Continuous positive airway pressure therapy uses a machine to help a person who has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) breathe more easily during sleep. A CPAP machine increases air pressure in your throat so that your airway doesn’t collapse when you breathe in. When you use CPAP, your bed partner may sleep better too.
You use CPAP at home every night while you sleep. The CPAP machine will have one of the following:
A mask that covers your nose and mouth.
A mask that covers your nose only—called nasal continuous positive airway pressure, or NCPAP (this type of mask is most common).
Prongs that fit into your nose.
What To Expect After Treatment
It may take time for you to become comfortable with using CPAP. If you can’t get used to it, talk to your doctor. You might be able to try another type of mask or make other adjustments.
Why It Is Done
CPAP is the most effective nonsurgical treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. It is the first treatment choice for adults and the most widely used.
How Well It Works
CPAP is effective for treating sleep apnea:
Research shows that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) decreases daytime sleepiness, especially in those who have moderate to severe sleep apnea.
Studies show that in people who have moderate to severe sleep apnea, nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP) lowers blood pressure during both the day and the night.
CPAP is better than other nonsurgical methods for treating obstructive sleep apnea.
People with coronary artery disease who use CPAP for sleep apnea are less likely to have heart problems such as heart failure.