating the mucous membranes, also reduce inflammation. These sprays can be ordered from the physician who advised the use of CPAP.

3. Dry throat

Like sneezing, the sensation of a dry throat is also relatively common in those who start using CPAP. This happens because the constant jet of air produced by the device ends up drying the nasal and oral mucous membranes. To improve this discomfort, you can try to humidify the air in the room more, placing a basin with warm water inside, for example.

How to clear the CPAP

To ensure correct operation, the CPAP mask and tubes must be cleaned every day, using only water and avoiding the use of soap. Ideally, cleaning should be done first thing in the morning to allow the appliance time to dry until next use.

The CPAP dust filter must also be changed, and it is recommended that you do this task when the filter is visibly dirty.

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