A system and method for controlling and monitoring externally administered breathing air pressure in a series of cycles. During each cycle, the breathing air pressure starts at a base value and is slowly and progressively increased then rapidly reduced to the base value. If the control and monitoring system detects changes consistent with the presence of upper airway obstruction, the values of breathing air pressure for the next cycle are changed to a higher pressure range. A plurality of vital signs may be monitored and included in the breathing air pressure control system. Information obtained during this procedure is subsequently used to determine the most appropriate externally administered breathing airflow pressure for that person.