How Do I Choose a CPAP Machine?

There are so many options to choose from when you’re diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).  Your Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine is at the center of your therapy, but with so many different types of machines it can be difficult to know where to start.  Here is a quick guide to help you narrow down your options and get going with your therapy.  Remember, sticking with your therapy can have numerous health benefits such as a better mood and waking, decreased risk of health complications, and even weight loss.

CPAP Machines

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines are the original machine and first effective treatment used to treat OSA.  They work by pumping pressurized air from your machine to your mask, keeping your airway open and eliminating the instances of apneas, where you actually stop breathing.  CPAP machines have one, continuous pressure setting that is set by a doctor.  Because of the single pressure setting, these machines have the same setting breathing in and breathing out, which some people find irritating while exhaling.  CPAP machines are great for those with a mild or manageable form of OSA, as with a lower pressure setting you won’t be uncomfortable during exhalation.

BiPAP Machines

Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure machines were the first machine to utilize two pressure settings to treat OSA.  These machines have two fixed settings that are set by your doctor, one while you inhale and one while you exhale.  These settings allow slightly more comfort while exhaling if you are in need of a higher pressure setting, as you eliminate the feeling of yourself needing to fight with your therapy to exhale.  Because of this, BiPAP machines are great for people with a higher prescribed pressure to sleep more soundly.

APAP Machines

Automatic Positive Airway Pressure machines are the newest machine available for treating OSA.  Similarly to BiPAP machines, APAP machines have two different pressure settings, but APAP machines can actually automatically adjust these while you sleep.  These machines are actually capable of recognizing your unique therapy needs, able to change on a breath by breath basis to ensure you are getting the most effective therapy possible.  APAP machines are more often the machine of choice for those with severe OSA, as a high exhalation pressure is not a cause of discomfort.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to the types of CPAP machines, 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.

Is a Home Sleep Test as Good as a Lab Test?

The first step of diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is to see your doctor if you are experiencing signs of fatigue and tiredness during your normal daily activities. If you are regularly receive seven to eight hours of nightly sleep, and you are not waking up refreshed, ready to tackle a new day, then your body is telling you something. You might be waking up hundreds of times per night in micro-episodes, more commonly known as hypopneas. Essentially, the air flow to your lungs is cut off because the passage ways in your throat have collapsed, causing you to choke and sputter, but not wake up. If this occurrence of events sounds like it might be happening, your first step will be to see a doctor.

The Traditional Sleep Lab

If your doctor agrees with your assessment, he or she will prescribe a sleep test. There are two main types of sleep test. The first, and more traditional, is a lab-based sleep test where you go for overnight testing to perform an assessment as to the severity of your Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This setting is usually called a, “Sleep Lab.” Once there, the attendant will attach various wires to you in an attempt to measure restfulness, oxygen levels, and other vital indicators. A total count of your hypopneas will be monitored, and after the test is complete, the results will be sent to a specialized sleep doctor to interpret the results. The problem with traditional sleep tests in Sleep Labs is that often, patients do not receive a quality night’s rest because of the new environment and intrusive monitoring equipment. As a result, there are more false positive results and some patients who might not have sleep apnea are encouraged to start continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy when they normally do not need the treatment.

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The Home Sleep Test

The other alternative is a home sleep test. It is everything that the traditional lab-based sleep test is not. You’re allowed to stay in your own bed and the only difference is to wear a small electronic device that will monitor your restfulness levels through the night. The next morning, you can send the device back to a registered sleep lab to assess the night’s sleep quality and determine whether or not you’re a candidate for CPAP or Oral Appliance therapy. Patients strongly prefer this method since it’s non-invasive and only costs a fraction of what Sleep Labs normally charge. The technology is now robust enough to consistently and accurately assess a patient’s needs in the comfort of his or her own home without having to venture out to a sleep lab, and is quickly becoming the more popular option.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above comparison is not an exhaustive resource, but hopefully you now have a better idea of the different sleep tests available. If you have individual concerns, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

Why Should I Treat My Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious condition, even it it may not seem as threatening as some.  On the surface, sleep conditions are often seen as less serious issues, but obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to a number of health related issues that can be greatly helped by using CPAP therapy.

Many people think that the longer you stay awake, the more calories you burn, but in reality your sleep deprivation could be a factor in those extra few pounds.  A new study from the Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center in Pittsburgh has suggested that a lack of sleep can offset hormone regulation, an instability that can increase weight retention.  Because hormones help regulate your appetite, energy level, and mood they can have huge effects on the body, so consider that next time you watch that extra hour of television.  

More current studies from the National Academy of Science elaborate even further.  Fewer hours of sleep leave the body wanting to compensate for the lost rest with greater food intake.  This calorie influx is the largest factor in unwanted weight, but the decreased energy level also leaves little left for exercise.  Don’t think extra hours of rest will shake off those unwanted pounds, but over time a healthy level of sleep can keep you slim.  Because weight can be an influencing factor on sleep apnea severity, be sure to stay well rested to keep your body in great shape.

There have also been numerous studies published revealing further evidence for a link between sleep apnea and heart related disease.  It turns out that the lack of oxygen caused by untreated obstructive sleep apnea can cause blunting of the neurons at the base of the brain that control heart rate.  This means those nerves have a slower reaction time and less control over your heartbeat or other related functions.  These slower reflexes can have a huge impact in causing conditions like irregular heartbeat and hypertension.

Because obstructive sleep apnea lowers blood oxygen concentration, these nerves can essentially begin to starve, causing their reaction times to lose their spunk.  The added restless time caused by OSA only heightens stress on the body and therefore the nerves.  By continuing your CPAP treatment, you can help minimize apnea episodes and therefore reduce the stress put on your neurons.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource, but hopefully you now have a better understanding of the importance of CPAP therapy. If you have individual concerns about any link between OSA and other issues you may be having, 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.

The Sleep Gadgets You Wish You Knew About

Overview

Once a patient becomes accustomed to his or her Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy, his or her next question usually is, “How can I make my therapy better? Is there anything that I can do to make it a better experience?” There are a number of products on the CPAP market that can make your experience better and increase the likelihood that you will have a long, comfortable, and therapeutic night’s sleep. Some of these cutting edge products relate to cleanliness and comfort, and others relate to product longevity and perfecting the fit. We’re going to outline some of our more popular selections in the article below so you can get the most out of your CPAP therapy.

The Best Pillow You Have Never Tried

The CPAP Psyche Sleep Pillow was designed specifically with the CPAP user in mind. The contoured pillow allows for your mask to hang over the edge. Designed as such, the cushion won’t push up against the mask and break the seal that’s necessary to maintain the integrity of the therapy. Despite being associated with Sleep Apnea Therapy, we promise that this is one component that’s incredibly comfortable. Available in Small, Large, Standard, and Extra Large, you’re sure to find a size that fits your needs.

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Your New Favorite Facial Moisturizer

The CPAP Roezit Skin Moisturizer is perfect if you have ever felt like your CPAP mask causes skin irritation on your face. Fortified with Vitamins A and E, the moisturizer helps keep pesky irritation, redness, and dryness at bay while remaining affordable. The fragrance free cream has a base of aloe vera and emu oil, which helps reduce the aforementioned irritation. One of our most popular CPAP Care products and by far the most affordable, what do you have to do lose?

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The Sleep Gadget You Wish You Knew About

How often have you just place your CPAP mask on your face, turned on the pressure, and laid down in bed, only to find that you actually wanted to take a sip of water before starting therapy and turning off the lights. It’s frustrating, and you want to kick yourself, right? Well the Sleep Sense EZ-Talk Valve   provides a clever solution to your problem. With the flick of a switch in one direction, you can easily turn off the pressure, lift the mask off your face, and take a sip of water. With the flick of a switch in the other direction, your pressure turns back on and you can return to that nourishing sleep therapy.

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Final Thoughts

While we have only outlined three, there are many CPAP products that can enhance your therapy. At this point, hopefully you have a better understanding of a few things you can do to improve your quality of rest. It is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

Can I safely use CPAP if I have a beard?

Just because you have a great looking beard doesn’t mean you can’t also have a great feeling sleep experience.   The great news you have been waiting for is yes, you absolutely can enjoy the benefits of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy while sporting a manly mane.   While sleep experts, also known as respiratory therapists, initially discouraged having a beard in conjunction with CPAP therapy, users predictably chose their beards over continued use of a CPAP mask and CPAP machine.  Instead of trying to persuade CPAP patients to abandon their beards, the industry has begun to incorporate such facial features into their mask design and allowing users the benefit of choice when it comes to their CPAP experience.

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Compatibility

As Philips Respironics’ chief medical liaison Teofilo Lee-Chiong, Jr, MD best said, “Masks should be chosen to fit a specific face, rather than the other way around.”  As a result, many masks available on the CPAP Supplies website are compatible with your fierce beard.  Your best bet is to stay away from masks that rest on your upper lip, since the facial hair on your upper lip can create an uneven seal and air can slip out of your mask.  When air escapes, it lowers the pressure prescribed by your doctor, and the CPAP machine doesn’t effectively treat your obstructive sleep apnea symptoms nearly as well as it normally would.

Which one do I use?

CPAP mask designers recommend that patients with a beard use a full face CPAP mask to make sure the facial hair doesn’t disrupt the air flow in the CPAP therapy.  Fisher & Paykel’s FlexiFit line provides an ideal fit for bearded CPAP users, since it doesn’t lie on the lip.  Another potential option is to use the RemZzzs’ sleep pads that act as a natural sealant around the mask, but are created to reduce irritation and inflammation where the mask lining meets the face.  The facial hair will remain flat below the padding, which ensures that the seal remains intact.

If you do decide that clean shaven is your new look, shave nightly before CPAP therapy to make sure that the mask lining lies as close as possible to the skin, guaranteeing the seal  remains intact and you accomplish the best possible therapy.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource regarding facial hair and CPAP therapy, but hopefully you at least have a better understanding of how to achieve higher quality results from your CPAP mask.  It is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs, and you might need to test out a couple different CPAP masks before determining the best mask for your facial structure.

How was CPAP Sleep Therapy First Invented?

Overview

If you are curious about the history of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy, you are not alone. Many CPAP patients often wonder as to the origins of their therapy, and how the underlying science was originally conducted that has transformed into today’s cutting edge Obstructive Sleep Apnea treatment culminating into products such as Resmed CPAP machines or Respironics CPAP masks. It all started with Dr. Colin Sullivan and his clinical experiments back in 1980, and has evolved into a group of more than 18 million americans alone.

History

The therapy was actually first tested on canines to determine whether the basic hypothesis was sufficient: focused, pressurized air would be able to essentially push through any obstacles that obstructed the airways. If this method worked, the first non-invasive therapy could be developed and patients could opt out of a costly, invasive, and inconvenient surgery. The first human test subject was a perfect patient to undergo testing. Suffering from severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the patient wandered into Dr. Sullivan’s office in Australia and sought treatment, but refused surgery. After agreeing to test trails of the brand new CPAP machine (now primative by 2016 standards), the seven hour treatment was a resounding success. During the process, Dr. Sullivan continued to increase pressure until Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) symptoms decreased and the patient resumed a normal, healthy sleep cycle. After awakening, the patient reported that he felt the best that he had felt in a long time. Dr. Sullivan continued to innovate in the field for years to come following his initial positive trials.

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Modern CPAP Therapy

Soon after, the first commercially available CPAP machine was launched in the United States by Phillips Respironics, and companies began entering the market to compete for the ever-growing patient base. CPAP therapy was first thought to be a short term solution to satisfy a patient until surgery could be performed, but it has transformed into a new standard of living for many patients who previously dreaded their lack of quality sleep and the adverse effects on their daily life.

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Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource, but hopefully you now have a better understanding of the history behind the widely popular CPAP therapy that you might be using today. If you’re curious to learn more, the American Sleep Association (ASA) can provide more information on historic clinical trials and their outcomes.

What are treatments for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Therapy Overview

Many patients who use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy to treat their obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) often wonder what other alternatives exist to treat the disease.  You might be surprised to find out that there are a variety of treatments available, spanning the spectrum from invasive to completely non-invasive.  Each type of treatment and therapy has its own pros and cons, and the best type of therapy often depends on the patient’s individual needs and preferences.

CPAP Therapy

Chances are, if you find yourself on this blog, you are pretty familiar with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy to treat obstructive sleep apnea.  Pressurized air is delivered through the patient’s mouth to their airway passages from an external machine.  Tubing connects the machine and the wearable mask, and the patient has assistance in the form of pressurized air to push through any blockages that may develop in the airway passages, also known as a hypopnea.  Pros include the non-invasive method of therapy and proven benefits of long term use, but often patients have trouble successfully adopting their new treatment into their lifestyle on a permanent basis.

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Oral Appliance

A popular trend in the obstructive sleep apnea world is to recommend Oral Appliances for treatment instead of traditional CPAP therapy.  The oral appliance functions similarly to a mouth guard and patients undergo a fitting process to ensure an optimal fit.  The oral appliance manually slides the jaw forward, and removes any blockages or hypopneas that occur due to obstructive sleep apnea.  Pros include the lifetime affordability of the treatment and the non-invasive nature of delivery, but they are said to potentially cause permanent jaw damage among long time users.

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Surgery

The most extreme of the various treatment options, surgery is mostly reserved for patients who can’t use either CPAP therapy or an Oral Appliance due to previously existing medical conditions.  The surgery to correct Obstructive Sleep Apnea can take several forms, but the main goal is to remove tissue at the back of the throat.  Technically named, “uvulopalatopharyngoplasty” (UPPP), the surgery seeks to widen the airway passage, deter some muscle action to improve the openness of the throat, and promote movement of the soft palate. Benefits of this procedure include a higher rate of certainty of success, but it is often costly and incredibly invasive, requiring many doctor visits.  Even then, the surgery’s success is not guaranteed and many patients need to return to CPAP therapy in order to continue treatment.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource, but hopefully you now have a better understanding of how to benefit the most from your CPAP therapy and get the best night’s sleep possible. It is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs and therapy requirements.

What is a CPAP Humidifier and do I need one?

Overview

Most modern Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines that treat sleep apnea offer for option to include a CPAP humidifier. Many first time CPAP users aren’t sure whether or not to purchase the optional humidifier, and often wonder if it’s worth the extra price. In this week’s post, we’ll outline why an individual might benefit from the additional humidifier and how it can increase quality of therapy, as well as increase the probability that you will successfully adopt the new CPAP therapy into your lifestyle permanently and enjoy the benefits to the fullest extent.

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New CPAP users often report discomfort during the transition into CPAP therapy. While some of this discomfort is simply lifestyle adjustment, a majority of the discomfort may be caused by airway passage dryness that can accompany therapy based on your atmospheric and geographical environment. The lack of moisture may result in a sore throat, dry nasal passage, or swelling of the tongue. If you find any of these symptoms to be the case with your CPAP therapy, the inclusion of a humidifier into your treatment plan can help alleviate these symptoms and maintain comfortability throughout the entire night.  As air passes from the machine to the mask, a small amount of moisture is added to the air stream, alloying for a more comfortable breathing dynamic.  All major manufacturers of CPAP machines offer some sort of humidifier that is compatible with their machines, so finding the right one is often very simple.

 

Geography

Patients that live in consistently dryer climates such as areas in the southwestern United States often find the need for a humidifier, as well as cities that experience relatively colder winters that lead to dry air. The moisture that normally acts as a natural lubricant freezes due to the severely cold temperatures, causing the air to irritate your breathing passageways and reduce comfort during your night’s sleep. If this scenario sounds familiar, or you will soon be moving to a colder environment, your best solution is to include an in-home humidifier as well as a CPAP humidifier to combat the negative effects of frigid, dry air and ultimately improve your CPAP experience.
The discomfort is not unique to one type of sleep apnea therapy device, as patients who use CPAP, Auto CPAP, and BiPAP therapy all have reported discomfort based on  geography. Customers might feel compelled to discontinue using their machine but it is important to keep in mind that all of the major manufacturers of CPAP Supplies offer some type of heated humidifier. Whether you own a Resmed, Respironics, Fisher & Paykel, DeVilbiss, or a different brand, you might consider trying a heated humidifier with your present machine.

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Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource, but hopefully you now have a better understanding of the whether or not you could personally benefit from a CPAP humidifier in conjunction with your CPAP Machine. 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.