CPAP systems are one of the most feared medical devices of our time. They have been known to cause panic attacks and keep people from sleeping. So why are they regarded as a miracle cure and used to treat sleep apnea?
The answer is that they work, and work well when they can be tolerated. However, there are two sides to every story and everything you need to know about CPAP systems is below. I’ll start by telling you about some of the common issues people run into with these units.
The price of a full CPAP system is really a tough pill for most of us to swallow. Some of these devices cost $1,000 or more. That’s only for the system’s main unit.
It’s quite easy to spend $1,500 on a whole set up. In addition to the main unit, you also need a mask, tubes, and a few other items. This makes it one of the most expensive solutions available alongside corrective surgery.
You must also think about the fact that components of any machine wear out and must be changed. Unfortunately this is also true for CPAP systems.
When the initial price of the system is so high, the maintenance really adds up. It’s not the 90’s anymore, times are tight. On top of initial cost and maintenance, you can expect to make regular trips to your doctor’s office after you start using this kind of system.
You should take into consideration how well you can handle expenses of that size on your own. There is a very realistic chance that your insurance company either won’t give you much towards one of these systems or they may not cover any of it.
This varies from one health insurance company to another, but be ready to handle the expense yourself if you have to go with a CPAP.
Another matter is the comfort problem. The majority of the CPAP masks available look pretty close to something you would see a hazmat cleanup worker wearing. Some of the newer masks aren’t as big and bulky, but they still aren’t small.
The mask can also be a problem if you are claustrophobic. This is where some of the stories about anxiety and panic attacks come from. If you are claustrophobic then I’m sure you already know that putting something over most of your face isn’t a great idea.
The upside to this solution is the fact that since it’s an actual medical device all the products out there are of similar quality. The features along with the brand name of the unit are the reasons behind most of the price differences.
There are a couple kinds of different CPAP systems.
The first kind supplies a continuous amount of air pressure which you manually set before sleeping. This is the original system and the kind most people get stuck with because the next kind is so much more expensive.
The second kind of CPAP regulates the air pressure automatically. You don’t have to set it, you just turn it on and it calculates what you need to breathe properly. Once it’s running you can just roll over and try to go to sleep.
A CPAP system should not be used to prevent or reduce ordinary snoring. These devices are for treating sleep apnea. Purchasing any of these devices to prevent ordinary snoring is similar to purchasing a brand new car because the one you’re driving needs an oil change. It’s just ridiculous and could actually end up doing more harm than good.
The way the system works is pretty unique. The name constant positive airway pressure indicates this apparatus essentially forces you to breathe and at the same time it keeps enough air pressure in your airway to keep it wide open.
It functions this way to alleviate the fundamental issue that all sleep apnea sufferers have, complete or near complete blockage of the airway. Whenever you’ve got a CPAP on it’s in control of your breathing and keeping your airway open, not you.
The amount of control you give up while using a CPAP is something many folks have issues with. It’s just human nature to want to control your own body, particularly something as critical as breathing.
This lack of control is one reason for the anxiety attacks and stress some sleep apnea sufferers encounter when using one of these systems. This is in addition to the anxiety and panic attacks caused by just the mask.
Overall the CPAP system is effective, although it’s not ideal for many folks. Even people that have severe sleep apnea frequently hunt for an alternative.
I’d be very happy to get away from something like this also. Although once you need a CPAP you have very few other options, you still may want to give a tongue retaining mouthpiece a try.
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