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Frequently Asked Questions about CPAP Machines
What is a CPAP machine?
CPAP stands for continuous positive air pressure. A CPAP machine is used for people who suffer from sleep apnea. It forces air into airways in order to keep a person’s throat from closing and cutting off oxygen supply. Although other treatments exists including an oral device which holds your jaw forward or surgery, CPAP therapy has been proven to be the most effective and least invasive of all treatments.
What do CPAP machines do for you?
During sleep, throat muscles relax. If the airway relaxes and narrows or closes, oxygen to the blood and brain are reduced. Once the brain determines that oxygen is reduced, it awakens the person in order for them to breathe again. This can happen hundreds of times a night mostly without the person knowing it is happening. This is called an apnea event. A CPAP machine uses air pressure to maintain the integrity of the throat, thereby allowing the person to breathe and sleep normally.
How does a CPAP machine work?
The concept for these devices is simple. The goal is to keep the throat open during sleep so the supply of oxygen is not cut off which triggers the brain to alert the sleeper to awaken. The machine sends pressurized air into the throat through a CPAP mask to maintain the throats integrity. The amount of pressure is determined by how much is required to keep the airways open.
When is a CPAP machine recommended?
The first step is to see your doctor if certain conditions exist. Snoring loud enough to wake others is a primary condition. Pauses or gasping for air during sleep also figures prominently in sleep apnea. Other symptoms of sleep apnea include excessive daytime tiredness, irritability and lack of concentration or focus. Once a sleep test is performed with a diagnosis for sleep apnea, a doctor may recommend a CPAP machine.
What are the different types of CPAP machines?
CPAP machines come in three different types but with variations within each type.
- Standard CPAP machine – Standard CPAP machines work from a fixed pressure. The pressure is set based on a sleep study. Once the pressure reaches its prescribed setting, it remains at that level during sleep. Although effective in its treatment, it presents challenges to individuals at high pressures due to excessive dryness and breathing against the pressure.
- Automatic CPAP machine – Auto adjusting CPAP machines adjust their pressure settings on a breath to breath basis. A sensor is located within the CPAP circuit to alert the machine when an apnea is occurring. Once sensed, the auto adjusting machine will increase pressure just enough to alleviate the event. Once the apnea event passes, the machine will lower its pressure just enough to maintain the airways integrity. Due to APAP’s technology, automatically adjustable machines have not only become popular but have proven to be more comfortable and tend to mimic natural breathing more than standard machines.
- BiPAP/VPAP machines – A BiPAP or VPAP machine is a more sophisticated version of a CPAP machine. It generally is for people with sleep apnea how cannot tolerate either standard or auto CPAP machines. A BiPAP/VPAP allows for different pressure settings during the inhale and exhale cycle to allow for normal breathing functions. BiPAP/VPAP’s come in both standard and auto adjusting and can be sophisticated enough to actually assist with actual breathing.
Each CPAP category and manufacturer has slightly different internal algorithms which affect users differently. Also, ResMed,Philips Respironics, Devilbiss and Fisher & Paykel each have slightly different enhancements, which differentiate one from another.
What does a CPAP machine record?
Most standard CPAP machines show a snapshot of a person’s therapy sessions. The most basic includes average usage, hours used, pressure, leak information and AHI information. APAP and BiPAP technology is more sophisticated and has higher levels of compliance and data management including leak management, mask fit, flow limitations, snore index and hyponea’s. A rule of thumb is the more sophisticated the device, the greater amount of data that is able to be retrieved from it.
What does ramp mean on a CPAP machine?
A ramp allows for a CPAP machine to begin at a lower level and slowly rise in a set timeframe ultimately reaching its intended pressure. It is primarily for standard machines to allow for users to fall asleep prior to reaching its prescribed pressure. Auto CPAP machines also have a ramp function, but it’s generally not as crucial since an auto CPAP pressure will remain low until it is required to increase.
What is the lifespan of a CPAP machine? How long does it last?
Although a CPAP machine can last many years if maintained properly, advances in technology have improved dramatically over the last five years. With advances, they have become smaller, more effective and comfortable and quieter. Thus, a five year old machine can look and feel obsolete relative to the new designs. Replacing them will depend upon factors such as comfort, reliability, effectiveness and size. Like any form of technology, CPAP technology is moving forward quickly and can benefit someone who was not able to comply previously.
What are the benefits of using a CPAP machine?
The obvious benefits are the reduction or elimination of sleep apnea events during sleep. The tangent benefits are substantial. Besides better sleep, CPAP therapy can help reduce stress, blood pressure, improve focus and concentration, reduce potential traffic accidents and lessen risk for stroke and heart attack.
How do I use a CPAP machine when I have a cold?
Although at times, users have colds or nasal congestion which can frustrate CPAP users, it is best not to stop using your CPAP machine as it can contribute to prolonging the condition because of lack of sleep. If you have a cold or nasal congestion, it might be useful to try saline to help reduce congestion. Additionally, if using a nasal or nasal pillow CPAP mask, switching to a full face mask will allow you to breathe through your mouth while using your machine.
Why do CPAP machines need distilled water?
Humidification while on CPAP therapy has proven to be a comfort component that increases compliance. Because most tap water contains different minerals and particles, it is important to use distilled water in the humidification chamber. Using distilled water will also reduce cleanup time.
Why do you need a prescription for a CPAP machine?
A CPAP machine is a medical device and a prescription is required due to FDA guidelines. The prescription can be from a qualified sleep physician, a general practitioner or family doctor. A prescription is viable for life. If you have difficulty getting your prescription, we will contact your doctor for you. We accept foreign prescriptions. Once your prescription is on file with us, you can purchase all your CPAP accessories including machines and masks.
How do you adjust the pressure on a CPAP machine?
The pressure on a standard machine is set by the equipment provider. The pressure is determined by a sleep study and is prescribed by the doctor. Auto adjusting CPAP’s do not have a prescribed pressure setting as it adjusts on a breath to breath basis. APAP’s have become popular primarily because pressure settings are not required and users tend to have changing pressure needs throughout usage.
How do you clean a CPAP machine?
CPAP machines require little if any cleaning. It should not be opened or manipulated in any way as it could impact the warranty. A CPAP machines filter is a part which must be changed at least once every two months or when it’s dirty. Also, if there is humidification, the water chamber is recommended to be cleaned daily. Some water chambers are even able to be put through a dishwasher cycle. Outside of this, the CPAP machine is like any other medical device which requires care, but very little maintenance.
What does EPR mean on the ResMed S9 CPAP machine?
Expiratory Pressure Relief or EPR is a patented function on the ResMed S9 line of CPAP’s that dynamically adjusts pressure settings for a more natural and comfortable experience. By continually monitoring and adapting on a breath to breath basis, theResMed S9 is able to deliver the lower required pressure necessary to maintain the integrity of the airway. This improves comfort and overall sleep quality.
What does AHI stand for on CPAP machine?
The Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI) is a measure used by sleep professionals and doctors to determine the severity of a person’s sleep apnea. An apnea is the total cessation of breathing while a hypopnea is a partial stoppage. The AHI index is based on the total number of apnea’s and hypopnea’s occurring within an hour of sleep. The AHI is also associated with a decrease in blood oxygen levels. Mild sleep apnea is graded at 5-15 AHI, moderate is considered to be 15-30 AHI while severe is anything greater than 30 AHI per hour.
Which CPAP machine is quietest?
All CPAP machines’ sound levels are measured in decibels, which are based on a standard scale. With current technology, sound levels have decreased dramatically over the last few years. Quieter motors and more sound-proofing have given users a quieter therapy experience. It is important to determine sound levels not only when the equipment is running but when it is actually being used. CPAP machine decibels typically rise slightly when a user is breathing on it and when a humidifier is attached. Currently, Philips Respironics PR System One claims to have the quietest device on the market with ResMed S9 and Devilbiss Intelipap closely behind. Nevertheless, people have different sensitivity levels and are impacted by different sounds. Since most sound levels are very similar, it should not be the only deciding factor when purchasing a new piece of equipment.
What is the best CPAP machine for travel?
Technology has impacted not only the quality, durability and effectiveness, but manufacturers have significantly reduced size and weight. CPAP machines have fallen in weight and size by approximately 50% over the last 5 years. The Devilbiss IntelliPAP currently has the smallest footprint and approximately 1lb. lighter than other major manufacturers such as ResMed and Philips Respironics.
Why does my CPAP machine shut off?
Many machines have an automatic shut off when the mask is removed. There are a couple of reasons for this feature. One reason is to trigger compliance data shut off so usage and leak data is not compromised. Secondly, it makes it easy to put the mask back on with the CPAP machine off.
Why does my CPAP machine leak water?
Leaking water can compromise the machine’s motor. It is important to drain water out of the humidifier water chamber prior to moving the machine.
For all your CPAP equipment needs, TheCPAPShop has a CPAP machine for you! If you are unsure about the exact product that meets your needs, feel free to chat or give us a call so we can review all our options with you.
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