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So WHY does this work?
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ShelaghDB Offline

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Post: #1
So WHY does this work?
New to Sleep Apnea and curious as to WHY this is supposed to work.

We are breathing in Oxygen with pressure......Correct?
So then, WHY does this stop snoring, why does it most importantly put an end to the episodes of non-breating patients experienced before CPAP?

Im not sceptical. I understand it is what it is, I just don't understand how this little machine can put an end to a serious problem as some have, including myself, apparently....since i have been told I have severe apnea.

I remember here in Toronto about a dozen years ago, the rage were oxygen bars.
Scores of urban city people went to these bars and would inhale oxygen, as other bars serve alcohol.

I never walked into one personally and truly had my doubts about it lasting as a fad and come to think of it, now that i am, I don't remember ever hearing anything about these bars again...........
(This post was last modified: 02-23-2014 09:09 AM by ShelaghDB.)
02-23-2014 09:08 AM
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robysue Online
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Post: #2
RE: So WHY does this work?
(02-23-2014 09:08 AM)ShelaghDB Wrote:  New to Sleep Apnea and curious as to WHY this is supposed to work.

We are breathing in Oxygen with pressure......Correct?
Partially correct, partially incorrect. We are breathing normal old room air, not oxygen that is very slightly pressurized relative to the ambient atmospheric pressure when we use a PAP machine.

Quote:So then, WHY does this stop snoring, why does it most importantly put an end to the episodes of non-breating patients experienced before CPAP?
When we are breathing the pressure in our upper airways is in flux: When the diaphragm moves down, that creates more room in the lungs, which reduces the pressure in the upper airway slightly, which allows air to flow in through our nose (or mout) and into our lungs. When the diaphragm moves up, that squeezes the lungs slightly, which increases the pressure in the lungs and upper airway just enough to cause the air to flow out of our lung and out through our nose or mouth.

Now think about the upper airway as a flexible straw or tube: The smooth muscles in our neck keep that airway open as the pressure fluctuates up and down---in particular, they keep the airway open during the switch from exahale (more pressure in the upper airway) to inhale (less pressure in the upper airway). The smooth muscles also keep the tongue and upper palate from collapsing back into the top of the upper airway and blocking it.

In a person with plain old obstructive sleep apnea the problem is this: The muscles needed to keep the upper airway open during all parts of the breathing cycle relax too much and the upper airway collapses at the end of the exhale/beginning of the inhalation when the diaphragm starts to move downward and the pressure in the upper airway is reduced. Or the smooth muscles that keep the tongue and the upper palate out of the airway relax too much and allow one or both to fall into the upper airway and block it.

The way CPAP works is that the continuous positive air pressure provides just enough additional pressure (over ambient air pressure) to make it far more difficult for the upper airway to collapse, particularly during that transition between exhalation and inhalation when the the pressure in the upper airway is at its lowest in the breathing cycle.

To continue with the straw analogy: If there is no additional pressure beyond ambient atmospheric pressure it is relatively easy to pinch a straw and "close" it so that no air can be blown through the straw. If the inside of the straw is pressurized relative to the outside atmospheric pressure, it becomes harder to pinch the straw closed and prevent air from moving through it. That's basically what CPAP does: It adds just enough pressure to the inside of the upper airway to make it more difficult for the airway to collapse. And this bit of extra pressure is also just enough to discourage or prevent the upper palate and tongue from falling back into the airway as well.

And since the CPAP makes it much more difficult for the upper airway to collapse and also makes it much more difficult for the tongue and upper palate to fall back into the upper airway, CPAP prevents the vast majority of "not breathing" episodes from ever happening in the first place.

As for why the CPAP also prevents snoring: Most snoring is caused by the upper palate: When the upper palate starts to fall into the upper airway, but has not fallen far enough to impede the flow of the air, the upper palate starts to vibrate. And those vibrations cause noise that we hear as snoring. The CPAP helps to keep the upper palate out of the airway, and hence the airflow through the upper airway no longer causes the upper palate to vibrate, and so there's no more snoring.


Quote:Im not sceptical. I understand it is what it is, I just don't understand how this little machine can put an end to a serious problem as some have, including myself, apparently....since i have been told I have severe apnea.
Have my explanations helped you understand how a CPAP can help you?
02-23-2014 09:43 AM
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SnuffySleeper Offline

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Post: #3
RE: So WHY does this work?
It's more about the continuous pressure in the airways than the oxygen. The constant pressure in our airways keeps them from collapsing when we sleep. There are two points of collapse most people have behind the nose and throat. For me, when I enter REM sleep, all hell breaks lose and my events (airway collapsing) goes through the roof.

Here is a video that visually explains, which is helpful:



02-23-2014 09:47 AM
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JWR Offline

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Post: #4
RE: So WHY does this work?
We are breathing in Oxygen with pressure......Correct?
So then, WHY does this stop snoring, why does it most importantly put an end to the episodes of non-breating patients experienced before CPAP?



There are some good videos in the Wikipedia area on this site on how CPAP works . I'm sure someone here will post the link . Smile Yes there is pressure but it is just room air unless your using supplemental oxygen . The main purpose is to open your airway by lifting the collapsed area . Here is something to try . Take a balloon and hook it to your cpap machine , it will not blow it up because there is not enough pressure , this shows you the pressure is very low . Next take a Plastic bag and put it on the cpap , it will inflate it as it is inflated and the machine is running press down on the bag , You will see and feel the lifting power . just imagine the bag as the blocked part of your airway and when the cpap pressure is added the airway lifts open , you can breath again Plus stops the snoring . Hope my cliff notes version helps . I'm sure some of the other members that love there keyboards will give you the full version soon . Eat-popcorn

(This post was last modified: 02-23-2014 09:54 AM by JWR.)
02-23-2014 09:48 AM
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c0reDump Offline

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Post: #5
RE: So WHY does this work?
Very detailed response robysue!

ShelaghDB) In Canada, were these "oxygen bars" advertising as medical equipment/clinics for the treatment of Sleep Apnea or other sleeping disorders?
02-23-2014 09:56 AM
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SnuffySleeper Offline

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Post: #6
RE: So WHY does this work?
(02-23-2014 09:56 AM)c0reDump Wrote:  ShelaghDB) In Canada, were these "oxygen bars" advertising as medical equipment/clinics for the treatment of Sleep Apnea or other sleeping disorders?

Being from Toronto it was just a fad here. They offered an increased oxygen percentage to "club kids" and party drinkers for about 2-5 bucks that gave people a quick head rush that when you are drunk or high gave you an extra "jolt" that made you feel light headed..etc...etc...It was actually a form of Oxygen toxicity.

Nothing medical about it as it was for recreational use, in fact a lot of the places are shut down now as the official statement from the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists says that "As health professionals, we cannot ethically or morally support providing oxygen therapy to those who do not require it."

Anyways, it has nothing to do with Cpap, as Cpap is about the pressure in the airways, and oxygen therapy can be added to Cpap but they are two different treatments.
02-23-2014 10:07 AM
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c0reDump Offline

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Post: #7
RE: So WHY does this work?
(02-23-2014 10:07 AM)SnuffySleeper Wrote:  
(02-23-2014 09:56 AM)c0reDump Wrote:  ShelaghDB) In Canada, were these "oxygen bars" advertising as medical equipment/clinics for the treatment of Sleep Apnea or other sleeping disorders?
...Nothing medical about it as it was for recreational use, in fact a lot of the places are shut down now as the official statement from the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists says that "As health professionals, we cannot ethically or morally support providing oxygen therapy to those who do not require it."....

I knew the answer was "No" Smile

Was trying to help the OP to come to the same realization that "oxygen bars" have nothing to do with Sleep Apnea / CPAP treatment. Having the OP get past all the incorrect assumptions they have will get them to accept their diagnosis and increase compliance with the therapy quicker.
02-23-2014 10:47 AM
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SnuffySleeper Offline

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Post: #8
RE: So WHY does this work?
(02-23-2014 10:47 AM)c0reDump Wrote:  
(02-23-2014 10:07 AM)SnuffySleeper Wrote:  
(02-23-2014 09:56 AM)c0reDump Wrote:  ShelaghDB) In Canada, were these "oxygen bars" advertising as medical equipment/clinics for the treatment of Sleep Apnea or other sleeping disorders?
...Nothing medical about it as it was for recreational use, in fact a lot of the places are shut down now as the official statement from the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists says that "As health professionals, we cannot ethically or morally support providing oxygen therapy to those who do not require it."....

I knew the answer was "No" Smile

Was trying to help the OP to come to the same realization that "oxygen bars" have nothing to do with Sleep Apnea / CPAP treatment. Having the OP get past all the incorrect assumptions they have will get them to accept their diagnosis and increase compliance with the therapy quicker.

lol...sorry, I took a blunt hammer to your question and hulk smash! Smile
02-23-2014 11:00 AM
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ShelaghDB Offline

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Post: #9
RE: So WHY does this work?
Although it has now been determined that the Oxygen Bars I spoke of had no bearing on Sleep Apnea for those still curious, here is a link that better explains it as well as shows you a picture of such a contraption in front of young hipsters paying for this oxygen.
Interestingly enough, on that quick google search that I did, it appears that there are a few places still open, unless these ads are terribly out of date.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen_bar



Thanks to everyone for your replies. Now I understand it. They were all very well thought out and easy to understand and yes, even the Cliff Notes explanation using a balloon as a guide was very easy to understand as well.

I just havent yet watched the video which I am off to do as soon as I finish this post ;-)


So now that i do understand it all, I have to wonder IF Sleep Apnea has been with us for centuries but just undiagnosed or if it is a new ailment of the Western world....?
Maybe as we live longer its becoming more prevalent OR the science has only just caught up with it/us?
02-23-2014 11:16 AM
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ShelaghDB Offline

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Post: #10
RE: So WHY does this work?
Quote:Having the OP get past all the incorrect assumptions they have will get them to accept their diagnosis and increase compliance with the therapy quicker.

Oh i have come to terms with the diagnosis and am complying with whats needed. In fact, the doctor and DP or whatever you cal that person have been so uninspiring to deal with, its only because I DO believe in the diagnosis that i am here on this forum today.
They have not made it easy for me, nor explained anything so anything and everything I AM Doing and reading about, is only because i trust you guys far more than I do the doctors.

For that reason, I do accept the diagnosis but am just trying to understand it all and with that comes, what causes this, or how does it work, etc...

The only 2 reasons why I haven't been able to "throw" myself into it yet is partially because we are trying to get the hubby set up at the same time and it seems harder getting everyone together for 2 than it does a single person but at the same time, we don't drive cars (just scooters in the warmer months) so i don't want to make extra trips back and forth to the office.
But we know that despite the delay, as soon as we are set tot go fully, we will...
(This post was last modified: 02-23-2014 11:24 AM by ShelaghDB.)
02-23-2014 11:22 AM
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