Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on August 29, 2014

Sources

National Center for Biotechnology Information: "Long-term compliance with continuous positive airway pressure in patients with obstructive sleep apnea.". UpToDate: "Adherence with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).". National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "What Is Sleep Apnea?". National Jewish Health: "After Watching Disturbing Video, CPAP Usage Soars.".National Sleep Foundation: "Sleep Apnea.". American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine: "Obstructive Sleep Apnea.".

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Video Transcript

Dr. Michael Smith: A CPAP can be a life changer, but many people – maybe 50% or more – don’t use it even if their doctor recommends it. It’s prescribed to help people with obstructive sleep apnea, which happens when your airway is blocked and you briefly stop breathing while you sleep. It pushes air into your throat to open up those airways, so you can breathe more easily. John Brugger (Broo –ger) wasn’t so good about using his CPAP, until he got a major wake-up call.

John Brugger: “A powerful moment in my life. Made me cry watching it. Still vivid in my mind seeing what my body was going through at night, you just don’t realize it.”

Dr. Michael Smith: He agreed to be monitored overnight in a sleep lab, where he could be videotaped. This is what he saw: (clip of him struggling to breathe) Seeing the video made John realize that apnea is no joke.

John Brugger: “To see myself basically drowning in my bed … made me very determined to fix that.”

Dr. Michael Smith: A CPAP machine is a life saver – sleep apnea makes you more prone to heart attack or even heart failure. But CPAP helps prevent that. If you’re struggling with a CPAP machine yourself, don’t just stop using it. Whatever problems you’re having, your doctor can help solve them. It takes some getting used to, but the payoff is huge … a good night’s sleep, more awake during the day, and, better long-term health. For WebMD, I’m Dr. Michael Smith.