If you have sleep apnea, you might use a CPAP machine to keep your upper airway open. It delivers a steady stream of air pressure through a mask worn over the nose to stop the soft tissues in the back of your throat from collapsing. This prevents an obstruction that can cause frequent pauses in breathing while you’re sleeping. Did you know a CPAP can be used for other purposes as well? Recently, the machines have played an influential role in treating patients with COVID-19.
Treating COVID-19 with CPAP Machines
As coronavirus hit the globe, there has been a worldwide shortage of ventilators because of the high amount of cases affecting several nations simultaneously. Patients with severe complications of the virus can struggle to breathe, which has led to a limited number of ventilators available. Doctors have had to turn to other options to help their patients with respiratory distress. One solution involves using CPAP machines to treat COVID-19 patients.
Medics in the UK have been able to reduce mortality rates and promote successful recoveries by modifying CPAP machines that are traditionally used to treat sleep apnea. This has allowed them to provide breathing assistance that doesn’t require intubation. It wasn’t until the ventilator shortage that doctors discovered the ability to modify CPAP machines to help coronavirus patients.
This breakthrough gives doctors more options because it provides a less intrusive solution that’s more comfortable than a breathing tube. This is ideal for those who have milder symptoms, allowing ventilators to be saved for complex cases requiring intubation.
Reducing Hospitalizations using CPAP Machines
More research is still needed to reveal all the benefits of using a CPAP machine to decrease hospitalizations for COVID-19. Nonetheless, clinical evidence supports using them to reduce the burden on hospitals experiencing a shortage of beds. By minimizing the need for ventilators, more patients can remain at home. In fact, China and Italy were able to keep roughly half of coronavirus patients off ventilators using CPAP machines.
Sleep Apnea Patients Using CPAP Machines
If you’re among the 18 million Americans living with obstructive sleep apnea, your CPAP machine is essential for managing your condition if you’re not using an alternative treatment. Although more people are needing CPAP machines amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s best you keep using your device to treat your sleep disorder.
Don’t worry, despite having sleep apnea, there isn’t any evidence that indicates you’re at an increased risk of the virus. If you have signs of coronavirus, or you’ve been diagnosed with it, speak with your doctor about continuing your CPAP treatment to help you breathe easier.
About Dr. Gary Radz
Dr. Gary Radz has earned a trusted reputation in the community for high-quality dental services. In addition, he is specially trained in sleep dentistry. For over 10 years, he has provided oral sleep appliances to use alone or with CPAP machines. If you suffer from sleep apnea, Dr. Radz offers the personalized solutions you need to manage your disorder. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation.