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Focus on the Health Benefits of CPAP continued...

"Very few people like CPAP, but they love the outcome," Kryger tells WebMD. Kryger says that using CPAP improves heart rhythms in some people. (Abnormal heart rhythms can increase the risk of stroke.) CPAP use may also reduce high blood pressure, at least a little.

Many people also feel that using CPAP makes them less of a danger to themselves and others – when driving, for example, or operating machinery. "In terms of safety issues, they are not going to be a hazard due to daytime sleepiness," Kryger says.

Consider CPAP a Gift to Your Bed Partner

Often, the bed partner of someone with obstructive sleep apnea has a sleep problem too -- brought on by the constant awakenings and snoring of the person with apnea. The interruptions can be bad enough to drive the partner from the bedroom altogether, some research suggests. So Kryger tells people the treatment will likely improve their lives and the lives of those they love.

In return for the gift of better sleep, you might ask your partner not to pressure you about using the device. In a study published in Sleep and Breathing, researchers found that people whose spouses pressured them to use the CPAP actually used it less often.

Learn All You Can About the CPAP

It's not enough for you to be handed a mask, machine, and instruction book, Kryger says. Ideally, a representative from the company providing the device should deliver it and demonstrate it.

Numerous manufacturers offer CPAP machines, so it's a consumer's market. Ask your doctor to request a representative and a demonstration when he writes the order for the machine. You can also take advantage of the manufacturers’ 800 numbers.

When the CPAP device is delivered, you and the representative can double-check that the machine and the mask are exactly what were ordered. With so many models and varieties, Kryger says, it's crucial to be sure you got what the doctor ordered.

You should learn what pressure is recommended for you and other basic facts about the machine. The representative should also be able to answer any questions you have or to get answers for you. 

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