What is a CPAP Machine?
A CPAP Machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine) is a device used to treat snoring and sleep apnoea. It comes with a mask that you wear over your nose (and sometimes your mouth) during sleep, and the mask connects to the machine with a hose.
Snoring and sleep apnoea occur when the soft palate at the back of your throat hangs down and blocks the airway. A CPAP Machine ensures a steady, continuous flow of air into the nasal passage with just enough pressure to keep your airway open and free from obstruction.
Common problems with CPAP Machines
Some patients find the CPAP Machine uncomfortable or difficult to sleep with. If any air is leaking through the mask, the machine beeps to wake you up and adjust it. You can turn this setting off, but then you won’t be alerted to air leaking, which could mean that your CPAP Machine won’t work as effectively.
You can travel with your CPAP Machine, but you have to consider the voltage of the location you’re going to, and you may need to get a converter or a battery pack.
A CPAP Machine is also not a cure for snoring and sleep apnoea, it’s a treatment. Though it is effective, a CPAP Machine only works while you wear it. Some patients see the CPAP as a bit of a life sentence, but you have to weigh this against the other health risks of long term snoring and sleep apnoea.
Why are CPAP Machines so common?
CPAP Machines are so common because they work, and they’ve been known to work for a long time. The CPAP Machine for snoring and sleep apnoea was developed, researched and brought into practice in the 1970s and 1980s. At the time, surgery was the main alternative to using a CPAP Machine, and any surgery comes with risks.
Non-surgical alternatives have been developed since then, such as non-invasive laser treatments.
Alternatives to CPAP Machines
Laser treatments can help overcome issues associated with CPAP Machines. The laser is used to treat the soft palate at the back of the throat. It uses controlled heat energy to stimulate collagen in the deeper tissues of the soft palate. The collagen fibres start to regenerate and tighten the soft palate so that it no longer hangs down into the throat during the sleep.
The benefit of a laser treatment for snoring is that you don’t have to wear an uncomfortable device or keep any equipment around. Most patients who have the laser treatment say that the discomfort level during treatment is similar to a sore throat from a cold. This feeling normally subsides within a couple of days. It is important that you have the treatment done by a qualified professional in a safe and reputable clinic.
Like the CPAP Machine, laser snoring treatments are a treatment for snoring, not a cure. This means that most patients require an initial course of three treatments, after which you’ll likely require maintenance treatments once or twice a year.