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CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure,
is a treatment that uses mild air pressure to keep your throat open while you
sleep. CPAP treatment is used for people who stop breathing while asleep, a sleep
disorder called “Sleep Apnea”.
The treatment is done using a CPAP machine.
CPAP machines have 3 main parts:
·Motor (that pumps the
The mask or other device fits over your nose
and mouth. Straps keep the mask in place while you’re wearing it. The tubing
connects the mask to the motor. The motor blows air into the tube through a
heated humidifier. The humidifier prevents irritation by adding water to the
dry air creating humidity. Most of the CPAP units come with a heated humidifier.
Overall the CPAP machines are small, light weight and fairly quiet.
benefits from using the CPAP machine include:
·Keeping airways open
while you sleep
·Correcting snoring so
others in your household can sleep
·Improving the quality
of your sleep
·Relieving symptoms of
sleep apnea, such as excessive daytime sleepiness
preventing high blood pressure and help control your blood sugars
people who use CPAP report feeling better one they begin treatment. They feel
more attentive and better able to work during the day. They also report fewer
complaints from bed partners about snoring and sleep disruption.
If your doctor has given you a diagnosis of Obstructive
Sleep Apnea then CPAP therapy would be recommended as the best treatment. In
obstructive sleep apnea your throat muscles relax causing a blockage. This
blockage may cause shallow breathing or breathing pauses. When you try to
breathe, any air that squeezes past the blockage can cause loud snoring,
snoring that may disrupt others.
Selecting A CPAP Machine And Mask
CPAP units come with many features
designed to improve fit and comfort. NationwideCPAP.com can help you select a machine based on your prescription
and the features that meet your needs.
are many types of CPAP masks. The fit of your mask is important, not only for
comfort, but also to keep air from leaking out. A mask that fits will maintain
proper air pressure and keep your airways open. CPAP masks come in different
shapes, sizes and materials. Some fit over your nose and mouth; others only
cover your nose. Nasal pillows may be used instead of a mask. Nasal pillows are
small, flexible mushroom shaped cones that fit into each nostril. Eyeglasses
can be worn with most pillow masks.
CPAP therapy is not an overnight adjustment. We
understand that every individual has different needs and different compliance
1. Why is there water in my tubing?
Answer: This occurs when the tubing cools
signficantly when leaving the CPAP unit. This results in rain out.
This can be quite frustrating due to noise due to the "Swishing" of
the water as well as having water around your nose.
2. How do I prevent this from happening?
Answer: The key is to reduce the
temperature difference from when the air leaves your heated
humidifier and the mask. You can help reduce this by: Raising the
temperature of your room, Turning down the level of the humidifier, Using a
tubing blanket to keep your tube warm or using a CPAP unit that has a heated
tubing or humidity sensor. Most new CPAP units have minimal to no rain
3. What is the best type of mask?
Answer: No such thing! Everybody has a different
facial contour and preference. Some individuals are sensitive to masks
that cover their nose while others can not tolerate anything that goes into
their nostrils. Mouth breathers or anyone has any nasal passage problems
(eg. Allergies, colds) tend to tolerate a Full Face Mask Better.
4. What is an auto CPAP unit?
Answer: Almost every brand of CPAP will have a
fixed pressure unit or auto unit. The fixed pressure unit is a
CPAP unit in which you will receive the same set pressure. This will be
determined by your physician, sleep specialist or provider. An auto
CPAP unit will constantly adjust the amount or pressure required to keep
your airway open.
5. What is Flex technology or EPR technology on my CPAP
Answer: One of the biggest challenges of CPAP
Therapy is backpressure. Breathing out becomes more
difficult especially during higher CPAP pressures. Most of the new CPAP
units have a feature that reduces the amount of air being pumped when you
exhale. This is FLEX or EPR technology. This can be set at various
levels or even turned off to provided optimal comfort.
5. Why is my mouth dry?
Answer: This can occur when your mouth is
opening up during the night. Turning up the humidity might help with this
but the most effective way to eliminate this from occuring is by trying to
prevent the mouth from opening. This can be done by using a chinstrap in
conjuction with your nasal mask or using a full face mask.
6. What are side effects of CPAP Therapy?
Answer: Common side effects include nasal
congestion, nose bleeds and headaches. Almost all of these can be
prevented by using a heated humidifier. The dry air can cause drying
and irritation to the mucous membranes resulting in congestion and rarely
nosebleeds. If this does not correct your issues, try using a saline
rinse or nasal spray to help alleviate these issues. If none of these
work, please see your sleep specialist.
7. Why do I feel bloated and have stomach
discomfort when CPAP therapy is used?
Answer: This occurs when air is going into the
digestive tract. This is a very difficult problem to correct but the
following should be tried: A change in sleep position, if you sleep on
your back, try lying on your side, or if you sleep flat, trying elevating your
body a little. If this occurs, please see your sleep specialist.
8. Why am I having dry eyes in the
Answer: This is most likely
caused by an air leak around your mask. You may need to adjust your nasal
mask to prevent air from leaking out the top into your eyes. If you are
using a nasal pillows mask, make sure it is sized properly from preventing it
from coming out of your nostrils and blowing into your eyes during the
night. If it has been 6-9 months since you have changed your mask, make
an appointment with your provider to see i the mask is still providing an
9. Why is my nose sore in the morning?
Answer: This is most likely due to the mask
being on too tight or an improper fitting of your nasal pillows mask. Try
adjusting the mask tight enough to remove any leaks. This can be done by
putting your CPAP mask on loosely and adjusting it slightly to take
away any leaks. Having any type of mask on too tight will result in sores
and blisters in the long run.
10. Why am I more sleepy after using CPAP
Answer: Sleep "debt." Your
body has probably forgotten how important sleep is and is wanting more.
This does happen and we encourage you to continue with your therapy. It
may take days to weeks for your body to recover its sleep debt and eventually
you will feel more rested.
11. How often should I change my mask?
Answer: It is recommended that you replace your
mask every 6 months. If your mask is used consistently and cleaned
constantly it should only provide an optimal seal for that length of
period. Also, it has been shown that most bacteria and fungi cannot
be removed after 6 months no matter how much it is cleaned.
What Are The
Risks of CPAP?
CPAP therapy is a safe, painless treatment.
Side effects and other problems are usually minor and can be easily treated or
fixed. Talk to your doctor if you’re having problems using CPAP. He or she can
suggest ways to handle or treat these problems.
Although these problems can be frustrating,
stick with the treatment. The benefits of CPAP are worthwhile.
CPAP masks may cause
skin allergies or skin irritation. A different mask may be required to address these issues.
CPAP masks come in
different shapes, sizes and materials. Some have fewer straps and less contact
with your face. Certain masks may irritate your skin less than others.
If dry mouth persists,
we may recommend a chin strap to keep your mouth closed or a different type of
mask that covers both your nose and mouth allowing you to breathe through your
mouth. Talk to your sleep specialist if dry mouth continues. It could mean your
mask is leaking air or the sir may be going into your open mouth and causing
Congestion, Runny Nose, Sneezing, Sinusitis,
Congestion, runny nose,
sneezing, sinusitis, and nosebleeds can occur while using CPAP. A CPAP
machine that uses a heated humidifier can help relieve these side effects.
Also, make sure that your humidity level is set appropriately and that the mask
Some people find that
using a saline nasal spray at bedtime helps prevent these side effects.
If these steps don’t work, talk to your sleep specialist. He or she may
prescribe a steroid nasal spray.
Stomach bloating and
discomfort may be due to a problem with the air pressure setting of your CPAP
machine. If you have stomach bloating and discomfort, talk to us. We may adjust
the settings of your machine to relieve these side effects.
Going To Cover CPAP Unit and Accessory Costs?
If you do have an extended health medical
provider, please contact them to see if CPAP therapy is an eligible
benefit and what information they require from you to process your claims request. Your extended health may help
cover all or a portion of your CPAP unit and accessories.
Sleep Hygiene Tips To Help Optimize Symptoms
It is important to remember that CPAP therapy
will effectively treat your obstructive sleep apnea. However, some individuals do not feel
significantly well rested and have expectations that CPAP therapy will give
them more energy. Most people do feel an immediate positive response while using
CPAP therapy but to improve symptoms even more, follow these tips:
·Try and set a regular
bedtime schedule and wake up time schedule
· Get enough sleep with
CPAP (Greater then 7.5 hours)
· Avoid alcohol 4-6
hours before going to sleep
· Avoid caffeine at
least 4 hours before going to sleep
· Avoid eating heavy,
spicy and sugary foods at least 6 hours before going to sleep
· Avoid exercising 2
hours before going to sleep
· Have a comfortable bed
· Avoid noisy sleep
· Find a room
temperature that allows you to fall asleep and stay asleep
Preparing for Bedtime
· Try and clear your mind
of stress or worries
· Set a regular routine
such as reading (avoid television) or taking a warm bath
· Try relaxation methods
such a deep breathing or yoga
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