Staying on top of Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep Apnea Sufferers Benefit From CPAP

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Some people have the occasional insomnia or trouble staying asleep. Others suffer from the more serious disorder, sleep apnea, which causes the airways to restrict or collapse and interfere with breathing.

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy, which is often difficult to use or not used properly. But new approaches seem to significantly help patients to get more out of it.

"Ask your doctor about CPAP support."

For sleep apnea patients using CPAP, they have trouble using it properly or sticking to the regimen, especially if a partner or parent is not involved with the treatment. Amy M. Sawyer, assistant professor of nursing, Penn State, and her team have been researching new ways to encourage patients to adhere to the CPAP treatment, and have come up with some innovative approaches.

Sawyer's team analyzed 80 different sleep apnea studies to see what worked best, and what factors were most important in patients adherence to CPAP therapy.

They found that those patients who were proactive, rather than passive, about their disorder were more successful in treating it. The researchers also found that about half of people newly diagnosed with sleep apnea would not use CPAP if the facial mask made them feel claustrophobic.

Several intervention methods helped patients adhere to the treatment, such as using tele-communications, including weekly phone calls and wireless tele-monitoring.

Ultimately, Sawyer's team found that CPAP intervention should be done on an individual case-by-case basis, with the social support of family members or partners. Telecommunications is a good addition, or backup when social support is lacking.

"There is inconsistency in how people use and adhere to CPAP," said Sawyer. "Patients are expected to use CPAP for the eight hours or so that they are asleep. Unfortunately, most patients do not use CPAP for the duration of their sleep time."

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 6, 2011
Last Updated:
December 10, 2011