CPAP machines are the gold standard of obstructive sleep apnea treatment. But some users find them uncomfortable to the point that they impact treatment compliance. As older models were uncomfortable and difficult to use, several companies have been working to include newer CPAP technologies to help alleviate pain points for improved sleep quality and treatment effectiveness.
Some of these changes involve the breathing machine’s basic functionality to provide a more natural experience to users. While others involve more customization and less invasiveness to deliver a higher level of comfort. Here are four changes that have entered the CPAP machine marketplace over the last couple of years:
Portable CPAP Machines
One of the goals of CPAP breathing treatment is to gain and maintain a sense of normalcy even with obstructive sleep apnea. Innovations in more compact travel machines are helping achieve the balance between effective treatment and enjoying all life has to offer.
Users know how important consistent CPAP use is to their health and are instructed to apply therapy every time they sleep, even for naps. This can be difficult when on a business trip or vacation, especially camping. Designed to be as effective as conventional machines, smaller and more portable CPAP products have much of the functionality of their counterparts and are easy to set up. Battery-powered varieties are made to be more energy-efficient, charging quickly with more use per charge.
CPAP Machines and Accessories for Women
Women can suffer from obstructive sleep apnea too and can have different treatment requirements than men. It’s very important to have properly fitting CPAP accessories including masks, nasal inserts and headgear, both for your comfort and for the effectiveness of your therapy.
Even with the adjustability of these products, it was difficult for some women to find wearable accessories. CPAP machine companies have responded to this need by designing products that fit women’s sizes. These products are now available in varying colors and styles that appeal to women.
Customizable Settings and Personalized Therapy
Every CPAP user has unique sleep needs and new CPAP innovations reflect this. The severity of obstructive sleep apnea can change over time, meaning that what’s right today might not be optimal several months from now. With more options to choose from than ever, CPAP users are can find a machine that works and is comfortable.
A common concern among CPAP machine users is that they find the air pressure being sent into the lungs too invasive and uncomfortable, making it difficult to exhale. Air pressure is an important component of treatment and should never be manually modified without guidance from a medical practitioner. Newer, smarter machines called APAP (automatic positive airway pressure) and BiPAP (bilateral positive airway pressure) work differently to help you breathe more naturally while receiving treatment. These machines adjust automatically according to a patient’s breathing rhythm. Even many basic (and often more affordable) CPAP machine models now come with “flex settings” that allow for decreased pressure when exhaling.
A frustrating aspect of treatment is the immobility users experience while sleeping. In most cases, CPAP machines force you to sleep on your back. Whether it’s due to a hose that doesn’t swivel or a headgear combination that prevents you from sleeping on your side, it can become a pain to use your machine.
Thankfully, new products are emerging that take into account these basic sleep preferences. This advancement doesn’t just improve comfort but it has real therapeutic applications as well. Sleep apnea is often at its worse when the sufferer sleeps on their back. A machine and accessories that allow patients to lay on their side can help alleviate symptoms naturally and improve treatment effectiveness. This natural reduction of obstruction can allow lower machine pressure settings for improved comfort.