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How effective is CPAP therapy for sleep apnea?

CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy is the best treatment for obstructive sleep apnea in most people. Obstructive sleep apnea causes your breathing to stop for small pauses during sleep because your airway becomes temporarily blocked. In CPAP therapy, you wear a mask that is attached to a hose connected to a small machine. The machine pumps air under mild pressure into your lungs and keeps your airway open so you can breathe while sleeping, without the fits and starts of obstructive sleep apnea.

Although CPAP therapy is a very effective treatment for sleep apnea, some people stop the therapy because they find the mask to be uncomfortable or they experience problems such as nosebleeds or a runny or stuffed nose, eye irritation, dry mouth or other symptoms. These problems often lessen as you get used to using and maintaining the CPAP device correctly, but as many as half of CPAP users fail to use the treatment regularly because of these problems.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.