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Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy

CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is a treatment that uses mild air pressure to keep your airways open. CPAP typically is used for people who have breathing problems, such as sleep apnea.

CPAP treatment is done using a CPAP machine. CPAP machines have three main parts:

  • A mask or other device that fits over your nose or your nose and mouth. Straps keep the mask in place while you're wearing it.
  • A tube that connects the mask to the machine's motor.
  • A motor that blows air into the tube.

Some CPAP machines have other features as well, such as heated humidifiers. CPAP machines are small, lightweight, and fairly quiet. The noise that they make is soft and rhythmic.

CPAP has many benefits. It can:

  • Keep your airways open while you sleep
  • Correct snoring so others in your household can sleep
  • Improve the quality of your sleep
  • Relieve symptoms of sleep apnea, such as excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Decrease or prevent high blood pressure

Many people who use CPAP report feeling better once they begin treatment. They feel more attentive and better able to work during the day. They also report fewer complaints from bed partners about snoring and sleep disruption.