Will a Nasal or Nasal Pillow Mask Work Better for Me?

When diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), many people can become overwhelmed at the number of choices they need to narrow down to effectively begin continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment.  One of the most important pieces of equipment you will need to choose is what type of CPAP mask would work best for you.  Your CPAP mask is the channel through which your pressurized therapy air is delivered into your airway, preventing apneas from occurring and keeping you breathing smoothly during the night.  There are many types of CPAP masks, but this post will focus on the nasal and nasal pillow masks.

Nasal
Nasal Mask

Both the nasal and nasal pillow CPAP masks deliver your therapy air through the nose exclusively.  These masks are ideal for people who breathe through their nose a majority of the time while sleeping.  However, even if you breathe through your mouth for a small portion of the time, these masks can be used in conjunction with a chin strap, an elastic strap that attaches to your mask and fits under your jaw to help keep your mouth closed.  Chin straps can be an important feature of these nasal oriented masks in order to ensure that your therapy is effective; if your mouth is open, the pressurized air can’t work to keep your airway open!

Nasal Pillow Mask
Nasal Pillow Mask

The differences between these masks are noticeable in their design.  Nasal masks are similar in design to a full face mask but smaller, with a triangle shape that covers the entire nose.  This can have a bulkier feel that some people find uncomfortable, however, it also provides a very stable seal that works well for people who move around a lot while sleeping.  Nasal pillow masks consist of a sleeker design, with two nasal pillows that insert into the nostril opening.  This is a more minimal design that only covers the bottom of the nose and the space between your nose and mouth.  The less intrusive design is ideal for those who stay relatively still while sleeping, as the smaller design can be more easily dislodged from tossing and turning.  Overall, this really comes down to personal comfort preference.  Both masks are completely functional at delivering your CPAP therapy, so whatever you find more comfortable should work perfectly!

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to the nasal masks, but hopefully you now have a better idea of if it will work for you. Of course, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

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If you have any needs, concerns, or questions, visit our main website at http://www.cpapplus.com/

We would love to hear your comments or questions.

What is an Oral Appliance?

Some people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) decide to abstain from traditional continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment for a number of reasons.  Things like a mild form of OSA or extreme discomfort with traditional CPAP equipment can cause patients to opt for something different like an oral appliance.  Oral appliances are one of the newest treatment options approved by the FDA to treat mild to moderate OSA and many users find their less intrusive design ideal.

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Oral appliances are actually very similar in concept to a basic mouthguard.  They are inserted into the mouth but cover both the top and bottom teeth.  They treat OSA by adjusting the position of the jaw, jutting it forward slightly in order to prop open your airway, preventing airway closure in the process.  The oral appliance contains an adjustable setting that is set by your doctor to fit your jaw, and often it is recommended that you check this often to make sure it hasn’t shifted as this can cause unwanted issues.  

The advantages of using an oral appliance are many.  For one, they cost a fraction of the price of traditional CPAP machines which include numerous other parts that need to be replaced regularly.  They are also often the preferred method of treatment for those who suffer from mild OSA, as the oral appliance is less intrusive but is still able to prevent apneas.  Many users find oral appliances ideal for travel as well.  They are extremely compact, discreet, and don’t require any additional cords or parts to be functional.  These and other reasons may push you to try an oral appliance, but be sure to speak with your doctor to determine if your OSA can be effectively treated by one.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to the oral appliance, but hopefully you now have a better idea of if it will work for you. Of course, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

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If you have any needs, concerns, or questions, visit our main website at http://www.cpapplus.com/

We would love to hear your comments or questions.

Three Reasons to Use Your CPAP

Adjusting to your CPAP therapy can be difficult, but there are plenty of reasons why it should still be used.  Many new users find the transition into CPAP therapy uncomfortable, and therefore decide to stop using it thinking it isn’t really a big deal.  Unfortunately, not treating your sleep apnea can result in a variety of problems.  Here are a few great reasons why using your CPAP equipment nightly can benefit your health and mood:

Improve Your Overall Health

Of course, the number one reason to continue using your CPAP equipment is to treat your sleep apnea!  Preventing the instances of apneas while you sleep keeps you breathing steadily throughout the night, allowing you to rest more easily.  This results in a better night’s sleep and a better mood throughout the day, keeping you productive and happy.

Keep Better Relationships

Using your CPAP equipment regularly as advised by your doctor, you can improve your overall mood from someone who hates getting up in the morning to a person who can’t wait to see what the day brings.  This shift in attitude can greatly affect your relationship with your spouse, coworkers, and friends.  Not to mention, studies have shown that treating your sleep apnea can even help take care of issues with low libido!  Keep up with your therapy to keep up with your social life.  

Avoid Other OSA Related Health Issues

Sleep apnea has been linked to a number of other diseases.  Ailments like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure have all been suggested to occur at a higher instance in those who do not treat their sleep apnea.  Continuing with your treatment can help save you a ton of money in the long run by avoiding these unwanted health issues.  Keep up with your CPAP therapy and help decrease your chance of developing these related complications.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive outline of the benefits of CPAP therapy, but hopefully you now have a better idea of why you should keep it up. Of course, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

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If you have any needs, concerns, or questions, visit our main website at http://www.cpapplus.com/

We would love to hear your comments or questions.

What are the Different Types of CPAP Machines?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

AirSense 10 CPAP Machine

CPAP machines are the most basic air pressure machine used to treat your sleep apnea.  Like all other machines this post will cover, this therapy works by delivering pressurized air through your airway in order to keep it open while you sleep.  This helps to eliminate the instances of apneas, where your airway closes and you actually stop breathing.  CPAP machines have one pressure setting, prescribed by your doctor, that the machine will run on throughout the night.

Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP)

Respironics PR System One BiPAP Machine

BiPAP machines are considered a step up from traditional CPAP machines.  They are able to toggle between two separate pressure settings in order to provide more comfort for the user.  Typically, these pressure settings are set to an inhalation pressure and an exhalation pressure, offering a higher and lower setting respectively.  Many users report that they are more comfortable with this type of machine because it offers an easier time exhaling, making them more comfortable.

Auto-adjusting CPAP (APAP)

dreamstationAPAP machines are the most sophisticated form of CPAP treatment and are often reserved for patients with severe sleep apnea.  Unlike CPAP and BiPAP machines, these machines are able to automatically register the amount of pressure needed to keep your airway open, even adjusting breath by breath if necessary.  Because of this ability, these machines are even capable of adjusting your pressure based on your sleeping position, any weight gain or loss, or things like alcohol consumption that could effect how you are breathing.  

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive outline of the different machines, but hopefully you now have a better idea of what might work best for you. Of course, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

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If you have any needs, concerns, or questions, visit our main website at http://www.cpapplus.com/

We would love to hear your comments or questions.

How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?

There are many ways that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can manifest itself, and the symptoms can be different from person to person.  Because of this, it is very important to talk to your doctor if you are worried you may have developed OSA so you can get the treatment you need to stay healthy.  The most concrete symptom of OSA is the occurrence of apneas, an instance where you actually stop breathing in your sleep.  This is caused by a partial collapse of your airway and can actually be noticeable by your partner due to the dangerous lack of breathing that occurs.  Alongside these apneas, you may have been told you are a loud snorer or sometimes cough or sputter after these apneas happen.

There can also be less obvious signs of OSA.  Many people notice that when they wake up, they experience an overall feeling of exhaustion.  This is due to the limited deep sleep that those with untreated OSA experience, as your body needs to continuously wake you up in order to stop the instance of apneas.  This tiredness can carry into your day to day life, affecting your mood and job performance.  Some people have even reported falling asleep behind the wheel, so this symptom can become quite dangerous.

Because of these symptoms, untreated OSA is a lot more serious than many people tend to believe.  Luckily, however, the use of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure treatment (CPAP) can eliminate these symptoms all together.  CPAP works by sending pressurized air through your airway to eliminate dangerous apneas.  As a result, you sleep more soundly and are therefore better rested throughout the day.  The pressurized air also eliminates snoring, providing better rest for your partner as well.  After initial adjustment, CPAP users often find they perform better at work and have better relationships with loved ones due to a healthier overall mood.  Start your journey to better health with us today!

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource of all OSA symptoms, but hopefully you now have a better idea of what to look out for. Of course, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

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If you have any needs, concerns, or questions, visit our main website at http://www.cpapplus.com/

We would love to hear your comments or questions.

What are Some Features of APAP Machines?

Auto-adjusting positive airway pressure (APAP) machines are all the rage lately.  Unlike a traditional CPAP machine which is set on only one pressure, APAP machines are able to automatically adjust to the pressure required to keep your airway open yet keep you comfortable.  These machines are a great option for patients who find their pressure changes throughout the night as they can adjust even between breaths; your doctor can let you know if an APAP machine might work best for you.  

There are a number of new AutoPAPs available on the market.  One of the most popular is the DreamStation Auto PAP by Respironics.  This top of the line machine adjusts to your required pressure flawlessly and even has A-Flex pressure relief that helps to reduce discomfort while exhaling.  Nowadays you can even hook up your machine to your smartphone via bluetooth, and the Respironics DreamStation app will sync automatically so you can share your therapy data with your doctor easily.  The modern design of this machine make it ideal to fit into your decor and lifestyle.  Many users of the DreamStation compliment the sleek design, stating that it could easily pass as a clock or music player on your bedside table.  All of these great features make the DreamStation a great option to treat your obstructive sleep apnea.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource of all APAP machines, but hopefully you now have a better idea of the multitude of machines there are to choose from. Of course, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

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If you have any needs, concerns, or questions, visit our main website at http://www.cpapplus.com/

We would love to hear your comments or questions.

How Do I Care for My CPAP Equipment?

The best way to ensure a long lifespan for your CPAP equipment is to make sure it is properly cared for.  There are a multitude of ways to keep your machine, mask, and other parts serve you as best as possible.  The number one thing to do is to wash your CPAP components regularly with soap and warm water several times a week.  Using gentle, unscented products will help reduce any chance of eroding any vital components.  Aside from normal cleaning and care, there are a number of products that can aid you to clean your CPAP equipment.

One of the most popular products is a simple mask cleanser or wipe.  These products are used daily on your CPAP mask and contain gentle disinfectants that remove harmful bacteria that can accumulate on your mask.  Removing them improves the quality of your therapy air and can help improve how you feel as a result.  Other simple tools you can use are a CPAP tube brush.  This brush can help you scrub the interior of your CPAP tubing with cleanser to eliminate particles that can accumulate.  Removing particle buildup and bacteria will help reduce irritants so you get the best therapy quality possible.

There are more sophisticated devices that you can use to care for your CPAP equipment.  Products from the SoClean line can actually clean your entire set of products with not much work on your part.  All you need to do is hook up your machine and mask via your CPAP tubing and the machine removes dust, bacteria, and even mold that can be present.  Keeping your CPAP equipment clean is one of the easiest ways to keep your therapy as healthy as possible and to wake up feeling refreshed.  

 

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource of CPAP cleaners, but hopefully you now have a better idea of products that can help you keep your therapy as clean as possible. Of course, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

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If you have any needs, concerns, or questions, visit our main website at http://www.cpapplus.com/

We would love to hear your comments or questions.

Which CPAP Humidifier is Right for Me?

Transitioning into Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy can be challenging.  With so many machines, masks, and parts to choose from it is certainly overwhelming when faced with seemingly endless decisions about the direction of your therapy.  What about a humidifier?  If you’ve found yourself waking with a dry or sore throat after using your CPAP equipment, you may want to consider adding a humidifier to your regimen.  There are a few different types of humidifiers.  Humidifiers either fit into your existing CPAP machine or can be hooked onto it in succession, adding much needed moisture to your therapy air.  Here are a few types to consider:

Passover Humidifiers

Passover humidifiers work by directing your therapy air over a basin of room temperature water to allow moisture to be picked up.  The humidity setting of this set up cannot be adjusted, it is purely dependent on the climate it is in: if your area is colder, less humidity will make its way in, and if it is a warmer area, more humidity will be present.  Because of the non heated nature, many CPAP users find that passover humidifiers work best in warmer, drier areas.

Heated Humidifiers

Heated humidifiers add moisture to your therapy by heating up water and allowing it to easily evaporate and integrate itself into your therapy.  These settings can be adjusted by changing the level of heat going into your humidifier water.  Many of these fit with one or a few specific machines, but there are options for stand alone humidifiers that connect to your machine via tubing and are compatible with a variety of machines.  Due to the adjustable nature of heated humidifiers, they are more versatile and work in a wider range of climates.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource of CPAP humidifiers, but hopefully you now have a better idea of which type may work better for you. Of course, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

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If you have any needs, concerns, or questions, visit our main website at http://www.cpapplus.com/

We would love to hear your comments or questions.

Why Does the TSA Require Me to Display my CPAP Machine?

Travelling is a beautiful past time, and many Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) patients who experience Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) naturally love to travel. That being said, patients are often surprised when they have to remove their CPAP machine while passing through the Transit Security Authority checkpoints at all major airports. The logic is that since the CPAP machine has moving electronic parts, an individual could reasonably hide a weapon or explosive inside without detection similar to a laptop. As a result, hundreds of thousands of CPAP using travelers have had the displeasure of removing their machine during the security process.

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To Check or Not to Check?

The obvious choice then, is to simply check your luggage with your CPAP machine and mask so that you can quickly bypass the TSA line. Not so fast. According to Travel & Leisure Magazine, nearly 1.8 million pieces of checked luggage were lost in 2012. That’s a staggering number, and you could run the risk of losing the luggage that holds your CPAP equipment. Imagine your Hawaiian vacation encumbered with the effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea – not so fun, right?

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Then What Can I Do?

Sadly, you just have to play the game and work through the hassle. One tip is to carry your doctor’s prescription in your CPAP travel bag. This document serves as a type of insurance in the event that the TSA agents question you about your Sleep Apnea and your affiliation with the CPAP machine. You can display your document and add legitimacy in the event of an issue, so you can continue passing through security and onto the flight uninterrupted. After all, Maui is waiting.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource, but hopefully you now have a better understanding of how to accommodate the TSA security process. If you have a vacation home or cottage, consider purchasing a second CPAP machine to leave there so you can further cut down on the waiting time.

I’m always tired. Do I have Sleep Apnea?

Before Your Visit with the Doctor

In last week’s blog post, we took a look at the steps that happen after your visit with the doctor. But, what about before that initial visit? How do you know if you need to go to the doctor in the first place? If you are always incredibly tired during your normal daily routine, that struggle might be a red flag that you’re unknowingly struggling with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). How can you be receiving a solid seven and a half to eight hours, seemingly uninterrupted, yet still be exhausted during the next day?

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The Nitty Gritty

Here is what might be happening: after you’re asleep, the muscles that hold strong and maintain the air passageway behind the soft palate and the tongue soften. If the air passageway is of normal, healthy size, the softening creates no problems, and is a normal, healthy occurrence in all human adults. Alternatively, if the passageway is smaller, it can collapse. Small passageways are often artificially created by obesity since there is too much weight bearing down on the neck. Other times, genetics play a role, as Obstructive Sleep Apnea might be a predominant trait in your family.

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The Subtle Damage

You will continue to try to breath against the closed air passageway. It will become increasingly vigorous as blood oxygen levels drop and carbon dioxide levels increase, which is your body’s response to the alarming occurrence at hand. The arduous effort to breathe causes you to eventually awaken, which flexes the muscles behind the tongue. Because the waking period is brief, you return to sleep immediately, and are unaware that anything out of the ordinary took place. If this “hiccup” happens again and again during the night, sleep becomes disjointed and choppy, and you experience the daytime sleepiness that you know all too well.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource, but hopefully you now have a better understanding of what exactly happens to cause your daytime tiredness. At this point, if this sounds like something you might be struggling with, you may want to see a doctor to determine the beneficial next steps on the road to wakefulness.