Medication, Devices & Supplements

Importance Of Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) Therapy

What is PAP therapy?

PAP therapy helps people with all levels of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), from mild to severe. It is the most common therapy. PAP Therapy devices help by keeping the airway open during the night. These devices provide a stream of air through a mask you wear while you sleep. The airstream prevents your airway from closing, so you do not stop breathing and wake up during the night. The mask should be fitted to make a proper seal in order to keep your airway open. A good mask seal will prevent air leaks and maintain the correct and consistent level of air pressure. The amount of air pressure needed varies for each person.

CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) devices deliver a constant level of air pressure throughout the night. The level of pressure is determined by your Sleep Technologist. A sleep study may be necessary to determine the adequate pressure setting for you.

APAP (Automatic Positive Airway Pressure) therapy automatically raises or lowers the air pressure as needed during the night.

BPAP (Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure) has two levels of pressure: a higher level when you breathe in and a lower level when you breathe out. If you have a problem with CPAP or APAP, your Respiratory Therapist or Sleep Technologist might have you try BPAP. It is also used when you have OSA along with another breathing disorder.

Type of masks

The most common kind of masks available are:

Nasal Mask: This mask only covers your nose and is the most common type of mask.

Full Face Mask: This mask covers both your nose and mouth. This type of mask may help if you have air leaks when using a nasal mask.

Nasal Pillows: This mask uses soft silicone tubes that fit directly into your nose using nasal pillows. This may help if you have air leaks or do not like the feeling of a mask over your nose or face.

Benefits of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) treatment

How much therapy do I need?

PAP therapy is a lifestyle change. It works best when used every night, for the whole time you are sleeping. You should also use PAP whenever you are napping. Just one night of not using PAP can negatively affect your blood pressure.

How important is PAP therapy?

  • It is the gold standard and most effective treatment for OSA.
  • It reduces the risk of heart attacks, stroke and diabetes. It also lowers your blood pressure.
  • It improves your concentration and can make you more productive at work.
  • It makes you feel more energy and gives you more time with your family.
  • It makes you feel more awake and alert during the day.
  • It improves your health and increases life expectancy.

OSA is a common sleep disorder. If you have OSA, this means that your airway partially or completely collapses while you are sleeping. The airway can collapse repetitively during the night. The air going to the lungs is decreased and your brain wakes your body, so that you can start breathing again. The drop of oxygen and frequent nighttime awakenings negatively impacts your health.

What happens if OSA is untreated?

The risks of untreated OSA include:

  • Heart attacks
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Greater likelihood of diabetes

How can I treat my OSA?

If you have been having symptoms or were recently diagnosed with OSA, you may be wondering what your next step is. The good news is that PAP therapy can prevent or reverse the serious consequences of OSA.

PAP therapy has been shown to help:

  • Blood pressure
  • Mood
  • Memory

© Copyright 2017 Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. All rights reserved.

This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala Healthcare, and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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