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.

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.

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.

When Should I Replace My Mask?

So you’ve finally found a CPAP mask that fits your lifestyle, whether it be a minimal nasal pillow mask or a full face mask.  Generally, CPAP masks last anywhere from a few months to a year when properly cared for.  Taking proper care of your mask is one of the best ways to ensure it lasts as long as possible and delivers the most effective therapy possible.  The most important thing you can do to maximize the lifespan of your CPAP mask is to simply clean it!  Cleaning your mask after each use helps to eliminate facial oils which can break down plastics and other materials used in your mask.  It is also a great way to eliminate particles that can build up on your mask, helping reduce irritants and allow you a more comfortable night’s sleep.

mask wipesYou can clean your CPAP mask with simple soap and water, but there are equipment specific products that can be used.  CPAP mask wipes contain antibacterial properties that eliminate residues from your mask to ensure the health of you and your mask.  There are many options for mask wipes so you can find the option that works best for you.  Furthermore, there are more elaborate cleaning systems you can use which hook up and cleanse your CPAP equipment in its entirety.  No matter which option you choose to keep your mask clean, it is certainly your first line of defense to keep your mask functioning as well as possible.

If you’re noticing a persistent cold or cough, it’s possible that your mask is the issue.  Without proper cleaning, your mask can harbor harmful bacteria that can irritate the throat and lungs causing cold symptoms.  If you are good about cleaning your mask and are still noticing health issues, it may be time to replace your mask, but always consult your doctor to be sure.

On top of cleaning your mask, inspecting it regularly is a great way to ensure proper function.  Mask seals should be free of cuts and the body of your mask should be without any chips as this can compromise the quality of your therapy.  If you’re using a nasal pillow mask, ensure the pillows are all intact and airflow is not obstructed.   

Final Thoughts

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of regular care that can keep your mask running optimally, but it is best to talk to your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.

If you have any questions, post a comment or feel free to contact at at CPAP Supplies Plus – 877-791-3195.