Once you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you will probably be prescribed CPAP therapy and will need to get a CPAP machine to help you have a better and more successful night’s sleep. Here are some important questions and answers to know when just starting off or managing your CPAP therapy.
Do I Need a CPAP Machine to Treat My Sleep Apnea?
CPAP machines are the most common and non-invasive approach for treating sleep apnea. Through a CPAP mask, CPAP machines assist in forcing air into a person’s nose and/or mouth to help keep their airways open during the night. In other instances, doctors may recommend an oral appliance or in more severe cases surgery such as a tonsillectomy or adenoid removal.
How Often Do I Need to Get Supplies for My CPAP Machine?
While every CPAP machine is different, there are common guidelines for CPAP machine maintenance that should be followed. Replacing critical CPAP supplies ensures consistent CPAP therapy performance so that a person can get the most effective CPAP therapy every time.
Recommended to Replace Every Month
- Mask cushions and/or nasal pillows
- CPAP machine filters
Recommended to Replace Every 3 Months
- Mask frame (not including the headgear)
- CPAP tubing
Recommended to Replace Every 6 Months
- Mask headgear
- Chin strap (if applicable)
- Humidifier water tub
What if CPAP Therapy is Too Difficult? What are My Options?
CPAP therapy can be difficult when first starting, usually because it is uncomfortable breathing high-pressure air. However, most CPAP machines include features to help you adapt effectively and comfortably to therapy. When choosing a CPAP machine make sure it comes with a ramp feature.
A ramp feature will begin your therapy with low pressure settings that are more comfortable while you are trying to fall asleep. As you fall asleep, the CPAP machine will “ramp” up to your prescribed setting so that you remain CPAP compliant without feeling any of the discomfort.
Can I Stop CPAP Therapy if I Lose Weight?
It is not recommended to stop CPAP therapy if you have experienced any weight loss. That’s because while managing your weight is important for your overall health and sleep apnea symptoms, it is not the sole contributing factor to this disorder. People who are overweight tend to have worse symptoms, as they have more excess fat and tissue around their neck making it harder to breathe. However, there are several other contributors to having sleep apnea, too.
What Else Can I Do to Help Reduce My Sleep Apnea?
You can make lifestyle changes that can help improve your sleep and reduce sleep apnea.
- Avoid alcohol before bedtime
- Quit smoking
- Avoid sedatives
- Try to maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid naps during the day
- Exercise regularly
- Be consistent with your bedtime schedule
- Avoid blue light electronics such as your TV, computer, or smartphone before bedtime
Should I Take My CPAP Machine When I Travel?
It is always best to prevent interruptions in your CPAP therapy, so you should be using your device every time you fall asleep. If you have to travel, you can take a travel CPAP machine. Travel CPAP machines offer the same features and benefits as home CPAP machines but are smaller and more compact to use when a user is on the go. They are FAA approved, so CPAP users are able to bring them on an airplane.
What Happens if I Do Not Treat My Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea may seem like a minor ailment, but it causes sleep deprivation and other health problems which can be harmful to your overall health.
Sleep loss can:
- Increase the risk for cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure
- Increase the risk for diabetes
- Contribute to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
- Affect your well-being during the day including increasing daytime drowsiness which can lead to accidents, cause memory loss, and affect concentration and mental alertness
Are There Side Effects to CPAP Therapy?
While CPAP therapy is beneficial, there are some side effects. Fortunately, there are solutions for common issues.
Problem: Having a dry mouth and throat in the morning.
Solution: Use a CPAP machine humidifier during therapy to moisten and warm the pressurized air.
Problem: Wearing a CPAP mask is uncomfortable.
Solution: Find a mask that fits properly. There are many CPAP mask options to choose from. If you find that you must over-tighten the mask to prevent leaking, then it is time for a new mask.
Problem: A CPAP mask causes sores or irritation where it makes contact with your face.
Solution: Look for other CPAP mask options that reduce facial contact or have cushioning that contours to your face for enhanced comfort.
How Do I Choose a CPAP Machine for CPAP Therapy?
You can find a CPAP machine that is right for you at The CPAP Shop. Our knowledgeable staff will assist you in selecting the right machine, mask, and accessories you need based on your prescription. Call us at 866-414-9700.