For individuals suffering from one of the three forms of sleep apnea (Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Central Sleep Apnea, or Mixed Sleep Apnea), there are three different devices: continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, a bilevel positive airway pressure (bilevel PAP) device, or an automatic positive airway pressure (ARAP) that often provide successful therapy for individuals with any of the three forms of sleep apnea. All of these devices are approximately the size of a shoebox. All of these devices come in different models made by several different manufacturers.
Regardless of the type of sleep disorder diagnosed, sleep disorder is a dangerous medical condition which causes sleep deprivation and oxygen deprivation. If left undiagnosed and/or untreated, sleep disorder can be life-threatening and lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Individuals with the following symptoms should seek medical assistance and testing to determine if they suffer from a type of sleep disorder. Symptoms of sleep disorder include: load snoring accompanied by gasping and snorting sounds; abrupt awakenings with a shortness of breath; insomnia; excessive daytime sleepiness; and problems with concentration and memory.
The CPAP, bilevel PAP, and ARAP devices produce air pressure. All three devices consist of mask is placed over the nose of the individual with sleep apnea and attached via a hose to the device that houses an air pump. The individual with sleep apnea uses this device only while sleeping. Some individuals find the mask uncomfortable or cumbersome, there are various types of masks available, some cover the just the nose and others cover the nose and mouth. Whatever type of mask is used, the mask needs to fit securely.
The continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, as the name applies, provides a constant stream of air pressure from the air pump, via the hose and mask, to the individual with sleep apnea while they are sleeping.
The bilevel positive airway pressure (bilevel PAP) device also provides air pressure from the air pump, via the hose and mask, to the individual with sleep disorder while they are sleeping. But unlike the CPAP machine, the bilevel PAP procedures two different air pressures – a higher pressure when an individual inhales and a lower pressure when the individual exhales.
The APAP device can be set to continuous positive airway pressure mode same as the CPAP but also offers a range of pressures that is not available on either the CPAP or bilevel PAP device. The APAP device automatically adjusts the pressure when a change of pressure is required, for example, when the individual wearing the device changes sleeping position.
When an individual is tested for sleep disorder they undergo a test conducted at a sleep clinic called a polysomnogram (PSG). The PSG monitors the brain waves, eye movement, muscle activity, and heart rhythm of the patient. A patient is said to have sleep disorder if the PSG test defines five or more episodes of apnea (pause in breathing) per hour. Other tests for diagnosing sleep disorder include an Oximetry screening. This is a screening method that monitors and records an individual’s blood oxygen level during sleep. Portable cardiorespiratory testing is also an option. This is a test that is conducted at home to diagnosis sleep disorder.