Your doctor may recommend CPAP if you have obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP often is the best treatment for adults who have this condition.
Children also can have obstructive sleep apnea. The most common treatment for children is surgery to remove the tonsils and adenoids. If symptoms don't improve after surgery, or if the condition is severe, CPAP may be an option.
If you have sleep apnea symptoms, your doctor may recommend an overnight sleep study. A sleep study measures how much and how well you sleep. It also can show whether you have sleep problems and how severe they are. (For more information, go to "What To Expect Before Using CPAP.")
Your doctor will likely refer you to a sleep specialist for the sleep study. Sleep specialists are doctors who diagnose and treat people who have sleep problems.
A special type of CPAP device is used to treat breathing disorders that are similar to sleep apnea, such as chronic hypoventilation or central sleep apnea.
In these conditions, the airways aren't blocked. However, the brain may not send the signals needed for proper breathing. This causes breaths that are too shallow or slow to meet your body's needs.
In central sleep apnea, you may stop breathing for brief periods. This disorder can occur alone or with obstructive sleep apnea. Only a sleep study can find out which type of sleep apnea you have and how severe it is.
In addition to CPAP, there are other positive airway pressure devices. If you don't feel that CPAP is working for you, ask your sleep specialist about other possible options.
Besides treating sleep apnea and other similar disorders, CPAP also is used to treat preterm infants whose lungs have not fully developed. For example, doctors may use CPAP to treat infants who have respiratory distress syndrome or bronchopulmonary dysplasia.
Treatment with CPAP can improve a preterm infant's chance of survival and reduce the need for other treatments and therapies.
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for CPAP, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
December 26, 2012
Benefits of higher oxygen, breathing device persist after infancy
By the time they reached toddlerhood, very preterm infants originally treated with higher oxygen levels continued to show benefits when compared to a group treated with lower oxygen levels, according to a follow-up study by a research network of the National Institutes of Health that confirms earlier network findings, Moreover, infants treated with a respiratory therapy commonly prescribed for adults with obstructive sleep apnea fared as well as those who received the traditional therapy for infant respiratory difficulties, the new study found.
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