What Exactly is Sleep Apnea?
CPAP and BiPAP (PAP) units are devices used in the treatment of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes people to frequently stop breathing for short periods of time while sleeping. As a result, they fail to get a restful night's sleep or the oxygen their body needs.
There are different types of sleep apnea, but the most common form is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). People with OSA have an obstruction or blockage in their throat due to such factors as relaxed muscles, a large tongue, extra tissue in the airway, or for a number of other reasons. The air that is delivered creates a pressure that actually splints the airway open. Your physician will prescribe a specific pressure or pressure range based on the results of your sleep study (Polysommnogram).
If left untreated, OSA may increase the risk of high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythm, heart attack, stroke, or even driving or work-related accidents.