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.

How Does CPAP Therapy Work?

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy has been around since the 1980s, helping millions of americans suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.  Starting with work done by Dr. Colin Sullivan, CPAP treatment was founded on the idea that pushing air into the trachea would eliminate the instances of airway closure, or apneas, and provide an effective method of controlling OSA.  With the pioneering work of Dr. Sullivan, CPAP therapy grew into the leading treatment for OSA, now with a multitude of different manufacturing companies serving the wide range of clients.

Obstructive sleep apnea required a treatment to be able to keep the airway open in a way that was effective, but as minimally invasive as possible in order to allow patients to sleep soundly without interruption.  CPAP therapy filled this void and was able to provide a non invasive solution by pushing pressurized air to keep your airway open throughout the night.  This pressure is set by your doctor, and it changes depending on the severity of your OSA.  With more severe forms, greater air pressure is required to open up the airway.  Your CPAP machine uses electricity to pressurize your therapy, sending it from the machine, through your tubing, and into your mask for delivery.  

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to your CPAP therapy and its inner workings, 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.

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.

Featured: ResMed AirStart 10 CPAP Machine

ResMed has launched it’s newest addition to its AirSense line over the Labor Day weekend – the AirStart 10 CPAP machine.  This machine boasts all of the comfort and design prowess that the AirSense line has come to be known for, with a number of great features that make this machine a great choice for virtually any user.

Heated Humidifier

The HumidAir Heated Humidification system is integrated into the AirStart machine.  Heated humidifiers actually heat the water in your humidifier chamber, allowing it to vaporize and be picked up more easily when your therapy air streams over it.  This type of humidification is great for users living in dry climates or those who suffer long, cold winters.  Heated humidifiers offer added comfort in the CPAP world.

Simplified Design

The AirStart 10 prides itself on being a more intuitive machine with fewer unnecessary bells and whistles than some counterparts.  It has a small footprint, making it a great travel machine option, and a less complicated set up.  Fewer complicated menus make this machine more streamlined in design and in use, simplifying your therapy and letting you get right down to use without having to worry.

EPR

Expiratory pressure relief is a feature that really looks to add comfort to the AirStart 10.  This is a simpler version of what BiPAP and APAP machines do; it allows a lower pressure to exist during exhalation, making the machine easier and more natural feeling.  It can also help eliminate any disturbances your machine can cause as some users are woken up by the high exhalation pressures some CPAP machines have.

AirView Technology

Many machines now allow you to track your therapy data and the AirStart 10 is no exception.  Using an SD card that fits into your machine, your therapy data can be recorded and sent to ResMed’s AirView system.  This allows you and your doctor to be able to pull up the data for review and see if your prescribed pressure is working properly or if adjustments are needed.

 

Overall, the AirStart 10 is designed with the user in mind.  It was built with a number of desired features that nearly all CPAP users are looking for, and at a fraction of the cost of auto machines it’s not hard to see why this machine has been so long awaited.  Check it out on our website here.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to the AirStart 10, 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 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.

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.

What is a BiPAP and is it Right for You?

There are many different types of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, each which has its own benefits depending on your personal and therapy needs.  A BIPAP, or Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure machine, has many similarities to a more traditional CPAP machine, but it also has important differences.  Both of these machines work to deliver pressurized air into your airway, helping to keep it open and prevent instances of apneas, when you stop breathing while sleeping due to airway collapse.  These apneas can occur up to hundreds of times per night and have dangerous health consequences if not faced head on with your doctor.

Respironics PR System One BiPAP Machine
Respironics PR System One BiPAP Machine

 

BIPAP machines are, in a way, a more sophisticated type of CPAP machine.  They still are delivering pressurized air to prevent apneas, but they are able to have dual pressure settings.  Some patients complain that with a traditional CPAP machine, they have trouble while exhaling or falling asleep due to the continuous, single pressure.  By having these two settings in a BIPAP machine, your doctor can set one pressure for inhalation and the other for when you exhale, helping to minimize any uneasiness during therapy.  The exhalation pressure is typically set lower which allows the user to need less effort to exhale while asleep and prevent any discomfort that can cause you to wake.  

These machines are often seen as the next step for patients who are having a difficult time with a CPAP machine, or whose OSA and OSA markers have not improved with the use of a CPAP machine.  They are also seen as a good option for users with low oxygen levels or even cardiac health problems.  Of course,  only your doctor can decide if a BIPAP machine is right for your OSA needs, but always speak with them about your concerns, especially if you believe your therapy is not working as effectively as it should be.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive checklist on whether or not you should be using a BIPAP, but hopefully you at least have a better understanding of its differences from a traditional 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.

The Basics of CPAP Therapy

When you’ve been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, it might be a little overwhelming seeing the huge amount of choices you have when it comes to your CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy.  When you break it down, though, it’s really not too bad once you have a grasp of the necessary equipment.

Your Machine

ICON Auto Machine
ICON Auto Machine

Your machine is really the core of your CPAP therapy, doing the bulk of the work to help keep your airway open as you rest.  Most machines run off of a traditional AC current where you plug your machine into the wall at home and you’re good to go, but there are a few alternatives.  All machines require filters that are specific to the individual machine or brand of machines and have a pressure setting designated by your doctor.  There are a few different types of machines, and typically the kind you need is determined by your OSA severity and individual preferences:

CPAP MachinesCPAP machines deliver a steady stream of pressurized air to treat your OSA by keeping your airway open while you sleep.  By keeping the airway open, the instances of apneas, where you cease breathing, are virtually eliminated.

BIPAP MachinesBIPAP machines work similarly to CPAP machines with one exception, it uses two pressure settings instead of one.  With the two settings for inhalation and exhalation, some users feel more comfortable and less like they are fighting their machine while exhaling.

APAP MachinesAPAP machines are essentially an evolving machine able to react and change your therapy pressure whenever needed.  They can adjust to variables like your weight loss or gain, sleeping position, or anything else that could change your pressure needs.

Your Mask

maskMuch like your machine, your mask is capable of being individualized to treat your specific preferences.  Your mask in most cases is worn over your nose or mouth and ensures the delivery of your CPAP therapy.  There are a few different kinds of CPAP masks:

Full Face Mask: Full face masks are typically worn over the bottom portion of your face and cover both your nose and mouth, but there are versions which cover the entire face.  These masks are good for those who breathe through their mouth while resting.  

Nasal Mask: Nasal masks are similar to a full face mask, but are worn only covering the nose.  They are ideal for those who breathe exclusively through their nose while sleeping.  These can also be used in tandem with a chin strap to ensure effective therapy delivery.

Nasal Pillow Mask: Nasal pillow masks are worn under the nose and have pillows that fit along your nostrils to form a seal.  They are the most minimally designed masks and can also be used in tandem with a chin strap.

Oral Mask: Oral masks seal outside of the mouth and along the inner lip.  They are good for those who breathe exclusively through their mouth.  It is often suggested that you use a humidifier if using an oral mask to minimize any discomfort from airway drying.

Humidifiers

CPAP humidifiers are devices that often fit onto your machine to add moisture to your therapy air.  Because of the pressurized air used in CPAP therapy, some users experience dryness of the air passages that can lead to sore throat or a desire to stop their therapy.  Luckily, humidifiers can help to eliminate any discomfort and create a more natural sleeping experience.  Whether you’d benefit from using a humidifier depends on a few factors like your personal comfort preferences and your location.  To learn more about the types of humidifiers and whether they would be of benefit to you, click here.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource, but hopefully you now have a better understanding of the core items used in CPAP therapy. 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.