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.

Do I Have Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) has been on the rise in the last few years, now with over 200,000 new cases diagnosed every year.  But being as common as it is, many people suffering from sleep apnea don’t even realize they have it!  One of the most important early symptoms to look out for is excessive snoring while asleep.  Snoring could just be snoring of course, but OSA can cause this symptom due to the partial blockage of airflow through your windpipe, causing loud and persistent snoring that can disturb you and your partner.  Following this, if is very common to find yourself woken suddenly at night due to the instance of apneas, where you actually stop breathing due to airway blockage.  These instances could just feel like waking for whatever reason, or it could be more sudden where you find yourself gasping for air.  These are some of the earliest things to look out for in order to get yourself on the road to treatment.

If your OSA goes untreated for a more prolonged period of time, your symptoms could become much more serious.  Due to these mini waking periods, even if you get what felt like a full night sleep many sufferers find themselves exhausted throughout the day.  This can lead to irritability, mood swings, and a decrease in productivity, all of which can affect your relationships and job performance.  Waking, you could experience a sore throat, dryness of the mouth, or headaches, all of which can have you starting off the day on the wrong side of the bed.

Further down the line, sleep apnea has actually been linked to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease when it goes untreated.  If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms, it is best to go see a doctor or get a sleep test done to avoid any further complications.  Treatments like continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) have been shown as the most effective means of controlling your OSA and reducing the risk of severe symptoms down the line.

 

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to Obstructive Sleep Apnea, but hopefully you now have a better idea of what symptoms 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.

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 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.

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.

________________________________________

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.