What are the Most Common CPAP Components?

There are a lot of odds and ends that come along with your CPAP equipment when first beginning therapy.  It can seem overwhelming, but luckily it’s not as bad as you think.  These parts are essential to your therapy, allowing your machine to function as needed.  Let’s walk through a few of the components.

Machine

Your machine does a majority of the work regarding your CPAP therapy.  It works by pumping air inside, pressurizing it, and delivering it to your airway in order to prevent apneas.  There are a lot of machines to choose from: traditional CPAP machines, APAP, or BIPAP machines.  Each work a little differently in that they are less or more advanced at changing your pressure throughout the night to fit fluctuations, but the basic premise is the same.

Mask

Masks come in a whole lot of shapes and sizes.  In practice, they fit over your nose, mouth, or both in order to shuttle air from your machine into your airway.  Which mask you choose is entirely up to you.  Full face masks cover your nose and mouth and are ideal for those who breath from both while sleeping.  Nasal masks cover only the nose, and can be used in conjunction with a chin strap to keep the mouth closed as needed.  Nasal pillows are a more streamlined version, using two pillows to insert into the nostrils to deliver your therapy.

Tubing

Your tubing, in its most basic sense, connects your machine to your mask.  There are upgrades you can make for your tubing.  Heated models are capable of warming up your therapy air to make you more comfortable, especially in colder climates.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to the components of your CPAP therapy, but hopefully you now have a better idea of some of your options. 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 Type of Mask is Right for Me?

There are many options to choose from when going through Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) treatment.  One of them, arguably the most important, is what kind of mask to wear.  Your mask delivers your pressurized therapy air from your machine into your airway.  For this reason, it’s very important that you choose a mask that fits your individual preferences, taking into account how you breathe and your comfort choices to provide a smooth transition into therapy.

Full Face Mask

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Full face CPAP masks are the most full coverage mask option.  They cover both your nose and mouth and are ideal for patients who breathe from both while sleeping.  Many users of full face masks often toss and turn much more in their sleep, finding that the larger contact area of the mask helps keep it in place better throughout the night.  Also noteworthy, these masks are a great option for men with facial hair, as their greater surface area helps keep your mask snug even with a mustache or beard.

Nasal Mask

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Nasal CPAP masks are essentially a smaller version of a full face mask, however they only cover the nose.  These masks are great for those who breathe solely through their nose while sleeping, and are still a good option if you toss and turn as the triangle shape helps keep your mask in place.  These masks can be used in conjunction with a chin strap in order to ensure minimal pressure leakage if your mouth happens to open during the night.

Nasal Pillow Mask

Nasal Pillow Mask

Nasal pillow masks are the smallest mask option.  They insert two soft pillows at the base of the nostrils to deliver your therapy.  These masks have a very light footprint and are great for people who stay relatively still while sleeping, as well as those who have found the larger mask options to be too intrusive on their comfort level.  Nasal pillow masks can also be used alongside a chin strap to eliminate pressure leakage through the mouth.

Oral Mask

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Oral masks are a relatively new design that inserts into the mouth between the lips and the teeth.  These masks have helped fill the void for users who breath solely through the mouth while sleeping, where previously these users would need to purchase a full face mask even if they didn’t breath through the nose at night.  Oral masks are held sturdily in place thanks to the way they fit around the lip and are a good option for those who find straps too near their eyes to be uncomfortable.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to your CPAP mask options out there, but hopefully you now have a better idea of your choices. 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 Parts of My CPAP Equipment?

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are the proven most effective way of treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  With all of the different options, though, it can get confusing what all of these different parts due, so we’ll try to walk you through some of the basics.  

The most obvious part of your CPAP equipment setup is the machine itself.  These machines come in a variety of types.  All of these machines have the purpose of delivering pressurized air to your airway in order to prevent the instance of apneas, where your throat closes and you stop breathing during sleep.  CPAP machines deliver one pressure while BIPAP and APAP have multiple pressure settings that can help those with more severe OSA.  You can read more about these machine types here.  Machines also contain filters.  These small, usually white pads fit into your machine and filter the air intake to ensure cleaner therapy.  They need to be changed in order to ensure they are doing their job to eliminate particles that could cause you irritation.

Your machine delivers air through a series of tubing.  The tubing attaches at one end to your machine, and at the other on your mask.  Masks fit over your nose, mouth, or both and form a tight seal to ensure you get your prescribed therapy pressure.  Like machines, there are a few different types of masks to choose from.  Full face masks are triangular in shape and fit over your nose and mouth.  They’re a great option for people who breathe from both their nose and mouth while sleeping.  Nasal masks are a smaller triangle that fit only over your nose.  Even smaller are nasal pillow masks that fit on your nostrils.  Each of these masks is fully effective at delivering CPAP therapy, but everyone has their own preferences about which works best for them.  You can read more about which mask might work best for you here.

Your mask is held on by a set of headgear.  The headgear clips onto your mask and then fits around the head to hold it firmly in place even if you toss and turn.  Headgear is often adjustable, so find a comfortable fit that’s snug, but not too tight.  You also may choose to use a chin strap if using a nasal or nasal pillow mask.  These will help keep your mouth closed while resting in order to prevent air leakage.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to complex CPAP equipment, but hopefully you now have a better idea of the basics. 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 Make My CPAP More Comfortable?

Many CPAP users often have a hard time complying with their CPAP therapy due to some discomfort that can result from the different components.  Luckily, there are a plethora of products available to help minimize irritation caused from your mask or headgear.  The first step to ensuring comfort in your CPAP experience is to choose a mask that fits you well.  Masks typically come with a few different sizes of cushions, allowing you to pick the one that best fits your facial contours.  By choosing the correct size, you can ensure minimal irritation as your mask will move with you more seamlessly during the night.

One of the easiest products you can purchase to help rid yourself of any discomfort is a mask liner.  These are great for anyone feeling uncomfortable where their mask rests on their face.  By providing a barrier from the mask, mask liners can help reduce irritation and wick away any moisture buildup.  Many mask liners are not reusable, but there have been some more recent models that are completely reusable, a great option for users who find mask liners beneficial.  A slightly different model of liner is a mask pad, a reusable pad that rests on your nasal bridge to form a barrier between your mask and nose.  These pads are often made from a gel base that besides providing comfort, can actually help create a stronger seal with your mask.

If you’re finding that your mask is perfectly comfortable, there may be some comfort issues with your headgear.  Headgear has expanded in the past few years, providing a few different types of fit to try to minimize pressure points.  However, plastic joints or other parts can still cause some discomfort.  A great way to combat these plastic components is with a wrap that fits around the arms of your headgear, the portion between where it connects to the mask, often running across your cheek.  These wraps can get rid of any uncomfortable rubbing that your headgear can cause and help you rest easier.  All of these options are great to help you comply with your CPAP therapy.  Remember, down the line there are many complications that can occur related to untreated OSA, so it’s always a good idea to use your CPAP equipment every night.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to CPAP comfort, but hopefully you now have a better idea of what products may be of use to 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.

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 Search 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.