A CPAP machine remains the gold standard in sleep medicine therapy and is required before considering more invasive implant-style therapies at The Insomnia and Sleep Institute of Arizona. There are different types of CPAP machines, and we understand that it can seem overwhelming for new CPAP users to delve into all the styles. All CPAP therapy supplies include the machine itself, tubing, and a mask (mask styles vary and may cover both the mouth and nose or just the nose). All CPAP supplies are also designed to be quiet, easy to transport, and lightweight. Tubing can be customized to allow for your unique movements and bedroom setup. You can also add features like a nasal pillow that sits comfortably in the nostrils, which is part of ensuring optimal mask comfort—if you’re not comfortable with your mask, you will not enjoy using a CPAP machine or get the maximum results. We work with you to make sure you are 100 percent comfortable with your CPAP technology, since your safety and comfort is our top concern.
When you start using a CPAP machine, you will be given an individualized amount of air pressure meant to treat your sleep apnea. A CPAP titration study will dictate this parameter, and most CPAP machines have a ramp setting so that the air pressure starts lower and then slowly increases. Once again, this is for your comfort.
Learning About Your CPAP Machine
Most questions about CPAP machines can be answered by reading the device’s directions or may be found on The Insomnia and Sleep Institute FAQ page. It is critical to think of a CPAP machine as a permanent lifestyle change. It is meant to be used throughout the time that you are sleeping, as sleeping without it can dangerously affect your blood pressure. The more a CPAP machine is used, the better you will feel. CPAP machines require a prescription, and it is always best to trust only a board-certified sleep medicine specialist when you are starting your sleep disorder treatment.
Health insurance and Medicare usually cover CPAP supplies and scheduled replacements. The nasal filters, machine filters, and mask cushions are typically replaced on a monthly basis. The mask frame (not the headgear) is usually recommended to be replaced every three months along with the tubing. The humidifier water tub, headgear, and chin strap (if yours has one) should be replaced every six months.
What CPAP Patients want to Know
Oftentimes, the first question a patient new to CPAP machines has is how long they have to use it—the answer is typically for a lifetime. CPAP machines are a treatment, not a cure. However, for those who have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and who are also obese or overweight, losing weight might lessen or even alleviate OSA symptoms. This is not a guarantee, but there are usually many benefits to losing excess weight and better sleep is often one of them.
“Troubleshooting” your CPAP machine is often a case of figuring out an oversight—again, the directions that come with your CPAP supplies is a great starting point. One of the most common issues is air leaking from an improper seal. There are a number of reasons this happens, but nasal irritation stemming from CPAP airflow is a major one. A lack of humidification is a primary cause of such leaks, and using a chinstrap as part of your setup can sometimes help. Chinstraps keep the jaw up so that the mouth can fully close while asleep. If this does not help, a full facemask (one that covers both the nose and mouth) is often the answer.
Common CPA Supply Concerns
Some patients might wake up to find their mask has fallen off. In most cases, the patient is actually doing this and doesn’t remember. These removals might be because the mask is not comfortable, and if this is the case The Insomnia and Sleep Institute will work with you to ensure you have the best mask, additional CPAP supplies (if necessary), and that the mask fits properly. Resizing the mask often stops patients from removing the mask while asleep.
Your first time traveling with a CPAP machine and supplies can also be unnerving, but it doesn’t have to be. Know that your CPAP machine can go with you through security, and watch if/while it is being handled. Plan ahead for your power needs, making sure you either have enough batteries or a proper adapter for an electrical machine if traveling abroad. Mark your CPAP machine as medical equipment, and carry your CPAP prescription and Medical Alert Card. Airport personnel are very used to seeing CPAP machines, so this should not be an unusual item for them.
Bear in mind that most of your questions can be answered on the machine’s instructions or within our online FAQs. However, if you do need help with your CPAP supplies, The Insomnia and Sleep Institute is available b calling the office at (480) 745-3547, or you can contact us by completing the online form.