You can make the best of your CPAP machine and aid quick recovery. How? You can track the progress of your therapy and make every necessary adjustment at the right time for the best result. The sole objective of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy is to help you breathe properly at night. This therapy is super effective and can change your sleep experience in a short time. But, things can get better if you know how to determine whether the treatment is giving you the right improvement or not.
How could that be possible? That’s why you need to know about Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI). With this method, you can determine the severity of your sleep apnea symptoms and check how much your body responds to the therapy. In this article, you will know how to use this new technology to optimize the productivity and effectiveness of your cpap machine. You will also know what it means to read AHI on a CPAP machine and how you can make necessary adjustments for the best result. Learn more about personal treatment plan.
Before we start enumerating the points, we must first understand the concept of AHI.
What is AHI?
The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) summarizes the number of times your body reacts to symptoms of apnea or hypopnea in an hour of sleep. Apnea occurs when you experience pauses while sleeping. That pause can occur when your tongue blocks the airway. When apnea happens, you may wake up several times before the night falls. It can also cause a reduction of oxygen in your blood. You already have apnea symptoms when the air stops flowing into your mouth and nose. At this juncture, your chest and abdomen can be moving when you try to breathe.
Hypopnea happens when you swallow air. Though a breathing disorder can have severe complications for your health, it is believed to have lesser health consequences than apnea. Researchers confirm that hypopnea happens when 30% of the air flowing into your airways drops.
What can you use AHI to achieve?
First, one of the best use of AHI is to help you choose the best therapy for your sleep disorder conditions. CPAP machines are best recommended for treating mild, moderate, or severe obstructive or central sleep apnea. Meanwhile, you can choose an oral appliance over a CPAP machine if the case is still at a mild or moderate level of sleep apnea. An oral appliance is a unique mouth guard your dentist specially designed for you. It helps keep down your tongue and prevents it from blocking your airways.
Surgery is another alternative to CPAP machines which is best for treating sleep apnea associated with anatomy. You can also choose positional therapy, which can be helpful if you experience worse sleep apnea symptoms when sleeping on your back. If you would need other treatments, your will dictate.
How You Can Use CPAP Machine to Identify A Breathing Problem
CPAP machine supplies air at a stable pressure and can also deliver short bursts of additional pressure. If there is a blockage in your airways, the CPAP machine can measure the rate at which the inflow of the pressurized air slows down.
In automatic machines, you don’t have to adjust the settings manually. The device has been built with a sense to notice when there is a limitation in the airflow and increases the pressure to make the airway clearer. Meanwhile, the measurements of CPAP machines are not always accurate. If the reading of your machine stays high without proper explanation, it may not be easy to measure the effectiveness of the treatment. And that’s where AHI can help you.
How CPAP Machines Can Help You Solve Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Newer models of CPAP machines are built with unique features known as AHI, which track the number of times you breathe at your existing pressure settings. Each count represents each time you wake up and have a drop in your blood oxygen level.
A CPAP machine will not necessarily solve your sleep apnea problem completely. How far the treatment will go depends partly on the pressure settings your therapist recommended. If your healthcare provider sets the pressure too low, it can cause your upper airway to collapse and lead to continuous apnea or hypopnea symptoms. The symptoms may persist for a long time until your doctor makes some necessary adjustments.
Can your sleep apnea symptoms persist even if you use a CPAP machine?
Yes, your sleep apnea symptoms may persist even when your CPAP machine is functioning perfectly. Older models of CPAP machine doesn’t have the feature to track those irregularities. So, it may e hard to measure how well your entire body responds to the therapy. However, newer models can help you monitor your therapy success and report any detected irregularity in an AHI.
You can see the result on the machine’s display screen or check it on the app on your mobile device. With this AHI report, you can easily monitor how far your CPAP therapy has helped you solve your sleep apnea issues. If the report shows you are still lagging in the treatment journey, your healthcare provider can download the report given by AHI and use the information to create a new plan to see things through.
Can you change your AHI by adjusting the CPAP pressure?
It is possible. As a result, you shouldn’t change your CPAP settings at will. Only your CPAP therapist can categorically state the best setting for you. The therapist would check the average AHI and your overall response to treatment to make the proper adjustment on the machine. Make sure you contact your physician if your AHI report is not encouraging enough and allow him to dictate the following line of action. Although anyone can change the settings on the machine, only your doctor can make the proper judgment in this regard.
The AHI feature on your CPAP machine helps track how well your CPAP treatment benefits your body. You need that function to aid effectiveness and quick recovery. Suppose you are using a newer model of machine. In that case, your therapist will use the information on your AHI readings to know wherever your health needs instant support and take the necessary action to protect your health.