Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
CPAP is considered the gold standard of sleep apnea treatment because, if used properly, it can provide nearly 100% relief from sleep apnea. CPAP uses a pump to force air via a hose and mask into your airway, pushing your airway open.
However, less than half of people prescribed CPAP can adapt to it or use it long-term. People don’t like CPAP because it is:
- A nuisance to clean and maintain
- Difficult to transport
- Associated with negative side effects
Strapping a mask on your face every night can be uncomfortable for many people. There are multiple mask designs, so it is sometimes possible for people to find a mask that works for them.
The multiple preparations necessary for using CPAP every night can be inconvenient. They typically involve reassembling the hose and mask and setting up accessories like the humidifier.
CPAP components often need to be cleaned daily, with more extensive maintenance necessary at regular intervals. With all the components of a CPAP machine, they can be hard to transport and may be hard to use when you travel.
Many people experience negative side effects from CPAP use, from acne breakouts to gassiness. Although these aren’t serious, they can make CPAP seem unpleasant and not worth the trouble.
Although doctors commonly prescribe CPAP for everyone, it’s only strictly necessary for people with severe sleep apnea or central sleep apnea, which is relatively rare.