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The National Transportation Safety Board has just issued its Most Wanted List. Their list of transportation safety improvements for 2015 — to strengthen commercial trucking safety. This invloves detecting and treating sleep apnea among truckers.
So you have been prescribed positive airway pressure or PAP therapy. Now you will need to be fitted for a CPAP mask. This guide will show you the important things to keep in mind when you choose a CPAP Mask.
The mask is attached to tubing that connects to the PAP machine and delivers the pressurized air. It is very important that the mask is comfortable and provides a proper seal for the airflow. The correct air pressure level cannot be reached unless your mask fits correctly.
Plus, a comfortable mask that fits well will make using PAP easier. When looking for a comfortable mask, keep in mind the fit (one size does NOT fit all) and the style, which is a personal preference that only you can decide.
Choose a CPAP Mask – The Different Types of Masks
- CPAP Triangular Masks: This is the most common type of mask used. They are designed in the form of a triangle to easily fit your nose. A strap will allow you to secure the mask. You have a choice of full face — that covers your nose and mouth — or, nasal that just covers your nose.
- CPAP Oral Masks: This mask has been designed for people who sleep with their mouth open. These oral masks also come with a heated humidifier, which will keep both your mouth and regions of your throat wet. The only disadvantage of this mask is that certain people find it very uncomfortable to wear due to the nasal plugs attached to the device.
- CPAP Nasal Pillow Mask: This mask has two separate parts; both have to be inserted in to the nostril itself. While using this type of mask, place the tubes by looping it over your head. This will allow you to sleep on either side of the body without disturbing the mask.
- CPAP Hybrid Pillow Mask: This type of mask is usually a mixture of two or more masks. This type of mask is useful for people who suffer from Mixed Apnea, or who have difficulty finding a mask that fits correctly.
Remember, when you choose a CPAP mask, do your research. Talk to your doctor about your sleeping habits and other personal preferences. Choosing the right CPAP mask will ensure longer use from the mask and better results from your CPAP Machine.
Cleaning your CPAP Machine is essential to get the maximum benefits from your machine. It takes an hour or less, but you will definitely notice a difference when the parts of your machine are clean and fresh.
How Do I Clean My CPAP Machine?
- Before you start, unplug your CPAP machine so you won’t get shocked.
- Disconnect your mask from the CPAP tubing. If your mask has a headgear, detach it. If there are other pieces that are easily reattached, these also can be separated.
- Remove the CPAP tubing from any connectors, the humidifier, or from the CPAP machine itself, if it connects directly.
- If you have a humidifier unit, remove it from the CPAP machine, and separate it into pieces, if you can do it easily.
- Wet a soft cloth with warm water. Gently wipe down the outer surface of the CPAP machine.
- Fill a container with warm water. Add a small amount of gentle dish soap.
- Submerge the mask, headgear, tubing, and connectors in the warm soapy water. Allow it to soak for about 30 minutes.
- Then, wipe out the mask with a soft cloth and warm water, and swish soapy water through the tubing. Allow everything to air dry on a towel. These items should ideally be cleaned every day, or as often as possible.
- The humidifier should be cleaned with hot water and mild soap. It should also be allowed to air dry. Remember to only put distilled water in the humidifier. If you don’t, there is an increased risk of illness as well as the probability that hard minerals will build up on your equipment. The humidifier should be cleaned weekly.
- Some CPAP machines have filters. It’s important to review your manufacturer’s instructions or ask your equipment provider about how these should be maintained. Some can be rinsed but others must be replaced.
- Finally, after everything has been allowed to air dry, reassemble the parts. Apply the headgear to your mask, hook the mask back onto the tubing and any connectors, and connect the tubing back to the humidifier or directly to the CPAP machine. Turn the machine on briefly and listen for any air leaks that weren’t there before.
- If you find that your sleep apnea symptoms have returned or you feel like your machine isn’t working right, bring it in to your equipment provider and have things checked out.
Important Tips When Cleaning Your CPAP Machine
1. You must keep your equipment clean. You don’t want to breathe in dirt, bacteria or mold. If you have been sick, clean your equipment more often.
2. Remember to always follow the advice of your medical and equipment providers as well as the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your CPAP.
3. Only use gentle soap on your equipment. Harsh cleaners or detergents can make you sick. Only use distilled water in your humidifier.
4. DO NOT wash your equipment in a dishwasher or washing machine.
CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure, is one of the most effective cures for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). A CPAP machine maintains a steady flow of air into your system, keeping your airways open. It also restores normal levels of oxygen while you sleep. Along with normalizing the breathing of people suffering from sleep apnea, CPAP also helps to protect them from health risks associated with OSA.
What are the Benefits of CPAP Use?
The most important benefit of CPAP use for people with OSA is better sleep quality.
Without a good night’s sleep, people often feel sluggish and fatigued during the day. This is especially important to commercial drivers who need to stay alert and focused behind the wheel. With the use of CPAP, night sleeping patterns are improved, reducing fatigue during the day.
Lessens chance of heart diseases
Sleep apnea causes pauses in breathing throughout the night. These pauses result in drastic changes in the levels of oxygen, which puts a strain on the heart — increasing the heart rate. Use of CPAP machine helps to maintain steady air flow to the system and helps prevent many heart related diseases like congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) causes insulin resistance and glucose intolerance in the patients. Use of CPAP helps to improve insulin sensitivity, in type II diabetics.
Slows down the emotional roller coaster
People using CPAP usually exhibit decreased levels of anxiety and depression, and improvement in emotional stability.
Using CPAP improves sleep, ability to think, and concentrate. Users are able to make better decisions at both work and in personal life. Enhancing their overall productivity.
Sleeping and breathing better improves your overall health. Which could mean less trips to the doctor. Which gives users more time to do the things they love.
CPAP should be used the whole night and even while taking naps. The body needs to adjust to using the CPAP machine. Using it only part of the time could be risky. So if you are suffering from OSA, use CPAP and improve your health.
This introduction to CPAP Machines should help you understand how to buy a CPAP machine, the different types of machines, and the many features that are available.
Do I Need a Prescription?
All CPAP and CPAP Masks, from any online vendor, require a prescription. Prescriptions can be faxed to us or emailed to info@CPAPAMERICA.com. We accept scanned copies, photocopies, and even pictures from your cell phone or camera.
How Do I get a Copy of My Prescription?
If you don’t have a copy of your prescription, we can help. You must have had some contact with a physician in the past who did prescribe CPAP therapy. We can contact your doctor on your behalf and attempt to get a copy of your prescription for you. All we need is your name, your date of birth, and your doctor’s phone number.
Types of Machines
There are three basic types of machines, CPAP, APAP or Auto CPAP, and BiPAP:
- CPAP Machines – The most basic machine. A CPAP machine delivers a consistent amount of air pressure, measured in centimeters of water pressure or cm/H2O, via a CPAP mask. The air pressure helps to push back the soft palette of a patient and maintain an open airway. A basic CPAP machine is all most patients need to accomplish this. Different machines have different features and abilities.
- APAP Machines or Auto CPAP Machines – Auto Adjusting Positive Airway Pressure or APAP machines are another type of machine used to non-invasively treat Sleep Apnea. Instead of delivering one or two set pressures like a CPAP or BiPAP machine, the APAP machine adjusts with each breath to your ideal pressure. It can adjust for sleeping position, weight fluctuations, or anything else that can change the pressure required to keep your airway open. People often find these machines to be the most comfortable and some prefer them because many offer more therapy tracking information that can be reported to your doctor. Every machine comes with a power cord, filter, and hose (tubing), and can be enhanced with additional elements such as heated humidifiers, therapy tracking software, and off-grid power options. They are small enough to fit on a bedside table and some are convenient for traveling.
- BiPAP Machines — BiPAP, or bi-level positive airway pressure helps keep the upper airways of the lungs open by providing a flow of air delivered through a face mask. With BiPaP, a doctor prescribes specific pressures that alternate: A higher pressure is used to breathe in (called inspiratory positive airway pressure, or IPAP) and a lower pressure is used when breathing out (called expiratory positive airway pressure, or EPAP). BiPAP Therapy is very popular for COPD patients over CPAP Therapy.
Data Recording and Compliance Reporting
Some machines record only usage hours, while others can be very detailed in their data recording including actually monitoring hypopneas and your sinus rhythm.
Data recording is usually performed by request of your sleep doctor or PCP. Some manufacturers offer the ability for a patient to view the data via software or a website, while others restrict the data to doctors only.
For example, most of the Respironics System One devices have data recording capabilities. The depth of recording changes depending on the model. For example, the Basic CPAP has no ability, but the Plus and Pro models have more ability.
The type of data recorded, the method, and the physical media all change between manufacturers. If your doctor has requested data for compliance information, please check with us before purchase to ensure you are getting the right type.
Do I Need a Humidifier?
You don’t have to have humidification, but it makes CPAP therapy so much more comfortable to use warm and moist air than cool dry air. All machines have the option of using a heated humidifier and it is by far the most popular choice. Plus, all machines have the option of either separating the CPAP from the humidifier, or turning off the humidifier if needed.
- Leak Compensation – Small leaks in your mask can cause a pressure drop. CPAP machines with this feature can compensate for those small air leaks to help keep the prescribed pressure at all times.
- Mask On/Off Alert – A small beep, or at the least a message on the LCD will alert you if the mask is off. This is especially helpful for patients who involuntarily pull the mask off during sleep.
- Altitude Adjustment – The altitude you live in can cause changes to the air pressure being delivered. Most CPAP machines either automatically adjust for high altitudes, or have a manual switch.
- Heated Tubing – A small heating element is placed in the tubing to keep the air at a constant temperature. This helps prevent condensation in the tubing that is also called “rain-out”.
- Voltage Selection – Most machines have the ability to switch from standard US voltages to international voltages.
- Ramp – When you first start your nightly CPAP, the CPAP machine will start a low pressure and slowly ramp to the prescribed pressure. This helps you fall asleep faster under low pressures, or simply to adjust to the higher pressures while reading or watching television before you go to sleep. Ramp times are usually set between 0-45 minutes.
- Warranties – CPAPAmerica.com handles all warranty claims for devices that we sell. If you have a problem with your machine, call our Customer Service Department.
What is Maggie’s Law?
Maggie’s Law states that a sleep-deprived driver qualifies as a reckless driver who can be convicted of vehicular homicide. The law is named in honor of a 20-year-old college student, Maggie McDonnell, who was killed when a driver crossed three lanes of traffic and struck her car head-on in 1997. The driver admitted that he hadn’t slept for 30 hours and had been using drugs.
When the case went to trial, the jury was deadlocked. In a second trial, the defense argued that because there was no law against falling asleep at the wheel in New Jersey, the driver did nothing wrong. The judge accepted this argument, and the driver received only a suspended jail sentence and a $200 fine.
That decision was unacceptable to Maggie’s mom, Carole McDonnell. She fought for a law to punish drowsy drivers in New Jersey. Maggie’s Law defines fatigue as “being without sleep for more than 24 consecutive hours” and makes driving while fatigued a criminal offense.
Get Tested for Sleep Apnea
Don’t drive drowsy. If you think that you suffer from sleep apnea, talk to your doctor, get tested and find out more about CPAP therapy to give yourself a more restful night’s sleep. CPAPAmerica.com can help you with all of your CPAP machine and sleep apnea testing needs.