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.

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.

Can I Travel With My CPAP Equipment?

Everyone lives a busy life nowadays.  Between working full time, raising a family, and trying to keep yourself happy and in good shape, it can be very difficult to keep your Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy as a priority.  Many people allow their therapy to slip by the wayside, believing that a few missed nights here and there are not a big deal.  Unfortunately, allowing this to become a habit can actually eliminate many of the benefits of your CPAP therapy.  It is important to keep up with your therapy in order to keep your Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) under control, and in the last few years, CPAP equipment has really become flexible, even when traveling.

Possibly the greatest achievement of the CPAP industry over the last few years is the reduction in machine size.  Where CPAP machines used to require your entire bedside table top, many now are as big as your hand.  The reduction in space means your machine will take up less room in your carry on bag, allowing an ease of travel that hasn’t always been possible.  Alongside this, nearly all CPAP machines are compliant with FAA regulations, meaning they can travel with you as easy as your laptop.  Long distance travel is no longer an issue with CPAP therapy, helping keep your OSA under control and you working towards better health.

There are a number of CPAP machines and accessories made exclusively for travel.  Machines like the APEX XT Fit and the Z1 Auto Travel machine have been designed with travel in mind.  Their small design is about as big as your hand, and many options feature battery or cordless options for when you’re on the go.  If you’re the outdoorsy type, check out our different power options.  There are numerous cords and battery options that allow you to power your CPAP machine from your car, RV, or boat, and some battery packs allow you to venture out to wherever you’d like even if there are no plugs for miles.  Wherever you choose to go, make sure you keep your therapy in mind.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to the products available to help you travel, 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 is Sleep Apnea and what are the Symptoms?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) affects approximately 3 million Americans and has recently taken the stage as a more recognized medical issue.  OSA is characterized by the instances of apneas, when you actually stop breathing while sleeping.  This occurs because of a collapse of the soft tissue of your airway, actually eliminating the ability to breathe.  When these apneas occur, your body actually wakes you up in order to start you breathing again.  OSA sounds scary, and it really is if it is left untreated.  Luckily, there are quite a few signs that you could be suffering from sleep apnea, allowing clues for you to go see your doctor to get on your path to treatment.

One of the most obvious symptoms of OSA is the occurrence of these apneas.  Your partner may actually be able to notice these if they are near while you are sleeping.  You can notice them too; if you ever find yourself jolted awake, it could be your body waking you up to restart respiration.  Another very common symptom is loud snoring.  Again, your partner may complain of this and if you experience snoring with any other symptoms it is worth it to take a trip to a doctor.

There are plenty of other symptoms to look out for.  Because OSA greatly affects your quality of sleep, many of the symptoms are related.  Often, those with untreated OSA find themselves feeling tired throughout the day.  Along with this, you could experience irritability or mood swings due to your body not getting the deep sleep it needs.  Those with undiagnosed sleep apnea can even have poor job performance in more severe cases.  Even if these symptoms don’t seem like the end of the world, untreated OSA has been linked to an increased risk of heart attack, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and more severe high blood pressure.  Because of this, it is very important that you see a doctor or schedule a sleep test so you can begin treatment.  Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) treatment is the most effective method of managing your OSA and is shown to help eliminate all of the aforementioned symptoms.  You will find yourself more alert, happier, and you may even lose a few pounds along the way.

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to OSA or it’s symptoms, but hopefully you now have a better idea of some symptoms. 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.

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.

Will a Nasal or Nasal Pillow Mask Work Better?

When diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), many people can become overwhelmed at the number of choices they need to narrow down to effectively begin continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment.  One of the most important pieces of equipment you will need to choose is what type of CPAP mask would work best for you.  Your CPAP mask is the channel through which your pressurized therapy air is delivered into your airway, preventing apneas from occurring and keeping you breathing smoothly during the night.  There are many types of CPAP masks, but this post will focus on the nasal and nasal pillow masks.

Nasal
Nasal Mask

Both the nasal and nasal pillow CPAP masks deliver your therapy air through the nose exclusively.  These masks are ideal for people who breathe through their nose a majority of the time while sleeping.  However, even if you breathe through your mouth for a small portion of the time, these masks can be used in conjunction with a chin strap, an elastic strap that attaches to your mask and fits under your jaw to help keep your mouth closed.  Chin straps can be an important feature of these nasal oriented masks in order to ensure that your therapy is effective; if your mouth is open, the pressurized air can’t work to keep your airway open!

Nasal Pillow Mask
Nasal Pillow Mask

The differences between these masks are noticeable in their design.  Nasal masks are similar in design to a full face mask but smaller, with a triangle shape that covers the entire nose.  This can have a bulkier feel that some people find uncomfortable, however, it also provides a very stable seal that works well for people who move around a lot while sleeping.  Nasal pillow masks consist of a sleeker design, with two nasal pillows that insert into the nostril opening.  This is a more minimal design that only covers the bottom of the nose and the space between your nose and mouth.  The less intrusive design is ideal for those who stay relatively still while sleeping, as the smaller design can be more easily dislodged from tossing and turning.  Overall, this really comes down to personal comfort preference.  Both masks are completely functional at delivering your CPAP therapy, so whatever you find more comfortable should work perfectly!

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to the nasal masks, 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.

How Do I Care for My CPAP Equipment?

The best way to ensure a long lifespan for your CPAP equipment is to make sure it is properly cared for.  There are a multitude of ways to keep your machine, mask, and other parts serve you as best as possible.  The number one thing to do is to wash your CPAP components regularly with soap and warm water several times a week.  Using gentle, unscented products will help reduce any chance of eroding any vital components.  Aside from normal cleaning and care, there are a number of products that can aid you to clean your CPAP equipment.

One of the most popular products is a simple mask cleanser or wipe.  These products are used daily on your CPAP mask and contain gentle disinfectants that remove harmful bacteria that can accumulate on your mask.  Removing them improves the quality of your therapy air and can help improve how you feel as a result.  Other simple tools you can use are a CPAP tube brush.  This brush can help you scrub the interior of your CPAP tubing with cleanser to eliminate particles that can accumulate.  Removing particle buildup and bacteria will help reduce irritants so you get the best therapy quality possible.

There are more sophisticated devices that you can use to care for your CPAP equipment.  Products from the SoClean line can actually clean your entire set of products with not much work on your part.  All you need to do is hook up your machine and mask via your CPAP tubing and the machine removes dust, bacteria, and even mold that can be present.  Keeping your CPAP equipment clean is one of the easiest ways to keep your therapy as healthy as possible and to wake up feeling refreshed.  

 

Final Thoughts

Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource of CPAP cleaners, but hopefully you now have a better idea of products that can help you keep your therapy as clean as possible. 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.