First of all what in the world does CPAP stand for ....or mean
It is amazing how many users of CPAP do not remember or have never been told what those letters mean. Or for that matter many do not understand why they are using CPAP or what it does.
We will in lay terms give you the answers you may have have been seeking.
What do the letters CPAP mean?
Let's start by explaining what a normal respiratory cycle looks like.
Ah yes what is a respiratory cycle?
- A respiratory cycle is one complete breath....breathe in ...breathe out...that is a one respiratory cycle.
- A respriation...breath....begins when the pressure in your lungs reaches zero (0)
- This is called inspiration
- At the end of the breath in...inspiration....a postive pressure has been reached in the lungs
- Breathing out now begins
- This is expiration
- At the end of breathing out....expiration.... zero pressure is again reached
- That is one complete breathing cycle.
- First tested to see if you tested positive for sleep apnea.
- This involved several different test results that the tech was looking for....most importantly...were you getting enough oxygen into your blood while you slept.
- You must understand this is what breathing does....a breath in ...inpiration....allows oxygen to go into your blood.
- So if you are tested positive for sleep apnea most generally your oxygen levels are dropping too low while you sleep.
- Remember we used the word "obstructive"
- This means that something in the airway....hey theres another of those medical words....your airway is the tube...trachea...that runs from your mouth and into your lungs.
- There is a little lid that covers your airway inside the mouth called an epiglottis.
- Somewhere along this tube...airway , there is an obstruction....something in the way of normal air flow.
- An obstruction can be various things that only your phsician can clearly identify.
- So positive?....you have an obstruction.
- Remember, normally, inspiration (breathing in) starts when zero pressure is reached in the lungs.
- Now the tech is going to use some type of mask that he deems necessary.
- This mask will be connected to a CPAP machine
- This machine allows the pressure in your airway to be changed.
- He will deternine what pressure....anywhere from 5cm to 25cm of pressure that is needed to keep your airway open...no obstruction.
- The pressure will be altered through the night to find the optimum pressure needed to keep the oxygen level in your blood at the appropriate level.
- Once the correct pressure has been determined
- This is the pressure that you now will maintain in your air throughout each respiratory cycle.
- You will no longer go to zero pressure at the start of a new breathe
- Hence the term
- Continous .....throughout the respiratory cycle ....both in and out..inspiration and expiration
- Positive.....No more zero pressure at the end of breathing out (expriration)
- Airway....this is the where it is all happening
- Pressure...a measured number....usually in centimeters of water pressure....perscribed by your physician.
- A CPAP machine, mask and accessories will be perscribed by your physician.
- He is very interested that you use the equipment
- Medicare...private insurance.....will most generally pay the bill
- They are interested ....insist that you use it
- Most machines track the amount of time each day that the unit is used.
- Physicians and insurance companies ask for this data.
- To prove that you are using it.
- This is called.... COMPLIANCE