Have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea? If so, your doctor has probably prescribed a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. When used as prescribed, these machines can make a significant difference in your overall quality of life. Furthermore, they may also prevent you from developing a variety of serious health issues.
A Brief Overview of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that affects an individual’s quality of sleep and overall health. During an average night, someone with this disorder may have 60 apneas, or brief periods of time when they stop breathing, every hour.
In the United States alone, it is estimated that 18 million people suffer with sleep apnea. It is believed that 1 in 50 Americans with this condition remain undiagnosed. While women are diagnosed with sleep apnea, men usually have it twice as often.
Health Risks Associated with Untreated Sleep Apnea
When people remain untreated, they are more likely to develop serious health conditions. They are, for example, 4 times more likely to have a stroke than those without sleep apnea. Furthermore, they are also 3 times more likely to have some type of heart disease. The National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research reports that sleep-apnea-related cardiovascular issues are linked to 38,000 deaths every year.
The Importance of Following Prescription Guidelines
When someone is prescribed medication, they will usually follow their doctor’s guidelines for taking this medication. While the same should apply with CPAP machine prescriptions, it has been determined that up to 80% of patients may not be using these as prescribed. Studies have shown that nearly 50% of patients are no longer using their CPAP machine after 1 to 3 weeks.
In order to experience positive results, as well as to continue receiving insurance coverage, it’s important to use CPAP machines as prescribed. While an individual’s physician may have other recommendations, there are basic guidelines. Over a 30-day period, it is recommended that CPAP machines should be used for a minimum of 4 hours per night, or 70% or the time.
When used as prescribed, CPAP machines can assist individuals with receiving the oxygen they need while sleeping. Since this condition is linked with other serious health issues, following a physician’s guidelines is of the utmost importance.