6 Products Every Frustrated CPAP User Should Try
Sleep apnea is a condition where a person’s airway collapses during sleep, which leads to periods where the individual stops breathing. According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million Americans are affected by sleep apnea.1 This increasingly common sleep disorder is linked to a number of comorbidities, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and increased risk of death. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the preferred treatment of sleep apnea but adherence remains suboptimal.
At The CPAP Shop, a majority of our CPAP machines and accessories come with an initial set-up kit including some with a live conversation with a sleep coach. After allowing for time to get used to the therapy, most lingering complaints can be alleviated with some simple machine or mask setting adjustments. However, in some cases, you may need a little extra help.
Here are some products that you should try if you have trouble tolerating CPAP therapy.
Cleaning CPAP equipment is not only necessary from a germs perspective but helps to lengthen its usefulness. All that is necessary to clean a CPAP mask, tubing and other accessories is a bit of vinegar and water. However, we often do not take the time to ensure that we wash off any oil or dirt left behind from basic use. Dirty and oily cushions are the cause of common problems, such as leaks, rashes, and facial marks that linger long into the day. Therefore, mask wipes may be an ideal solution. Keep them by your bedside and when you wake up, simply wipe off the cushion.
Keeping your CPAP mask and accessories clean is time-consuming but necessary to keep equipment functioning properly. A contaminated CPAP mask may result in rashes, odors, and even infections. An uncleaned CPAP tube could build up mold and other contaminates which get into lungs and cause congestion or worse. Most importantly, all of these factors can ultimately reduce your compliance. The new line of sanitizing machines, including the SoClean and Lumin, are ideal for those who want to streamline their CPAP maintenance regimen. These machines are disinfectants, intended to kill up to 99.9% of germs. While you still have to clean the equipment, these products may reduce any potential for infections from using unsanitary equipment.
- SoClean 2 CPAP Sanitizing Machine: The SoClean thoroughly sanitizes your CPAP mask in one easy step. First, place your mask inside the cleaning unit. You don’t even have to disconnect the hose. The machine is compatible with a wide range of mask types, from nasal pillow to full face. The completely automated system destroys 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and mold without using water or any chemicals.
- Lumin CPAP Mask and Accessories Cleaner: The Lumin is a one-touch, five-minute system to also kill harmful bacteria that can build up in CPAP mask and accessories. It uses a powerful amount of UV light contained inside a fail-safe chamber to disinfect without any harsh chemicals or water. The ozone-free system reports a 99.9% kill rate for harmful bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungus.
Some individuals cannot get used to the feel of a mask on their face. Because giving up on therapy is not truly an option, a simple mask liner may be the answer. These liners act as a barrier between the skin on your face and the silicone on the mask’s cushion. This can help reduce leaks, prevent skin irritations or facial pressure marks, eliminate noises from escaping air, and increase comfort. The liners also help absorb facial moistures and oils, so they don’t break down the mask.
Air leaks are one of the biggest issues while on CPAP. That issue may be caused by not regularly washing the mask cushion. The oils from the face make the cushions slippery, which makes it easier for the mask to shift out of place and create a leak. If washing the cushion daily does not solve the issue, it may be time to try a CPAP pillow. The CPAP pillow is uniquely designed to accommodate your CPAP hose and mask structures. This reduces mask shifting and should reduce leaks.
- Psych Memory Foam CPAP Pillow: The new, gel-infused memory foam allows the CPAP pillow to remain at a much cooler temperature than standard memory foam. The pillow features a quilted CoolMax fabric cover to regular body temperature, reduce moisture, and allow for a cooler night’s sleep. An orthopedic roll provides support to the neck, shoulders, and head, whether sleeping on the side or the back.
- Contour CPAPmax Pillow 2.0 with Cover: An orthopedic CPAP comfort bed pillow that offers an ergonomic solution and adjustable comfort and support for all sleep positions: back, side and stomach. The pillow features two sleeping surfaces. One side is memory foam with a Cool 3D mesh cover to for better airflow. The other side is a soft, plush, hypoallergenic Fiber Fill pillow top. The inside layers are color-coded to allow you to select between four different heights, ranging from 2.25” to 5.25”.
- CPAP Memory Foam Pillow: The multi-layered reversible memory foam CPAP pillow molds to the shape of your body to reduce pressure points and achieve the most comfortable sleep position with a straight spine and neck. The pillow features a ventilated memory foam to promote air circulation, a cooling gel-infused memory foam with mint and charcoal to reduce perspiration, and is infused with herbal green tea for therapeutic sleep. Users can adjust pillow height as needed.
Heated tubing, or climate control tubing, is typically available as an optional add-on to your CPAP machine. This tubing helps to control the temperature of the air and reduces condensation inside the tubing. Adjustments in the air temperature may also help your body better absorb moisture. This may reduce dryness and a burning feeling in the nasal or oral passages, throat dryness, or sore throats. Excessive dryness causes inflammation, which has been linked to increased airway resistance. Dryness in the trachea can also reduce your cilia’s ability to function properly. Cilia are the tiny, hair-like structures that move secretions out of the lungs.
The heated tube you pick will be dependent on the machine you use. Popular options include:
Many patients have a hard time using CPAP due to the fact that they have to exhale against a force of air. Some patients say it feels like you are blowing up a balloon and it can tire you out. Most, if not all CPAP machines, have FLEX or EPR comfort settings that reduce the force of air against which you are exhaling. This more closely mimics natural breathing. However, the problem is when you have maxed out the FLEX/EPR settings and you still feel like you can’t exhale properly. Instead of giving up and leaving your obstructive sleep apnea untreated, ask your doctor if BiPAP is an option. BiPAP treatment allows the inhalation and exhalation pressures to be programmed. This can make breathing feel more natural. You will need to consult with your doctor and get a prescription to begin BiPAP therapy.
The DreamStation Auto BiPAP is designed to improve PAP adherence and overall satisfaction. The machine with the humidifier is less than 4 lbs, making it small and light for easy travel. The machine features multiple modes: fixed CPAP, fixed BiPAP, and auto BiPAP. The C-Flex and Bi-Flex functions smooth out breathing transitions to complement therapy and significantly improve exhalation comfort. The machine features an optional heated tube and effective humidification system so rainout is not an issue.
A vibrant, color screen displays daily progress and an easy-to-use menu. The hose swivel features a heated tube and front-facing display for easy operation. The machine features integrated Bluetooth technology and the goal-setting DreamMapper tool to review results and make improvements to therapy. Other key features include advanced event detection, mask type resistance control, mask fit check and oximetry capability. EZ-Start allows for automatic, personalized adjustments to CPAP pressure to help patients gradually acclimate to prescribed level of therapy.
The CPAP Shop offers premium sleep coach service in the United States for any DreamStation Auto BiPAP purchased through us. Sleep coaching improves satisfaction and increases adherence. With this optional service, the user receives two phone calls to assist with any technical questions that may arise during the initial use period. Topics include machine setup, menu applications, CPAP functionality, humification and heated tubing, CPAP mask issues, and the DreamMapper app. The more you understand how your equipment functions, the more you’ll see enhanced results, better sleep, and increase your quality of life!
The ResMed AirCurve 10 VAuto is a premium auto-adjusting BiLevel device. It automatically adjusts pressure levels to ensure you receive the lowest pressure necessary. It features an integrated humidifier and built-in wireless communication. This connects to ResMed’s cloud-based management system called AirView, to allow for remote access to device settings and to troubleshoot as needed. The AirCurve uses the proven AutoSet and Easy Breathe waveform in its VAuto algorithm to treat sleep obstructive sleep apnea patients who need greater pressure support.
The AutoRamp feature delivers low pressure to help you fall asleep with ease. Once you are asleep, it comfortable increases pressure to ensure prescribed level is delivered. Advanced event detection differentiates between obstructive and central apnea to deliver appropriate therapy. The ambient light sensor adjusts brightness on screen based on the light of the room. The user-friendly controls, intuitive interface, and color LCD screen features easy to navigate menus. The quiet, Easy Breathe motor features foam and isolating materials incorporated into the base of the device to produce minimal turbulence and eliminating noise in the room.
Adherence to CPAP therapy is vital to your continued health. These six products may help make it a little easier to adjust. As always, our knowledgeable staff is a just a phone call away!
- Sleep Apnea. National Sleep Foundation. sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/sleep-apnea. Accessed November 14, 2018.
Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.