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How does it work?

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Biguglygremlin +0 points · over 2 years ago Original Poster Sleep Enthusiast

How and why does CPAP therapy work?

It seems obvious when the CPAP machine is pumping flowing, pressurized air up the nostrils but how far can you back off before it stops working?

A nasal mask doesn't direct it up the nostrils but still works.

The full face mask increases pressure around the face but still seems to work.

Why does pressure outside the body help force air into the body?

Would a diving helmet work?

How about a full-body space suit?

What if we extend the parameters to a pressurized room or bubble or humidi-crib?

CPAP has to fail at some point because it doesn't just depend on increased pressure.

Is the effect due to internal pressure versus external pressure at the throat and perhaps even the lungs?

If so equalizing or increasing the external pressure below the chin would nullify the effect.

Would creating a vacuum around the throat have the same effect as CPAP therapy?

Apnea is significantly affected by gravity, which causes both weight and 'normal' air pressure but is also directional.

What role does CPAP play in those effects?

Should we increase the pressure settings to compensate for the weight of heavy blankets in winter?

Could those extra blankets contribute to Apnea and the high death rates at that time of year?

Is there a link between Apnea and cot deaths?

Too many questions?

Somewhere in the dim past, I recall Julius Sumner Miller regularly asking ...

"WHY is it so?"

Of course, he often spoke of "a glas' an' a haf" which might also contribute to Apnea.

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Sierra +0 points · over 2 years ago Sleep Patron

A lot of questions... I will try to answer a few. We are all under atmospheric pressure which in CPAP pressure units is about 1,000 cm of water. The reason we are not crushed by this pressure is that we open our mouths and noses and the pressure is equalized from outside to inside of the body. A CPAP upsets this balance and tries to increase the pressure inside the lungs by a very small amount of 4-20 cm of water using a blower. As the pressure on the outside stays the same, the higher pressure inside the airway expands the passage. That is the whole basis of CPAP. If you think of those new style collapsible garden hoses, it is kind of the same thing. More pressure inside the hose makes it expand out and allow water flow through it.

I don't think heavy blankets would be enough to reduce any flow in significantly. Your body constantly monitors the CO2 levels in your blood to increase and decrease breathing effort to compensate. You asked about a vacuum around the outside of the throat, and yes, in theory that would work, but may be hard to achieve in practice.

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Biguglygremlin +0 points · over 2 years ago Original Poster Sleep Enthusiast

I live in a crazy world, a world without boxes, a world of chaos, but the interesting thing about chaos is that everything is connected and there are endless shifting patterns.

I agree that the vacuum might have a small benefit, largely because it is the opposite to increased pressure, both of which might impact on obstructions in the windpipe, but that brings us back to the blankets and Google is rather vague on that subject.

Some parameters might be helpful.

Most people nowadays buy quilts or doonas or ultra-lightweight acrylic blankets all of which are thick and fluffy and relatively light.

As with all things human, there is a trend in the opposite direction with deliberately weighted blankets that are guaranteed to cure cancer and prevent alien abductions. They even come in a version with metal rings which might help you sleep better when the partner is really miffed. (Just joking folks!)

My above query was not referring to any of those but just to the older style wool or cotton blankets that are thin, but relatively heavy.

In my imagining there can be little doubt that if someone is lying on their back and have three or four of those bunched up and tucked under the chin the weight directly on the throat would almost certainly compound any existing breathing difficulties even without the added weight on the chest and if you take the CPAP out of the picture and really chill the room the tendency to snuggle down, under the blankets, would drop oxygen levels significantly in those already pre-disposed.

It is ironic, and disconcerting, that so many of the searches to do with breathing problems amongst the aging echo back to the same issues for babies.

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