Sleep Apnea: A Factor in Carrie Fisher’s Death

How Apnea Played a Role in Leia’s Death

Carrie Fisher, known for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise, made the news this week when it was released that sleep apnea played a role in her untimely death.

Throughout the years working as a sleep technologist I can attest to the long running Darth Vader jokes from patients when I fitted them with a CPAP mask   (especially if it was a full face mask). I must admit it really does sound much like the Lord Vader’s breathing when you turn the CPAP machine on. These jokes now carry new meaning as the spotlight is now on a sleep disorder that affects an estimated 22 million adults in the Unites States. Shockingly, most people that have sleep apnea don’t even realize it because only 20-25% have been diagnosed.

Opiates and Sleep Apnea

The toxicology report indicates that opiates and illegal narcotics may be involved in Carrie Fisher’s death. When you combine drugs that cause respiratory depression with someone that has untreated sleep apnea you create a life threatening situation. For those unaware of what sleep apnea is, it’s a sleeping disorder where a person’s airway is blocked by collapsed tissue in the throat or an enlarged tongue that falls back that restricts air to the lungs. These incidents can last anywhere from 10 seconds up to a couple of minutes and can occur as often as every minute of sleep. During an apnea event there is a drop in blood oxygen level and increased workload on the heart.

A Perfect Storm

Phrenic nerves in our central nervous system send impulses from our brains to the diaphragm to stimulate respiratory drive (breathing in and out). When an opiate is introduced to someone with untreated sleep apnea the airway is blocked and our brains cannot get the message to our body to breathe. In 2008 I was a part of a research project that concentrated on a novel treatment for sleep apnea associated with use of opiates. The findings of this study revealed that opiate users exhibited central sleep apnea events that required a special device to stimulate a breath. Basically, someone with obstructive sleep apnea (closed airway) also had central sleep apnea components (lack of respiratory effort to breathe).

A Deadly Epidemic

The heroin epidemic and prescription drug abuse today causes great concern. When you add the rising obesity rate in the U.S. today , the most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea, with the increasing heroin and opiate abuse the result will be more sleep related deaths.

Throughout the years the rising amount of celebrities that have overdosed and died in their sleep has always prompted me to think that sleep apnea may have played a role in their death. As a sleep technologist I recognizes indicators such as neck size greater than 17″ as a sign someone may have this sleep disorder. Notable celebrities such as Chris Farley and Philip Seymour Hoffman have always had me wondering if they had sleep apnea and how severe they may have been. Sadly, the last thing on someone’s mind when they take are on opiates is to put their CPAP mask on when they go to sleep. The question still remains if Carrie Fisher was on or using CPAP as indicated for sleep apnea treatment.

The Silent Killer

Many people may not even be aware they suffer from sleep apnea until a spouse may tell them or their physician orders a sleep test because of indicated symptoms. There are two pathways a person with suspected sleep apnea can go to find out if they have this sleep disorder. A polysomnogram is an in-lab overnight sleep study where physiological parameters are monitored such as airflow, oxygen levels, brain wave activity and respiratory effort. For people that likely suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (most common) an in home sleep apnea test kit can be performed.

Apnea Risk Factors

Sleep Apnea Risks

In home sleep apnea test kits allow you sleep in your own bed and monitor the major physiological parameters that may determine if you suffer from sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing. We offer the testing kit service for the low price of $249.00 (compare that to the thousands a sleep lab may charge you or your insurance). Our test kits are scored by a registered polysomnographic technologist and reviewed by a board certified sleep physician.

Symptoms That You May Have Sleep Apnea

  • Snoring or witnessed gasping for air while sleeping
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Falling asleep in situations where you should be awake (i.e. driving, watching TV, etc)
  • Waking to extreme morning dry mouth or sore throat
  • Frequent night time urination
  • Morning headaches
  • Moodiness , irritability and short term memory loss
  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
  • Neck size greater than 17 inches
  • Diabetes

  How is Sleep Apnea Treated?

The gold standard for sleep apnea treatment is a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. The CPAP machine takes room air and filters it, adds humidity and pressurizes it to keep the airway open while you sleep. The machine does not breathe for you, it simply keeps your airway open for you to breathe on your own thus it should not be confused with an oxygen concentrator or ventilator. The pressurized air is sent to a hose that is attached to a mask that you wear while you sleep.

“Sleep apnea treatment is a lifelong commitment though the positive outcomes of compliance far outweigh the deadly side effects of untreated sleep apnea”

The use of CPAP is a lifelong commitment however the positive and noticeable impacts this has on a person’s life is well worth it. For many people CPAP compliance can promote a longer and healthier life as well as improvement of co-morbid conditions such as hypertension. Studies have shown that a person that regularly uses their CPAP can have a reduction in healthcare costs and reduced risks of major health issues.

There are  surgical options or oral appliances that can be used for people and it has been shown that sufferers with a mild to moderate condition may benefit from these pathways.

For more information you can contact our clinical specialist at 1-800-274-1366 or visit us at http://www.1800cpap.com

 

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CPAP Mask Reviews for 2017

 

CPAP Mask Reviews It’s that time of year again where we spotlight some of the best CPAP mask reviews on the market for 2016 and look ahead at new CPAP mask deals coming on the market for 2017. Name brand companies like ResMed, Philips Repsironics and Fisher Paykel continue to dominate the market with new sleep apnea therapy interfaces but some lesser known manufactures are making some noise with comparable designs and lower price points.

For a new continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) user the experience of finding the right mask may seem to be a daunting and pricey task. Most CPAP providers or companies will tell you what their top selling or best rated mask might be but that data can be misleading, especially if many of their long time customers have been using the same mask for years. Keep in mind that most people replace their mask once or twice a year depending on how well they clean and maintain it. Some durable medical equipment companies have exclusive deals worked out with a manufacturer and will only provide you with that manufacturers brand and not offer any other options. And then there is the companies I despise; those that only offer you the mask they can get for the lowest price.

Seasoned CPAP wearers typically stick to the same mask they find to be the most comfortable but should look at what is new with the brand they prefer to see what kind of modifications have been made to an existing mask family. A good example of positive innovations would be the ResMed Swift series of nasal pillow masks. I personally use the Swift FX however I have changed my headgear from the standard model to the Bella straps. Long time users also have to adapt to change as some masks have been discontinued so this will force them to switch when their preferred mask is no longer available such as the Respironics GoLife series of nasal pillow masks. Below we have listed a few masks and categories to help both the new user and seasoned user alike.

While many manufactures have multiple masks available in each style, we have highlighted a few from each to consider.

ResMed AirFit P10

Nasal Pillow CPAP Masks – the least invasive style of sleep apnea masks, it usually consists of a small pillow cushion that has inserts for the nostrils and often only uses a single strap. These masks are mostly recommended for people that have CPAP machine or Auto CPAP pressures less than 10cm/H2O. People with mild or moderate sleep apnea, snoring or upper airway resistance are ideal candidates. They are also a good starting tool for people that are having a difficult time adjusting to sleeping with a mask on their face or suffer from claustrophobia. The pillow cushion inserts and headgear straps can be replaced separately and should be changed every 3 months or once noticeable wear and tear or leaking occurs.

1800CPAP Top Nasal Pillow Mask Picks:

Comfort: ResMed P10, Philips Respironics Nuance and DreamWear

Price: Wizard 230, Fisher Paykel Pilairo Q

Latest Release: Rio 3B Medical, ResMed P20 Series (Maybe Soon?) Fisher Paykel  Brevida

Top All Time Sellers: ResMed Swift FX, ResMed Swift II

 

Full face CPAP Masks

Full Face Style Masks

CPAP Full Face Masks these masks are most popular with users that are on higher CPAP or BiPAP (bi-level) pressures. Covering both the nose and mouth these interfaces allow people to breathe through their nose and mouth, a typical way the average sleep apnea suffer sleeps. Many people find the pressure of CPAP when they are first introduced can be a bit overwhelming and the use of a full face mask offers relief from difficulty breathing through the nose only. Once a user becomes acclimated to sleeping with CPAP the sensation of the pressure decreases and some users can switch from full face masks to lesser invasive nasal or nasal pillow masks.  Full face masks are prone to higher mask leaks and it is important to clean the cushion surface nightly to remove facial oils or makeup. Replacement cushions and headgear are available for these products and should be changed every 3-6 months or as needed. If you find yourself over tightening your headgear to get a better seal or hear/feel air leaking it is either time to replace or clean as needed.

1800CPAP Top Full Face Mask Picks:

Comfort: Philips Respironics Amara Gel, ResMed F10 Series

Price: ResMed AirFit,  SleepNet Ascend, Apex Wizard 220

Latest Release: ResMed F20 Series Full Faces, Fisher Paykel Simplus, Philips Respironics Amara View

Top All Time Sellers: ResMed Mirage Quattro, Philips Respironics Comfort Gel

 

Pico Nasal CPAP Mask by Philips Respironics

Pico Nasal CPAP Mask by Philips Respironics

CPAP Nasal MasksOnce the most popularly prescribed interface, the nasal style is a triangle shaped design that covers the nose only. These masks are lighter weight than the full face but heavier that the nasal pillow style. Nasal styles are mostly recommended for people that do not need a full face mask and may be irritated by nostril inserts of the pillow style masks. The same cleaning, maintenance and replacement schedule applies for this style. A pro to these masks would be price point as they are often cheaper than the nasal pillow and full face.

1800CPAP Top Nasal Mask Picks:

Comfort: Philips Respironics DreamWear, Swift FX Nano, Philips Respironics Pico, Fisher Paykel Eson

Price: Philips Respironics ComfortGel Blue, 3B Aerie

Latest Release: Fisher Paykel Eson 2, ResMed N20 Series

Top All Time Sellers: Philips Resprionics ComfortGel,

 

Best CPAP Masks for Side Sleepers– For those that like to switch from side to side during the night the hassle and aggravation of a mask digging into your face can be annoying and painful for sleeping. The CPAP “battle scars”, red mask line marks on the face from the strap or cushion digging into your face, can be embarrassing. For Full face users there is not many ways around this but for nasal pillow users or nasal style users there are some options that can make these side effects less painful.

1800CPAP Top Choice: ResMed Swift Bella

 

Best CPAP Masks for Mouth Breathers– There is no easy way around this one other than a full face is your only option. There are a couple of full face masks that differ in design and offer a hybrid style of nasal pillow while still covering your mouth like the ResMed Mirage Liberty. Hybrid masks work best for people that need a full face for mouth breathing but have a narrow nose bridge that make it difficult to seal around the eyes.  SleepWeaver offers a cloth style full face that can help with people that also suffer from side sleeper issues.

1800CPAP Top Choice: ResMed Mirage Liberty

 

Non Prescription CPAP Masks– Most people don’t realize that they can purchase their mask and headgear separately and avoid the hassle of trying to track down their prescription. We offer all of our masks with optional headgear to assist people with expediting their order. It’s quite simple if you think about it, all you have to do is attach the headgear which you were going to adjust anyways. We do encourage all of our customers to provide us with a copy of their prescription or their physicians information so that we can obtain a copy but just in case that’s not an option available you can rest easy knowing you can still get your CPAP supplies hassle free.

View All No Prescription Masks

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Sleep Apnea and Shoulder Pain

Sleep Apnea Linked To Shoulder Pain

Shoulder Pain Sleep Position

Apnea and Aches

Could my sleep apnea be the cause of my shoulder pain? Anyone who has crossed over to the 40 years and older club will tell you that you start feeling your age. Recently I began experiencing pain in my elbow caused by tendinitis or otherwise called “tennis elbow”. I thought nothing of it because I coach baseball and chalked it up to pitching batting practice on a frequent basis but this week I had a new ache that had me concerned; shoulder pain. Like many people looking for a quick answer as to the cause of this I took to the internet to try to find a likely cause. I came across an article that described my symptoms to a tee and I was shocked to find out that my sleeping position could be the culprit of the shoulder pain. My knowledge of sleep apnea made me think there could be a link that nobody has discussed before.

Your Sleep Position Can Be The Culprit

CPAP Supine Sleeper

Side Sleeper versus Supine Sleeper. Can You Guess Which One Got a Better Night’s Sleep?

Now this may be out of left field but the article I read specifically detailed certain sleeping positions that can wear down the cartilage of joints as well as inflammation of the tendons, muscles, and joints. Specifically it describes sleeping with on your side with one arm under your pillow and for a person with sleep apnea or snoring I can relate to side sleeping as a way to reduce sleep related breathing disorders. I use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine on a regular basis but I still tend to sleep in a position I have been accustomed to because I have done so for most of my life. It’s pretty common knowledge of spouses to wake up their bed partner and ask them to roll to their side when snoring keeps them awake. When we sleep on our side or stomach it is normal for a person to tuck an arm under the pillow to prop up your head or simply find a place to keep your arms while sleeping in that position.

A light bulb went off in my head when I read that article; how many people that have UNdiagnosed sleep apnea tend to sleep on their side or stomach? Our brain has a natural survival instinct to breathe while we are sleeping and for a person that snores or has sleep apnea and doesn’t use a CPAP machine sleeping on our side or stomach (prone) is way to allow more airflow to the lungs. There are even shirts on the market that have tennis balls sewn into the back to prevent people from rolling on to their backs (supine) which is the position that makes sleep apnea and snoring the most severe. Could sleeping on your side or stomach cause rotator cuff or elbow pain from your arm supporting your head?

My wife suggests getting cortisone shots to relieve the pain however I had found that if I use my CPAP and sleep on my back with my arms to my side the pain subsides greatly the next day. While the cortisone shot would make the pain dissipate I am electing to adjust my sleep position instead to see if I can get some personal data and possibly help others that may have the same symptoms. While it is always suggested to seek advice from your physician regarding treatment and therapy recommendations some pain and discomfort advice can be investigated by simply adjusting your sleep position. I am hoping my shoulder pain, likely caused by inflammation, will go away and I am still holding out hope that my sleep position was the culprit. I have also considered purchasing a CPAP pillow made specifically for users to be able to sleep on their side without discomfort.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea and Death

If Left Untreated, Sleep Apnea Can Lead to Co-Morbid Conditions and Even Death

For those that are unfamiliar with sleep apnea and may have stumbled across this article by chance here is a brief description of the disorder and recommended treatment option. Sleep apnea and snoring occurs when our airway becomes obstructed and air is restricted to our lungs. Many different factors can be cause of this closure such as excess tissue in the throat that becomes relaxed as we fall asleep or an enlarged tongue or uvula that fall back and restrict air to the lungs. A CPAP machine takes room air and pressurizes it through a mask and hose that is worn on the nose to provide a pneumatic splint in the airway to allow a person to breathe freely with air unobstructed to the lungs.

Think You May Have Sleep Apnea? Take An At Home Sleep Test

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Bigfoot Needs a CPAP

Stern Show “Wack” Packer Needs CPAP

Hey Now. While listening to some Sternthology on the Howard Stern show a few weeks ago I came across one of the shows that highlighted the first time the “Wack Packer” Bigfoot was introduced to the show. He was on a panel of people that were being interviewed for consideration of becoming a member of the “Wack Pack”. A particular part of Bigfoot’s interview caught my ear when he said that he had a sleep test done that showed “I died 53 times a night I did” (in deep Bigfoot voice). That particular line struck me because I have been in the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) and sleep apnea industry for 15 years and it’s quite common for people to have a complete misunderstanding of what sleep apnea is and what they hear when told “their number”. For Bigfoot, the 53 times he died that night is more than likely the number of times per hour he stopped breathing from airway closure, otherwise known as his AHI (apnea hypopnea index).Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Now I can’t claim to be a “super fan” of the show but I have listened to it religiously since 2010 when I commuted from Cincinnati, Ohio to Lexington, Kentucky to work in our CPAP store, normally a boring 2 hour morning drive that listening to Howard made me wish it took a little bit longer so I could hear the entire show. If you haven’t listed to the show or you have a preconceived notion of what you think the show might be about because you’ve heard things about Howard that you find lewd, I suggest you give it a try because you will not find a better interviewer. Two paragraphs into this blog you might be asking yourself why a CPAP Sleep Therapy company is writing about The Howard Stern Show but if you are a listener of the program and know most of the staff and regular callers you will see how it all comes together.

A couple of times the show has conducted an IQ contest between staff and Wack Packers and it prompted a conversation between me and the head of our marketing department (also a long time fan) about a contest idea of which staffer or caller would have the most severe case of sleep apnea. We even thought about contacting the show and providing home sleep apnea test kits for staff we felt would be good candidates for the contest. This concept never happened so instead of doing the contest I thought I would write in JDini fashion my predictions of the type of apnea and severity of each case based off of what I’ve heard from the show.

Stern Show Sleep Apnea Contest (in no particular order)

These predictions are purely speculative and are for entertainment purposes only.

Gary “Bababooey” Dellabate– Hello Hello, Gary has been roasted time and time again for getting caught sleeping on the job or falling asleep within minutes of getting on an airplane. Gary’s symptoms, particularly if he snores, sound like a mild case of sleep apnea or poor sleep hygiene. Giant teeth haven’t been shown to lead to sleep apnea but an enlarged tongue or uvula can be a factor. His constant throat clearing sounds like he has an obstructed airway. [Insert Sour Shoes Voice] My JDini guess is Gary has an apnea index (AHI) of 9 times per hour.

Artie Lange– While Artie isn’t a part of the show anymore he would have been my guess to have the most severe case of sleep apnea. Not only would Artie’s apnea be severe because of his weight, which would have resulted on obstructive sleep apnea but his reported use of drugs and alcohol would have contributed to another type of sleep apnea which is central sleep apnea. This type of apnea can be caused from use of opiates which numb the neuroreceptors in the brain that stimulate respiratory drive. My JDini guess would be and apnea index (AHI) of 84 times per hour.

John Hein-A connoisseur of fast food, John’s diet is most likely the leading cause or factor of his predicted sleep apnea. When we gain weight we gain it everywhere and an increase in neck size will cause the airway to collapse when the muscles in our throat cannot support the weight.  My JDini guess would be and apnea index (AHI) of 26 times per hour.

Richard Christy– Though Richard did lose a lot of weight he does like his pumpkin beer and plenty of it. Attending Wing Bowls and Beer Fests will put that weight right back on and increase the severity of his predicted sleep apnea. Alcohol is a depressant and relaxes the muscles. After someone consumes alcohol (especially in great amounts) the airway relaxes more than normal when we fall asleep. This will result in snoring from individuals that do not normally snore and will severely increase apnea events in people with heavy snoring. A person that has a mild case of sleep apnea (5 to 15 times per hour) may see an increase of twice as many when inebriated.  My JDini for Richard is 38 times per hour (31 if Sal is spooning with him).

JD Harmeyer- Dirty sheets aside, the Cincinnati native needs to ditch the vending machine diet if he wants to get a better night’s sleep. Being overweight and obesity are the largest contributing factors of people with sleep disordered breathing. If we knew who JD’s girlfriend was maybe we could ask her is he snores or stops breathing in his sleep. My JDini for JD is 29 times per hour (borderline severe).

Benjy Bronk– Bennnn-Geeee. Though Benjy has lost a bunch of weight recently there still might be some lingering snoring or apnea that cannot be found with a Perez Hilton probe. In many cases of people that have sleep apnea the amount of event per hour can be reduced, meaning a person that had severe sleep apnea may reduce to moderate or mild. For people that accomplish this it is recommended that a auto adjusting CPAP be used to accommodate the need for a lower pressure setting. My JDini for Bennn-Geeee is 9 times per hour.

High Pitch Eric and Joey Boots– Being roommates may be out of the question for these two but my guess is that they share the same severe sleep apnea diagnosis. These 2 guys are off the chart when it comes to the BMI chart (body mass index) and both are the best candidates for home sleep testing and Bi-Level therapy (Bi-PAP). An auto adjusting Bi-Level, a device great for people that need such high CPAP pressures that one with 2 settings (inhale and exhale) work better. High Pitch might be able to stay out of the hospital and spend more time on Blue Bloods if he decides to seek treatment. My JDini puts both of these big fellas in the 78 time per hour range.

Bigfoot– He already told us he has an apnea/hypopnea index of 53 he does. However, the bad news for Bigfoot is that diagnosis was a while ago and more than likely his smoking and age have increased that number quite a bit. Among being overweight, there are a number of other signs or symptoms of sleep apnea such as high blood pressure, smoking, age, neck size, enlarged tongue, etc etc. Maybe John Lieberman can revisit Bigfoot’s home and have him do a home sleep testing kit to see what his new number is. I get the sneaky suspicion that Bigfoot would pawn his CPAP machine though. My JDini for Bigfoot is 67 times per hour it is.

Apnea Risk Factors

Sleep Apnea Risks

Though all of these predictions have not been validated and are meant to be fun entertainment they are intended to highlight certain factors and symptoms a person with sleep apnea can exhibit. It is estimated up to 18 million people suffer from sleep apnea and only 20% of these people have been diagnosed. CPAP is the gold standard recommended treatment however only 50% of those people are compliant and use therapy every night.  Our goal is to provide public awareness to this sleep disorder that can lead to stroke, heart failure, hypertension, depression, and even death. Check out more education services including signs and symptoms on our blog or visit our store at www.1800CPAP.com

#sternshow #cpap #sleepapnea #howardstern

Jason Smith, RPSGT

email jsmith@1800cpap.com

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Home Sleep Study: Insurance versus Self Pay

Home Sleep Study Cost and Options

It’s that time of year again when people with health insurance will notice their deductible is about to roll over. Insurance is one of those words that feel like a safety blanket to protect you against high out of pocket cost for unexpected tests or treatment but in a lot of cases you are not protected until you meet that dreaded deductible. With each passing year the average deductible increases while often times the amount of covered percentage decreases.  More people are finding that self pay (paying out of your own pocket) is a cheaper alternative than using insurance. Yes, you read that correctly, if you are looking for home sleep study cost, replacement CPAP machines, masks or supplies shopping online could save you hundreds of dollars when you pay for them yourself.

CPAP Stores

Leave a Little Extra in Your Wallet This Year. Shop 1800CPAP.com

Don’t just take our word for it, call your DME (durable medical equipment) provider after your deductible rolls over and tell them you are looking to get a new CPAP mask. They will run a benefits check on your policy and if you have ANY deductible or co-pay they will let you know what your coverage is. They will then provide you with the mask and bill your insurance and apply that towards your deductible but since you aren’t covered at 100% you will receive a bill from them for the entire cost which for most products can be as high as 3X the amount of what you could get it for self pay. A full face mask might cost you over $350 dollars when you use your healthcare plan versus $125 if you bought that same mask from 1800CPAP.com.

How My Insurance Works

You select a coverage plan and pay a monthly premium towards it. To keep your monthly out of pocket cost down you can select a cheaper policy however it comes with a higher deductible and less coverage. You have a deductible which is the amount of money you pay out of your own pocket before your insurance kicks in. This resets each year, usually on January 1st or July 1st. After you have reached your deductible for the year THEN your insurance starts paying towards your insurance claims. The amount you owe will be based on your individual plan coverage. So if you are covered at 80%, then you still owe 20% of everything AFTER you have met your entire deductible.

Sleep Apnea Causes and Symptoms

Traditional Sleep Testing Costs

Most people seeking sleep apnea testing are typically referred to a sleep specialist for consultation. If you have sign or symptoms of sleep apnea your doctor will order an overnight diagnostic test in a sleep laboratory to rule out sleep disordered breathing. You will typically see the doctor again in a follow up appointment to discuss the results of the study and if your results were positive for sleep apnea another overnight stay in the sleep lab will be ordered for treatment. During this phase you will be hooked up to all of the same wires as your first test with the addition of a CPAP mask. The sleep technicians will increase CPAP pressure to find optimal setting that eliminates apnea. A follow up visit is scheduled with your doctor to discuss progress and CPAP usage. See the breakdown below for potential cost when choosing this route. This process could cost you as much as $5000.00 out of pocket and does not include a PAP therapy device that could cost you as much an additional $3000.00

Home Sleep Study

Affordable Low Cost Sleep Study Option

Avoid the hassle, headache and high cost of traditional sleep testing and order and easy to use at home sleep study kit for just $249. We ship a type III diagnostic test kit to your house with simple to follow instructions to be used that night. We use board certified sleep physicians that interpret the results of the study and provide recommendation and FREE prescription for therapy. The typical treatment for sleep disordered breathing is an auto adjusting CPAP machine, a device that detects airway closure and increases and decreases to optimal pressure setting throughout the night.

A big question that always comes up is how we can charge $249 for something that in-lab facilities charge thousands for. The answer is simple; we don’t have the expensive overhead of staffing multiple professional sleep techs throughout the night to watch you nor do we have the expensive rent of a building to conduct the test in. Most of these sleep labs use the same at home sleep study kit but only recommend it to a few patients because they need to fill the beds of the sleep lab. Arguments have went back and forth for years in the sleep medicine community about the importance for in-lab testing and the unreliability of a home sleep study but studies in these devices have been shown to be just as reliable to diagnose the typical obstructive sleep apnea sufferer. So how do I know which sleep test is right for me?

A Home Sleep Study is Right for You If….
Home Sleep Study

Home Sleep Study Test Kit

At home sleep studies are most commonly recommended for people suspected of having the most common of apnea classifications, obstructive sleep apnea. This type of apnea is a blockage or partial blockage that occurs in a person’s airway caused by excess tissue that collapse once muscles have relaxed during sleep (usually in people with necks size greater than 17 inches). An enlarged tongue or uvula can also be a culprit if it fall back causing restricted air to the lungs.

If you have been told that you stop breathing during your sleep or have loud snoring it is most likely caused by OSA (obstructive sleep apnea).

The home sleep study (HSS) that we administer is a Type III device that measures air flow, respiratory effort, oxygen saturation and heart rate and is recommended for those that:

  1. High pre-test probability of sleep apnea (you suspect you may have it)
  2. Have a neck size greater than 17 inches in men; 16 inches in women.
  3. Have a BMI (body mass index) greater than 30
An In-Lab Sleep Test is Right for You If….
In Lab Sleep Study

In-Lab Sleep Study

An at home sleep study is a great economical option for people that suspect they have sleep disordered breathing BUT in some cases it is recommended that a person undergo an in-lab study; those would include:

  1. You suffer from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  2. You suffer from CHF (congestive heart failure)
  3. You suspect one of the following disorders:  central sleep apnea, narcolepsy, seizures, or parasomnia
  4. You use supplemental oxygen
  5. You have a chronic use of opiates

 

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How Long Does A CPAP Machine Last?

What Does Your CPAP Machine and Your Furnace Have in Common?

Last week the motor in my furnace burned out and like any normal person my first thought were “How much is this going to cost me?” and “Should the motor in my furnace burn out after just 8 years?”. I have always been diligent about changing the filter and making sure it was maintained but like any other motor that runs on a frequent basis (i.e. computers), it’s going to go bad at some point.  After the repair man inspected it my first question was answered quickly, $476.00 would be the cost of replacement and labor. While this was a bit hard to swallow it was relieving to know that it was fixed just in time for cold weather season.

Respironics CPAP Machine Filter

Replacing Your CPAP Filters Promotes Longer Machine Life

A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is very similar to a home furnace in the sense that they both have motors that propel a fan that generates air. They both use filters (standard and hypo-allergenic) to keep dust, particles, and debris out and when changed on a regular basis will prolong the life span of the unit. They both provide a life necessity for those that need it and without we may suffer. While I cannot answer how long the average life of a furnace motor is I can shed light on what is important for you to know about your CPAP.

CPAP Machine Trade In Program

Which Model CPAP is Best for Me?

This is a common question we get from our customers unfortunately it’s not a cut and dry answer. Over the past 14 years in sleep medicine I have seen many makes and models of CPAP and BiPAP (bi-level) on the market and some have been plagued with error codes and faults while others I can only describe as “work horses”. While the Respironics REMstar Legacy series in my opinion was a work horse that seemed to keep going and going well past the Energizer bunny, their next model the M-Series seem plagued from the first unit that rolled off of the assembly line. After processing many repair and returns for the Respironics M-Series (which they pulled from market rather quickly) we recommended that customers choose a ResMed or Fisher Paykel model. The M-series is long gone now and Philips, which purchased Respironics shortly after the M-Series, released newer models like the 50 series, 60 series, and now the DreamStation. The 50 and 60 series have been noted to be very durable and long lasting machines which has brought faith back to the Respironics brand.

Philips Respironics DreamStation CPAP Machine

The All New Philip Respironics DreamStation™ Series CPAP Models

If you ask me for a straight answer about the average life span my opinion would be 5-6 years or roughly 15,000 hours of run time (8 hours of use a night for 5-6 years) and granted I have no hard data to back this figure up outside of my direct experience with CPAP users. This number also correlates with health insurance provider’s approval for a new unit every 3-5 years. I have met people that have had the same CPAP machine for 12-13 years without any problems and those that seemed to go through them every couple of years. Buying a CPAP machine out of your own pocket can be nerve racking since you want to make sure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck we have suggested some things to consider below

How Can I Get The Most Out of My CPAP?

Research– Get feedback from product reviews of the model you are considering to purchase.  Newer does not always mean better, the ResMed AirSense series and Philips Respironics DreamStation have been released in recent months but that doesn’t mean they are any better than the ResMed S9 and Respironics 60 series, both of which have a great reputation for performance and durability. Both of these manufacturers offer a standard 2 year warranty to replace with new if the unit becomes defective however another manufacturer, Devilbiss offers an industry best 5 year warranty with a lower price tag. Consider purchasing a refurbished unit at the fraction of the price of a new one. Often times the refurbished units are returned by customers to providers because the customer tried and could not tolerate therapy and have very few hours of use and still carry a large chunk of the manufacturer warranty.

Cleaning CPAP Parts

Humidifier Chamber on the Right After 6 Months of Use Without Proper Cleaning

Proper Care and Maintenance- Be sure to properly care for the device you decide to go with. This includes changing the machine filter every 1-3 months or once you have noticed build up (the same you would see on your furnace filter). Place your unit in an area that is free of clutter and will allow sufficient airflow all around your unit. If you travel with your device be sure to take it as a carry on so that it is not damaged in baggage claim. Use a surge protector, not a power strip, where you plug it into. Take proper measures to see that it is secured from falling or from water damage from humidifiers (the CPAP bed holder is a great option for this).

CPAP Machine Bed Holder

CPAP Bedside Holder Secures Your Machine to Your Bed

Sleep apnea therapy devices have components and accessories that should always be replaced on a schedule basis to get the most out of your therapy as well as prolonging the life of your unit. Change your filter, tubing, water chamber, and mask as recommended or once you have noticed wear and tear.

 

 

Trade In Program 

We have recently started a trade-in program that offers you money off the purchase of a new unit. For more information about eligibility and qualifying models please contact our sales staff at 1-800-274-1366 or email Stephanie@1800cpap.com

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DreamWear Nasal CPAP Mask Product Review

New Respironics DreamWear CPAP Mask

In a scene that could best be described as a “mission impossible” security clearance situation our staff that attended the APSS June sleep conference in Seattle this year were able to get a sneak peak of the Dream series of CPAP products by Philips Respironics. This included the DreamStation™, the new series of CPAP and BiPAP machines as well as the “under the nose” nasal mask DreamWear™.  As with any new interface our staff anxiously awaited its arrival to market. We just received our first shipment last week and many of our employees where excited to see what our expert reviewers were going to say about this product.

DreamWear CPAP Mask

New DreamWear™ Nasal Msk by Philips Respironics

I like to refer to this mask as a nasal mask/nasal pillow hybrid and the DreamWear is offered in a fit pack that includes a medium frame, small, medium, medium-wide, and large cushions along with cloth mask strap pads and headgear. Other options such as small and medium frames are available and like always the headgear and cushions can be purchased separately or as needed replacements when your parts suffer from the wear and tear of nightly use. Be sure to wipe the cushion down daily to eliminate oil build up that could affect your cushion seal, we recommend CPAP mask wipes or a solution of baby shampoo that is low in alkaline and will not break down the mask like standard soaps that have harsher chemical.

DreamWear Nasal CPAP Mask Coupon

Our Review of the DreamWear™ CPAP Mask Fit Pack

The Pros

The nasal cushion of this mask is superior to those of most nasal pillows that insert directly into the nasal passage (which can cause irritation). I was very impressed with the comfort, weight, and seal this cushion offers. The mask frame itself is a tubing system that allows air to pass through both sides and delivers it to the cushion. I put this to the test of a side sleeper and attempted to restrict one side to see if I could notice a difference and the results revealed that when I did this the other side (non restricted) compensated and all pressure was still delivered to the cushion.

Respironics DreamWear™ Nasal CPAP Mask

Respironics DreamWear™ Nasal CPAP Mask

My next test was the noise level of the mask. It has a small CO2 exhalation slit in the cushion and on all the pressure settings I tried (4cm/H20, 9cm/H20 and 14cm/h20) the DreamWear™ passed with flying colors. This is a huge plus for people that are on auto adjusting or higher fixed pressure machines that may have a bed partner that is disturbed by air blowing out through the CO2 vents. It is very lightweight and includes mask strap pads that eliminate red marks or irritation to the skin where the mask frame comes in contact with your face.

The Cons

My first thought when putting the mask on was the awkwardness of having the tube connection at the top of my head. I have always slept with the ResMed Swift FX as my personal mask as its hose connects and hangs below. I first used a standard universal 6ft hose but quickly realized a lighter weight hose would pull less on the mask. Though a standard universal is not heavy I could notice the weight as the connection is on the crown of my head. I recommend a lighter weight tube such as the Slim Style Ultra Light Tube ($12.99). Most people think that if you use a Respironics CPAP machine that only Respironics hoses and mask will work with it but ALL makes/models of machines are compatible to work with all other masks and hose tubing.

DreamWear CPAP Mask

DreamWear CPAP mask with top Connecting CPAP Hose

The top of the head connection is not a new trend in apnea therapy products, other masks such as the Swift LT, Fisher Paykel Opus, and Apex Wizard 230 offer a similar option and some people prefer to have the hose drape over the head and behind them rather than to the side or below. The difference in the design is the latter products offer the option for both front hanging or over the top hanging whereas the Dream Wear only offers a connection to hand behind the head.

Our Thoughts

I definitely recommend this mask to people that love the concept of nasal pillows but are sensitive to nasal irritation. Instead of using prongs that insert into the nose it uses a cradle to seals all around the nose. The crown hose connection is something everyone should consider before buying because it does not allow for the option to allow the tube to hang below. This shouldn’t be a deal breaker but users may want to consider purchasing a CPAP tube lift kit that sits beside your bed and allows for greater movement or consider using a 8ft or 10ft tube to accommodate more freedom to move about the bed. The price point of $109 fits nicely since most new nasal mask products from premium manufactures start around $127.

Check back with us soon for more new products from Philips Respironics. Maybe a Dream Series of full face or nasal pillow will be released.

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CPAP Mask Reviews: New CPAP Products

Finding Your New CPAP Products Just Got Easier!

Regardless if you are new to CPAP or you have been a long time user you may not be aware of all the new cpap products available to you. Many people that are initially provided equipment from a DME (durable medical equipment) company are given the lowest costing mask because insurance reimbursement is the same regardless of make and model. What that means is they profit the same amount regardless if they give you a Kia or a Cadillac. Although the “Kia” may work for you, the “Cadillac” may make it more comfortable and tolerable. CPAP therapy is hard enough to adjust to on its own and it’s only fair that any person that wants to be compliant with therapy should be given all the tools to help them succeed without breaking the bank.

Read below for more information on the different styles and newer makes and models of masks that might make sleep with CPAP a better experience for you.

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Nasal Pillow Style MasksThe most minimal interfaces on the market; most only use 1 headgear strap and a cushion seal that inserts or surrounds the nostril area. Great for people with claustrophobia, mild to moderate sleep apnea or people on a pressure setting under 12cm/H20. Recommended for use with standard fixed pressure PAP machines and Auto Adjusting PAP machines. Not recommended for mouth breathers.

ResMed AirFit P10

ResMed AirFit P10

AirFit P10 and P10 for Her –$98 (Part Number 62900)  The newest pillow style from ResMed, the P10 only weighs in at 1.6 ounces, making it one of the lightest on the market. This is an improvement of the Swift FX series and the redesigned headgear straps make it easier to fit into place. It is available in models for him and for her. The fabric headgear eliminates the need of mask strap pads that are used on the FX series of silicone designed headgear. This product is universal to work with any make/model of CPAP therapy device.

Swift FX Nasal Pillow Mask

Swift FX Nasal Pillow Mask

Swift FX and Swift FX for Her –$99 (Part Number 61500 and 61540)  Our all time best selling and most popular nasal pillow masks. This ResMed interface is available with multiple replacement headgear options such as standard or Bella headgear for comfort. The Bella straps around the ears whereas the standard use a 2 strap connection on top of the head and around the head. Available to include all size silicone cushions (XS-LG). This mask should be worn loosely to prevent nostril soreness. This product is universal to work with any make/model of CPAP therapy device.

Nuance Nasal Pillow Mask

Nuance Nasal Pillow Mask

Nuance and Nuance Gel –$89 (Part Number 1105160) Philips Respironics has taken the success of the ComfortGel technology and applied it to a nasal pillow style masks that offers a standard or gel framed (recommended) headgear that rests against the cheek area. Customer feedback states that the gel tipped cushion makes it feels like there isn’t anything there, a more comfortable feeling that traditional silicone. The Nuance series has replaced the GoLife series of nasal pillow masks (no longer available). This product is universal to work with any make/model of CPAP therapy device.

Pilairo Q Nasal Pillow

Pilairo Q Nasal Pillow

Pilairo Q by Fisher Paykel –$79 (Part Number 400421) One of the lightest CPAP nasal pillows masks weighing only 1.94 ounces it uses a self-inflating air pillow seal to encompass the nostril area. Unique is the one size fits all cushion seal that makes fitting a breeze. This mask includes a 30 day satisfaction guarantee that can be used for store credit. Available with 2 different style headgear straps to provide ultimate comfort. Mask is universal and will work with any make/model of CPAP.

Mr Wizard Nasal Pillow CPAP Mask

Mr Wizard Nasal Pillow CPAP Mask

Mr. Wizard 230 and Ms. Wizard 230 for Women by Apex- $79 (Part Number SMO3001) A great low cost alternative that is available in the models for men and women. The short tube assembly can hand down where a user can place tubing under their bed blanket or it can attach to the top of the headgear and draped behind the bed. Similar in design to ResMed Swift FX with a page taken out of the design of the Swift LT, this mask seems to be a cross breed design definitely worth trying. Mask is universal and will work with any make/model of CPAP.

Aloha Nasal Pillow by RespCare

Aloha Nasal Pillow by RespCare

Aloha Nasal Pillow by RespCare-$75 (Part Number ALO100) The Aloha offers an affordable solution to nasal pillow users shopping on a budget. It uses a ball swivel design on the short tube assembly to increase range of motion when changing sleeping positions. Available in multiple cushions sizes and uses a foam padded headgear strap for added comfort. Mask is universal and will work with any make/model of CPAP.


 

Full Face Style Masks-Therapy interfaces designed to cover the mouth AND nose to allow breathing through both. A great option for CPAP users that cannot tolerate solely breathing through their nose only, or those who are on pressures greater than 12cm/H20, the full face will still allow effective therapy if the pressure is blowing your mouth open. Deviated septum? No problem, the full face style is the best option for you. Recommended for use with standard and auto adjusting CPAP and Bi-level machines. 

ResMed AirFit F10 Full Face Mask

ResMed AirFit F10 Full Face Mask

AirFit F10 Series by ResMed $149 (Part Number 63102) The newest family (P10, F10, and N10) of ResMed masks offer improved designs over the older FX series. The F10 is similar to the Quattro FX design and offers a clear field of vision to watch TV or read prior to bed. Available in models for men and women with replacement cushions and headgear available to prolong the life of the mask and save you money. This product is universal to work with any make/model of CPAP therapy device.

Quattro Air Full Face CPAP Mask

ResMed Quattro Air

Quattro Air by ResMed – $159 (Part Number 62702) The original Mirage Quattro full face CPAP mask has been the all time best selling FF style offered at 1800CPAP.com and fortunately it is still available and no word of the Quattro being discontinued has been rumored. However, the new Quattro Air may just be a great successor to it. It is a much lighter mask (45%), uses a less invasive forehead support and no longer uses clips to attach the headgear but rather loops that hook around. If you are a fan of the Ultra Mirage and Mirage Quattro then this is the mask for you!

Amara Gel Full Face CPAP Mask

Philips Respironics Amara Gel

Amara Gel by Philips Respironics – $159 (Part Number 1090405) Quite possibly the best FF mask I have seen Respironics ever release. They have taken a page out of the blue cushion style of the ComfortGel playbook and applied it to a quality mask. Initially released with only a silicone cushion option it is now available in gel or silicone style. If this mask was a book it would be called 50 Shades of Blue. For those looking for a clear field of vision be sure to check of the Amara View listed below.

Amara View by Philips Respironics

Amara View by Philips Respironics

Amara View by Philips Respironics – $169 (Part Number 1090623) The latest and greatest full mask from Philips Respironics offers a clear field of vision and rest lower on the nose with a unique cushion design that reminds us of the OptiLife nasal pillow mask. The FullLife is a similar mask by Philips Respironics that influenced the feel of this interface. It would be nice to see a gel style cushion offered but for now it is only available with a silicone seal. The only negative comment we have heard is the velcro on the headgear straps need to provide a stronger grip.

Fisher Paykel Simplus Full Face CPAP Mask

Fisher Paykel Simplus Full Face CPAP Mask

Simplus by Fisher Paykel- $135 (Part Number 400476) Nothing too much exciting to say or point out about this FF mask from Fisher Paykel. While the Forma offered a below the chin cushion that assisted in the support of chin dropping during sleep. While it’s better than the 431 and 432 series, the Simplus is simply keeping up with the Joneses. This product is universal to work with any make/model of CPAP therapy device.

DeVilbiss EasyFit SilkGel Full Face CPAP Mask with Headgear

DeVilbiss EasyFit SilkGel Full Face CPAP Mask with Headgear

EasyFit SilkGel Full Face by DevilBiss- $109 (Part Number DV97428) Made in the USA, the EasyFit series offers quality craftsmanship, comfort, best in class warranty and the one of the lowest price points on a top shelf mask! The gel cushion provides ultimate comfort and includes a gel forehead support pad. The only downside we can see to this product is that sales are limited to U.S. customers only. A silicone cushion is also available for those that do not like the gel style. This product is universal to work with any make/model of CPAP therapy device.


 

Nasal Style- The most commonly prescribed style of mask, the nasal is often times the most inexpensive as well. Many variations and designs are available with this interface that simply covers the nose with it’s triangular shape. Most nasal styles use 3 to 4 headgear straps to secure the mask in place. The silicone cushion seal is replaceable and should be cleaned daily. Recommended for use with standard and auto adjusting CPAP and BiPAP machines.

Pico Nasal CPAP Mask by Philips Respironics

Pico Nasal CPAP Mask by Philips Respironics

Pico by Philips Respironics – $99 (Part Number 1104915)- A great new nasal style mask by Respironics, an industry leader in masks. The Pico is available in fit pack (includes all size cushions) or by individual size. One of the most lightweight interfaces available and is stated to fit 98% of all users. Say good-bye to mask marks and red irritated indentions as the Pico uses a minimal contact forehead support. Crown like headgear strap keep the mask in place throughout the night.

Swift FX Nano Nasal CPAP Mask

ResMed Swift FX Nano Nasal CPAP Mask

Swift FX Nano by ResMed – $115 (Part Number 62200) This mask plays along with the latest trend of cross breeding by combining a nasal style cushion with nasal pillow style headgear. The icing on the cake is the ability to use the Swift FX cushion or the Nano cushion. The short tube assembly connects to any standard hose and adds a little extra length which is great for people that move around the bed and don’t want to be tethered to sleeping in one spot. Comes in standard cushion size or a wide size. Universal to work with any make/model PAP machine.

ResMed N10 Nasal CPAP Mask

ResMed N10 Nasal CPAP Mask

N10 and N10 for Her by ResMed – $94 (Part Number 63200) This masks boasts to be 50% quieter than any mask on the market and is available in standard or wide cushion sizes. Sticking with the latest trend in sleep therapy it is also available in versions for men and women. The crown shaped headgear keeps this mask in place to avoid slipping throughout the night. Gone are the days of the heavier masks like the Ultra Mirage, Micro and SoftGel as this lightweight mask looks to take over. Can be used with any brand or type of PAP machine.

Philips Respironics Wisp Nasal Mask

Philips Respironics Wisp Nasal Mask

Wisp by Philips Respironics – $95 (Part Number 1094050) A very popular option among 1800CPAP customers, the Wisp offers 2 separate headgear options. A fabric headgear for those that may be irritated by the other option of a silicone headgear strap. Clear field of vision is created by eliminating the need of a forehead pad and support. The short tube adds extra length to any standard CPAP hose. This mask will work with any brand or model of CPAP or BiPAP machine.

Eson Nasal CPAP Mask by Fisher Paykel

Eson Nasal CPAP Mask by Fisher Paykel

Eson by Fisher Paykel – $79 (Part Number 400450) This isn’t so much of a new CPAP mask but we do like to include Fisher Paykel masks because of the quality. The Zest and Zest Q series of masks are still available but many F&P users are converting to the Eson because it is light weight and quiet (diffuser pad technology). With a low price point you get a lot of bang for your buck with this nasal mask. Can be used with any make and model of PAP or Bi-Level machine.


 

Low Cost CPAP Masks- Over the past few decades there have been 3 top manufacturers that have captured most of the market but the past few years have produced new makes and models. The “new kids on the block” offer great designs and the best part is the low price tag. Sleep apnea therapy shouldn’t cost and arm and a leg and manufacturers such as Apex, DevilBiss, and 3B are bringing innovative designs to the market. Follow the link to see these products on our site!

D100 Nasal Only $49.95

D100 Full Face Just $99

Sopora Nasal CPAP Mask Introductory Price $59.99

Aura Gel Nasal Mask Only $59.95

Wizard 220 Full Face Mask Just $89 

Deluxe Full Face Mask Low Price of $99 


The opinions written in this blog are intended to provide helpful guidance in CPAP mask selection. As with any medical treatment it is advised to speak with your physician prior to making any changes. Furthermore, the expressed opinions are those of the professional sleep and writing staff and not necessarily those of Ohio Sleep Awareness, LLC dba 1800CPAP.com

 

                                                                  

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Sleep Apnea Disorder and the 18 Million Suffering From It

cpap mask

Apnea Disorder

Sleep Apnea is a serious medical condition that affects up to 18 million people in the United States. Up to 4% of Americans have an undiagnosed case of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes a number of health problems such as stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other serious issues. If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase a person’s chance of getting heart disease by as much as 300%! Seeking treatment for sleep apnea should be a top priority for any diagnosed with the disorder, or if you suspect you may have it.

Outside of these terrible health effects, sleep apnea severely disrupts your sleep. On an average night, a person with sleep apnea can suffer up to 60 pauses in breathing every hour. This puts a considerable strain on the body: the heart, the circulatory system, the lungs, the brain — really, everything. What’s even worse — if left untreated, the complications that arise from sleep apnea can lead to death. In fact, according to the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, about 38,000 people die every year due to cardiovascular problems associated with sleep apnea.

Thankfully, there are treatments and equipment available for people with the condition. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are one of the more popular options. CPAP machines use mild air pressure to open up the airway in your throat, which makes breathing much easier for the body. CPAP masks are worn at night. CPAP machines are easy to use, safe, and highly effective in treating sleep apnea. Patients notice an immediate difference in the quality of their sleep after using CPAP machines.

There are a number of options available for people who want to use a CPAP machine. For more information about CPAP masks and sleep apnea in general, feel free to leave a comment or question at the bottom.

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Do You Have Sleep Apnea? Make Sure You Understand Which CPAP Machine You Need

sleep apneaDo you suffer from sleep apnea? If so, you’re not alone. Around 18 million Americans are estimated to have this condition, which causes you to stop breathing for anywhere from a few seconds to even a minute. Left untreated and undiagnosed, it can be dangerous and increase the risk of heart disease by three times and a stroke by four times compared to those who don’t have this problem. Fortunately, however, there are treatments available to address the causes and effects of this disturbance in your sleep.

The most popular treatment for sleep apnea is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy, and this is applied through devices called CPAP masks. These machines provide continuous air pressure to the nostrils in order to avoid what are called apneas — interruptions in sleep that cause a person to stop breathing.

Unfortunately, not everyone likes using a CPAP machine, despite its effectiveness. Around 80% of patients who use a CPAP machine admit that they don’t use it enough to keep them from suffering from apnea, and studies have shown that approximately half of all people prescribed CPAP machines by their doctors will stop using them within about one to three weeks. In order to ensure that your CPAP mask or machine is working properly and treating your apnea, it should be worn at least four hours a night for about 21 of every 30 days each month. This not only helps you breathe better, but it also has a better chance of working when used consistently.

The trick for some people who suffer from sleep apnea may be to find the right type of CPAP machine. For instance, around half of CPAP users prefer nasal pillows, whereas 45% like nasal masks best. (The other 5% have no preference.) Nasal pillows are much smaller and only use one tube that goes around the head and rests under the nose. This is in contrast to the full nasal mask, which covers the nose and mouth. The best way to find out which one will work best is to speak to a medical professional.

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CPAP Battery Pack for Camping and Travel

A Storm is Coming. Are You Prepared?

Great for Camping, Traveling, or Power Failure Solutions.

Great for Camping, Traveling, or Power Failure Solutions.

Affordable CPAP Battery Solutions for Camping and Travel

Excited to say it has arrived! A New Revolutionary CPAP Backup Power Supply & Travel Battery that will ensure continuous therapy all night long in the case of an overnight power outage. How does it work you ask? The CPAP Machine will run off the Medistrom backup battery when the regular power source is not available in situations such as power outages, camping, road trips, and during air travel. Not only that, but it comes with additional features that are essential during power outages such as a bright LED light and a USB port which can be used for charging cell phones and other handheld devices.

It comes in 2 versions; Pilot 12 which is compatible with Philips Respironics and other 12 voltage PAP machines and a Pilot 24 for Resmed S9 & Airsense 10. Each includes, a neat carrying pouch, and everything you need to set up. It is a very small light weight unit that fits nicely in your CPAP case at 1.8 pounds, 19x12x2 cm and is approved on all airlines which makes it perfect for traveling.

How long does it last? 2 full nights (16-18 hours) on a pressure 10 setting. With lower pressures it can last much longer. Note: there will be variances depending on what model CPAP, BiPAP or VPAP is used with this battery.

How is Medistrom different from other travel batteries? It is built with industrial grade genuine rechargeable lithium ion cells manufactured by LG® for superior quality. In addition there is a safety board built in to prevent overheating, overcharging and short circuits. This is important for Li-Ion batteries especially for tent camping.  Using such high quality cells also helps with the maintenance of the Medistrom cells as it only needs to be recharged every 6 months verses every 3 months like other travel batteries. When it is used a backup power supply you never have to worry about recharging as it does this automatically.

Overall, the superior quality and the multipurpose use of the Medistrom backup power supply & travel battery is what makes the product revolutionary and presently is the best option for CPAP users oppose to just another travel battery.

Customer #1

I’ve been waiting to get something like this for a while…. I’ve always had concerns with what happens when there is a power outage or if there is no power for the CPAP machine. I did a lot of research and there weren’t many options available, mostly just travel batteries. However, I finally discovered a product called Medistrom on 1800CPAP. It is a backup power supply and a travel battery that is compatible with almost all PAP machines including Resmed, Philips Respironics, Devillbiss etc… The Medistrom unit primary purpose is to be used as a nightly backup power supply so there is no interruptions in therapy. This was exactly what I was looking for! Without Humidity, it lasts 1 to 2 nights (14-18 hours) sometimes longer depending on the pressure used on the CPAP machine.

CPAP Battery

Great for Camping, Travel, or Power Failure Back Up

This was also perfect for my family annual camping trip as well. I tried using a couple other travel portable batteries but the length of time it took to recharge it wasn’t a convenient solution anymore.  The Medistrom backup battery can be charged with a car charger which only takes 2-3 hours to top up and lasted over 18 hours on a pressure 10. Also it is small, lightweight and can fit nicely into my CPAP case.  As this is not enough, the unit has a built in LED flashlight and USB port to charge phones. Presently this is the best option for CPAP users as it is so multipurpose oppose to just a travel battery!

Customer #2

My family goes on an annual camping trip and I always struggled with sleeping since I couldn’t bring my CPAP machine. I tried using the car battery for charging but it was very uncomfortable. My niece who is an RT recommended medistrom which is a travel battery and a daily backup power supply. I am currently using it and as of now it has lasted 2 full nights and is still going… without any interruptions. Thanks Sarah! You are a life saver.

Respironics CPAP Battery

Battery Back Up System for Philips Respironics CPAPs

Customer #3

Last week there was a power outage around 11:30pm to 2am and my grandfather woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. I did some research to avoid the same situation and bought a product called Pilot 24. Apparently it’s a back-up power supply specifically designed for power outages. Luckily there were no more power outages since last week to try it out but we did use it as a travel battery and it lasted 2 nights. Not bad at all! J

 

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Can Airing™ Micro CPAP Improve Compliance?

Forget Winter, the Biggest Small Thing in Sleep Medicine is Coming!

I may be getting ahead of myself by posing the question about compliance considering this project is still in its funding phase but for the sake of keeping this topic trending let’s kick the tires on this CPAP…. or mask…. or whatever new classification it will create. So what is the Airing? In case you have not heard of the Airing it is advertised to be the first cordless, hose-less, and mask-less micro CPAP device (device being the key word since it’s not a mask or a machine but somehow it’s both). There are no straps, hoses or cords and the device resembles a beefed up nasal pillow cushion.  The device inserts into the nostrils and encloses a battery operated blower system that weighs less than an ounce. Almost sounds too good to be true, right?

Airing Micro CPAP

Cordless, Hoseless, and Maskless!

This week a few of our staff will be attending the APSS (annual sleep conference) in Seattle, WA and my pre-trip meeting with them included obtaining as much feedback about the Airing as possible. My inbox and FaceBook page has been blowing up with all my friends forwarding articles on this inventive project and it has created quite a buzz within the sleep industry from technicians, physicians and manufacturers alike. I haven’t seen this much excitement since Home Sleep Testing was approved by Medicare.

Airing Micro CPAP Device

Weighs less than an ounce!

The industry of sleep  medicine can be a very territorial area where many manufacturers have tried to gain market share with their product only to meet resistance by the gate keepers. I have to admit myself that when I read about this product I thought it was some sort of satire article because of many different obstacles I could see it running in to. I would like to point out the specific areas as a seasoned RPSGT (registered polysomnographic sleep technologist) and provider of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) devices where I am skeptical about this device as well as give it a fair chance where it can be a positive product for the market.

The Pros of this Device as I See Them.

Compliance: With a national average that hovers around the 50% mark, meaning only half of the people prescribed CPAP actually use it effectively, the market needs a product that “rescues” users that want to use CPAP but are non tolerable to traditional positive airway pressure devices. Apnea sufferers that are diagnosed with a mild case 5 to 15 events per hour , people that have hypopnea syndrome(partial airway closure), UARS (upper airway resistance syndrome) and chronic snorers are the most difficult to maintain compliance or long term use. With that being said, a product that is this non invasive and meets a certain amount of minimal needs such as 4cm/H2O to 8cm/H2O or so this  just may be the ticket to therapy use.

Travel: Whether you’re camping or catching some Zzzs on a long flight this device may be a suitable option to use and allows you to leave all of your other gear on your nightstand at home. This is much easier to pack than to lug around a travel case with all the standard accessories that accompany CPAP.

Cost:  This product is being touted as something that will be much less expensive than a standard blower which is good news since most people that use it may be those that are self pay, at least until insurance companies come up with reimbursement codes for the product. It also goes without saying that since the mask and machine are one in the same that you will not need to buy both as you would with a traditional system.

Freedom:  Cordless, hoseless, and maskless. No other explanation needed, right?

Reputation:  Everyone seems to know someone that uses one of those C-PACK breathing machines (sorry, old sleep tech joke)? Anyways, just one glance at someone on a traditional set up and people say they look like they are about to go on an exploratory mission to Mars or depths of the ocean. We all hear the same story in the sleep lab from patients “You expect me to sleep with all of that?”  The Airing might just be the product that gets more people to accept and embrace therapy.

The Cons of this Device as I See Them

Full Face Needs: Though full face masks are invasive and the Airing is marketed as the exact opposite, many sleep apnea suffers that require a full face mask to meet the needs of high pressure settings , people with deviated septum, bi-level users, and general mouth breathers most likely will not benefit from this device.

Therapy Modes: Maybe this is something that is being addressed but I have not heard of any other therapy modes outside of standard CPAP mode (fixed pressure settings).  There is a need for Auto CPAP (APAP) and Bi-Level (BiPAP) therapy modes to be available to many users that fall into particular treatment categories. User comfort features to exhale against pressure should be addressed such as EPR offered by ResMed and FLEX offered by Philips Respironics. Though these exhalation comfort settings are not required for better therapy outcomes they do offer a placebo effect to some new users trying to adjust to PAP therapy.

Humidification:  I guess if you have a home humidification unit this may not be too bad but I have seen where a CPAP heated humidifier greatly benefits users, especially those that need pressures greater than 8cm/H2O. Fisher and Paykel released a study that shows with proper humidification a user may need less pressure to stabilize the airway and we all know less pressure needed is a good thing. If you live in a part of the country where the air is very dry this could be a major issue for you.

Insurance Reimbursement:  I’m sure a code will come out for this product eventually and insurance companies may like the fact there will be less to bill but the question is what do you bill it under? And let us not forget about the all important data downloads that insurance companies insist to see compliance, hopefully this is a feature that is in the works.

 

Smallest CPAP Machine

No, Really. It’s that small!

In conclusion I would like to say the jury is still out on this product, heck we haven’t seen any of the evidence yet but we are excited to see what it can do if it is given a fair shake in the market place. The big question will be if any physicians are willing to support this and provide a prescription. I believe it will be a good thing for people that need therapy but are not willing to use traditional PAP devices however my concerns are the people that need other therapy modes or higher settings but are not properly educated if this device will be effective in their long term sleep health. Check back with us for more information about this product and we are anxious to hear from the creators of this device and its journey to the marketplace.

Jason Smith, RPSGT

1800CPAP.com

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CPAP in Television and Movies

12 Times CPAP Made A Guest Appearance in Television

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and I am on the couch playing Words with Friends or some other addicting phone app when one of my kids screams out “CPAP”. I pull my nose out of my iphone and with a confused look to see my 9 year old pointing at the television where an episode of iCarly is playing. Sure enough to my amazement the star of the show, Miranda Cosgrove is laying in bed with a mask and hose protruding from the bedding.   Anyone familiar with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) can immediately identify what they are looking at when a mask or machine appears in a scene of a television show or movie. Even though most times the characters refer to it as their sleep machine I will still count it as a win for bringing sleep apnea awareness main stream.

12-times-cpap-went-hollywood

With up to 22 million U.S. adults suspected to suffer from sleep apnea it may be shocking to learn that less than 6 million of those have been diagnosed. A more disturbing fact is of the 6 million people that have been diagnosed only 50% use their CPAP therapy on a regular basis. Most people tuning in to these shows probably see the device as an awkward  and funny comedy prop because some of the CPAP masks look like you are about to enter into a intergalactic war where you are the star fighter pilot. I’m torn about this because it paints a picture of sleep apnea therapy being a wildly invasive treatment but on the other hand it does pose the question going through some people’s minds; “Why is (insert TV character name here) wearing that weird thing?”

homer-simpson-cpap

Looks Like Those Donuts Finally Caught Up to Homer!

The Simpsons – The longest running cartoon comedy on FOX and probably the most recognized worldwide shows Homer Simpson asleep in bed and snoring very loudly. A frustrated Marge Simpson is laying bed with him and nervously tries to put his CPAP mask on him. Though the next few minutes are funny as she applies the mask on wrong or the hose keeps blowing off, it is not uncommon for many spouses to go through the exact same thing.  Public Safety Announcement:  Do not remove the hose from the mask and insert it into your spouse’s mouth!

junior-soprano-cpap

“This is Better Than Sleeping with the Fishes!”

Sopranos– Probably the best HBO series ever made (I have watched all 6 seasons twice) and one of the first to bring CPAP to main stream media entertainment. The show focuses on the life of a New Jersey mafia family named the Sopranos. The star of the show Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) is the head of the mafia family who has a power struggle for control with his uncle Junior Soprano. In one particular episode we see a respiratory therapist visiting the home of Junior Soprano to fit him with a mask and show him how to use his CPAP machine. Although it’s not without reason that an older Junior Soprano would need therapy it is more likely that Tony and some of his lieutenants would be better candidates.  In my opinion if Tony had not been bumped off by a rival mob family it would have been likely that he would have died from obstructive sleep apnea complications.

icarly-cpap-machine-sleep-apnea

“CPAP in 5…4…3…”

iCarly– Though this Nickelodeon series that follows a group of teens that host an internet web show seems like the last place you would see a CPAP mask and supplies it is not farfetched. Sleep apnea is very common in kids and young adults and in many cases alleviated with the removal of tonsils and adenoids. I applaud the show for using this prop in one of their shows since we are seeing alarming statistics in childhood obesity. Hopefully this kind of exposure can put a positive light on seeking treatment for sleep disordered breathing and parent’s awareness that snoring should be evaluated and treated. My oldest son (9 years old) got braces put in last year and was eager to get them because he thought they were cool. Who knows, maybe someday sleeping with CPAP or an oral appliance might be “cool”.

MIKE & MOLLY

“I think it’s time you considered a Full Face Mask”

Mike and Molly– Though I have only caught one or two episodes of this show I can see where it would be a perfect platform for introducing CPAP therapy. The main stars of the show Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell are an overweight couple in a relationship in which they both struggle with their weight. Though much of the comedy derives from “fat jokes” it does display a sensitive side that should let us all know that we should be more kind and understanding of those that fight this battle. Sleep apnea makes everything in life more difficult and those with a severe case are typically lethargic without motivation or energy to work out. Untreated sleep apnea can spiral out of control leading to hypertension, diabetes, heart failure and stroke.

the-office-cast

“Your Hose Is Worn Out?”……”That’s What She Said! Ha”

The Office– This is one of my favorite comedies of all time. I was most excited to see CPAP make an appearance in an episode where Dwight and Angela are going through a break up and return each other’s belongings. A ResMed S8 series CPAP is shown during the exchange and in a unique marketing twist we see that the machine belongs to Angela and not to Dwight. This also coincides with a time in the industry where we see product lines with women in mind being launched by Philips Respironics and ResMed. By claiming the machine belongs to Angela, who is a petite blonde that would not be suspected of having sleep apnea, we can see the increased awareness of UARS (upper airway restriction syndrome), a disordered breathing event most common in women.  Though I think Kevin, Angela’s co-worker in accounting, would have been the best person to portray a likely apnea sufferer I applaud the show for increasing awareness of sleep apnea and prevalence in women.

hall-pass-cpap

“Ah, Supine REM”….”That’s What Dreams Are Made of”

Hall Pass– An R- rated comedy starring Owen Wilson and Jenna Fisher shows a married couple stuck in a rut with a solution that Wilson gets a “hall pass”, a break from his married life for 1 week. During this week we see all sorts of shenanigans with Wilson and his friends and in one scene where his buddies are recovering in a hotel room we see an aerial view of them passed out on hotel beds with a ResMed S8 series CPAP machine on the nightstand. Given that they were out all night drinking and alcohol is a depressant that relaxes the airway greater than normal it was probably a good idea to keep that airway open and oxygen levels high to avoid the dreaded hangover.

big-bang-theory-cast_320

“Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, CPAP”

Big Bang Theory– This is a top rated comedy on CBS that centers around a character named Leonard (Johnny Galecki) , his roommate Sheldon Cooper and other  friends that are all self proclaimed “nerds”. Leonard, who is also lactose intolerant, apparently also suffers from sleep apnea as his room Sheldon likes to point out.

 

Other popular shows that come to mind where CPAP or sleep apnea awareness has made an appearance include The Biggest Loser, Josh and Drake, The League, Oprah, and My 600lb Life. I’m sure there are countless others that are not coming to mind right now but the point is that continuous positive airway pressure is popping up in our everyday culture. It reminds me of a time when seeing someone with a cell phone was an eye catching event and in today’s era I am shocked to meet someone that doesn’t own one.

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Which is Better? Snoring Mouth Guards or CPAP

Snoring Mouth Guards or CPAP?

When did the phrase “As Seen on TV” become the gold standard barometer of a quality product? I just heard a commercial on satellite radio with a bold message to “get rid of your CPAP and fix your snoring and sleep apnea with a mouth guard”. If you are willing to believe this I have a relative that is a Nigerian prince that needs your help moving money out of Nigeria and is willing to pay you a hefty sum.  Anyone that has ever been spammed with that email gets the joke. The truth is too many people are being fooled by opportunistic companies emerging on the market to promote a remedy that’s supposedly going to help you get rid of your CPAP machine.

While I should be happy that apnea awareness continues to grow, I am dissatisfied with some of the irresponsible marketing some companies will lead you to believe will benefit your sleep health.  It kind of reminds me of the thousand of weigh loss dietary supplements that all claim to produce results.cpap-versus-mouthguard

These companies are very clever in their advertising and I give them kudos for that. Since they can’t come out and say that their product will treat or help your sleep apnea, they do that in a roundabout way by saying “get rid of your CPAP” by using their product. Here in lies the problem; if you are on CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) that means you have a major likelihood that it is being used to treat sleep apnea. So how do they get around this? Simple, just say your product treats snoring and imply it treats apnea by telling someone to get rid of their CPAP machine.  Brilliant, but that kind of advertising is irresponsible and the equivalent to telling someone to put a band-aid on a gun shot wound.stock-footage-boxing-mouthpiece-dental

So unless you plan on boxing 12 rounds in your sleep leave the mouth guard in your gym bag and put your CPAP mask back on.

Over-the Counter Doesn’t Always Save Time and Money

Some of the worse perpetrators of “quick fix” sleep medicine sell of mouth guards or sprays (yeah, I just said sprays and anybody in their right mind would believe that; right?). You may say “Hey Jason, aren’t you a little biased when it comes to this” and I would say “yes, I don’t want to see any apnea sufferer that needs CPAP be scammed out of money for a product that will not be effective and is potentially harmful”. Just to be clear I am not speaking directly about oral appliances, the kind you are fitted for mandibular repositioning and adjusted by a dental professional but rather the “over the counter” direct to consumer, as seen on TV junk you see advertised on radio and on sensationalized Facebook ads. Sleep physicians or those that practice dental sleep medicine should be consulted first if you feel you may be a qualified candidate.

I Knew A Guy Once

I have a friend that had a sleep study conducted and it revealed that he had a severe case of sleep apnea.  So what determines level of severity?  The levels of sleep apnea are described as the number of times per hour that a person stops breathing or has a partial blockage that causes a drop 3% or greater drop in oxygen level. A mild case of sleep apnea would be a person that has apneas that occur 5 to 15 times per hour on average, a moderate case would be 15 to 30 times per hour and a severe case is an average of 30 or more per hour. My friend’s apnea index was 72/hour and I was floored when he told me that he received his CPAP machine but wasn’t going to use it. He opted instead to go through a slew of oral appliances (currently more than 80 on the market) until he found one he liked. Now mind you I am a registered polysomnographic technologist and have been since 2003 so I couldn’t bite my tongue on this one and had to offer up my professional opinion on his decision.

My friend, we will call him “Mark” for the sake of the story, had a follow up appointment scheduled with his sleep physician and he was going to cancel. I pleaded with Mark to see his doctor in follow up and if he wouldn’t believe what I was telling him then maybe he would believe it directly from the horse’s mouth. After Mark’s follow up appointment the doctor has convinced him to undergo another sleep study, this time using his “mouth guard” to see if apnea was still present. Before his overnight stay at the clinic I made a little side bet with Mark that the results would reveal that he still had severe apnea present. He took this bet and skip all the boring details I will say that he owes me a round of golf at our local course. I must say that I do feel a little guilty about this since I have read case studies and know that oral appliances are only about 20% effective in treatment of sleep apnea sufferers like him. Though some studies have shown that people with an AHI (apnea/hypopnea index) less than 10 have a 52% success rate (Sleep, Vol. 29 2006 Oral Appliances for Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea: A review)

Why Mouth Guards Won’t Help Typical Apnea Sufferers

Sleep apnea is a result of a blockage in the airway (apnea being the Greek word “without breath”) and this blockage can occur for a multitude of reasons that commonly include the following:

  • Enlarge tongue or uvula (that little punching bag in the back of your throat)
  • Excessive tissue in the airway wall that relaxes when you fall asleep and collapses (most common)
  • Neurological causes (these will produce central apnea)

Many different factors can and will contribute to the presence and severity of disordered breathing such as:

  • The position you sleep (i.e. on your back will be the worst)
  • Medications such as opiates that produce central apnea
  • Maintaining a healthy weight or BMI
  • Co-Morbid conditions (heart failure, stroke)

Bottom line is don’t trade in your CPAP mask for some gimmick with good advertising otherwise your sleeping with something in your mouth that may be doing absolutely nothing.

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Finding The Best CPAP Mask for You

The Best CPAP Mask for Your Nose

It can be very frustrating trying out different CPAP masks every night just trying to find the best CPAP mask for you. There are so many different types it can lead some people to just give up on CPAP therapy completely. While every other CPAP user that you know may tell you their mask is the best it doesn’t mean it is the best for you. We have created this infograph to help you get a better understanding about which mask style is right for you.

CPAP Mask Fitting

Did you know that your mask plays a very important role in long term compliance?

There are 4 types of mask categories; nasal, nasal pillow, full face and hybrids. Most people can use multiple styles of CPAP masks and still be fine but others, such as full face users, may be limited to just that style of mask because of other conditions. If you are a habitual mouth breather or have a deviated septum a nasal or pillow style mask simply will not be effective for you.

You should always speak with your sleep doctor when you are considering changing your mask style. In most cases that mask was chosen for you as the best option by the sleep technologist the night you stayed at the sleep clinic. It is always recommended to try multiple masks just to get a feeling of what the other feel like. For best results and to avoid mask leaks you should wipe down the cushion on a nightly basis because facial oils can build up causing irritation, leak and discomfort.

Do not over tighten the mask straps if you notice leakage, this could be a sign that you need a new headgear strap or to clean off your cushion seal (also, replace your cushion every 3-6 months).

 

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Sleep Apnea Statistics with CPAP Therapy Recommended

Sleep Apnea Statistics

Sleep apnea effects up to 22 millions people however most of these people are unaware they suffer from it. Sleep apnea statistics say that as much as 80% of the people that have this sleep disorder have been undiagnosed. An even more alarming stat is that only 50% of the people diagnosed with disordered breathing actually use the recommended CPAP device.

Sleep Apnea and CPAP NewsAn important part of CPAP therapy is replacing your parts and accessories on a regular schedule so that you may get the most out of this treatment. Most insurance companies will pay for the replacement accessories on a regular schedule and if you have a “good healthcare plan” then you should take advantage of this replacement schedule. If your plan has a high deductible and co-pay then you may want to consider self paying through an online provider such as 1800CPAP.com. You can get all the top brand names at a discount price.

If you have an HSA (health savings account) this is also a great option for obtaining these parts and accessories with breaking the bank. It is recommended that you replace the CPAP mask, tubing, filters, and water chamber  every 3-6 months or sooner if you do not clean these items daily.

Testing for sleep apnea can be easy and inexpensive by opting for the home sleep study test kit. Sleep apnea statistics show that an in-home study can be just as reliable as in-lab polysomnograph conducted at a free standing or hospital sleep clinic. An in-lab study can cost anywhere from $1500 to $3000 dollars per study and a HST (home sleep test) can be done for as little as $249. This includes shipping, instructions for use and interpretation by a board certified sleep doctor. If the test indicates that you have sleep apnea a recommendation and prescription for an auto adjusting CPAP machine can be provided.

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Depression Treatment with CPAP for Sleep Apnea

CPAP MachiineSleep Apnea and Depression

Researchers have already established that the estimated 18 million Americans who suffer from sleep apnea are four times more likely to have a stroke and three times more likely to experience heart disease if gone untreated.

Treatments like CPAP machines can reduce these risks, and according to new research, treating sleep apnea may actually reduce the risk of depression as well.

According to Marcus Povitz of Western University in London, Ontario, the lead author of the study, sleep apnea is believed to contribute to depression because sleep apnea causes low quality sleep and sleep fragmentation. Dips in oxygen from apnea events may also cause injury to the brain, leading to symptoms of depression.

Obstructive sleep apnea, for instance, causes a repeated obstruction of the upper airway during sleep, causing sufferers to wake frequently, deprived of oxygen. Because of this, sleep apnea has been linked to memory issues, irritability, insomnia and decreased quality of life.

Fortunately, sleep apnea can be successfully treated with a CPAP machine, which delivers a continuous stream of gentle air pressure during sleep to keep sleepers breathing regularly. Patients can also use mandibular advancement devices, which hold the lower jaw and tongue forward to keep them from restricting breathing.

Patients in the recent study who used CPAP machines showed fewer depression symptoms than untreated patients, and patients who were treated with MADs also improved.

Many sleep physicians also reported elevated moods in patients who were receiving sleep apnea treatment.

The study couldn’t definitively determine if sleep problems caused depression or if it was the other way around. However, it is possible for symptoms of sleep apnea to be mistaken for symptoms of depression. The study also raised the possibility that untreated sleep apnea can worsen existing symptoms of depression.

If you feel like your sleep problems may be contributing to your depression, contact a doctor and ask if sleep apnea could have anything to do with it.

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Improve CPAP Comfort with These 10 Tips

Simple Hacks to Improve CPAP Comfort

One night in the sleep lab while preparing the hook-up (sleep technician talk for applying electrodes and sensors) I witnessed something I had never seen in my 8 years as a sleep medicine professional.  Before I tell you what it is I would like to give you a little bit of background on this patient. He was a 46 year old male that had been using CPAP for 3 years. He had his original polysomnograph (PSG) to diagnose sleep apnea and CPAP titration done through our company.  He had been diagnosed with an AHI (apnea hypopnea index) of 47, meaning on average he quit breathing or partially quit breathing 47 times per hour with a low oxygen level of 74%. Needles to say he was dedicated to treating his OSA and promoting a longer healthier life.

CPAP Mask Chin Strap

This Guy Just Found the 101st Thing Duct Tape Will Fix.

So why was he back in the lab? Our doctor had prescribed him a fixed pressure machine (a device that puts out one set pressure throughout the night) and he had lost a bit of weight and felt like his current pressure setting was too high. A CPAP re-evaluation was ordered and he showed up for his appointment at the clinic. He knew the routine and we were almost set to do lights out and bio-calibrations when he pulled out a roll of duct tape and ripped of a healthy piece and proceeded to cover his mouth shut like a hostage victim. At first I was speechless but once I realized what he was attempting to do I just had to question him about this. He went on to explain that he can’t’ stand full face masks and this was his fix to mouth breathing. After we discussed what excessive or insufficient CPAP pressures can cause as well as proper humidity levels the topic turned to CPAP mask chin straps. He was unaware of them but happy to hear he had an option other than taping his mouth shut every night.

So What Are Other “Hacks” To Make Your CPAP Experience Better

“Rainout”-Ever wake up from a dream thinking you’re barreling down a slide at your favorite water park only to realize the water splashing you in the face is coming from your CPAP mask? Effectively using your CPAP humidifier can be a tricky learning experience with a few different solutions. Try keeping your machine below bed level, the moisture build up in the hose tubing will drain back into the humidifier by the natural effect of gravity. You will want to adjust your humidifier temperature setting with the changing of the seasons, in the summer time when air-conditioners are running there is more moisture in the air versus winter when your furnace tends to dry out the air. Another solution would be to consider a heated tube that regulates the moisture which research has shown the proper humidity can lead to lower CPAP pressure needed.

CPAP Mask Pads

Eliminate CPAP Mask Discomfort and Provide a Better Seal

Nostril Discomfort from Nasal Pillow Mask-Tightening the headgear strap may seem like the solution to prevent mask leak but it can lead to discomfort and embarrassing marks on your face.  Nothing worse than getting confronted on the street by strangers that see your red cheek lines (aka The CPAP Scarlet Letter) and they point out you’re a CPAP user like Paul Revere warning the “British Are Coming”.  I use the ResMed Swift FX mask and I can tell you first hand that if your headgear strap is too tight it will cause added pressure on your nose and upper lip. Loosen the mask strap to provide just enough pressure that provides a seal.

Tubing Restrictions-Many users find themselves confined to a small section of their bed because they are tethered by a 6ft CPAP hose. Did you know that these hoses also come in 8ft and 10ft options? Give yourself the freedom to move about the bed. These tubes are universal to fit all makes and models of machines.

CPAP Hose Lift

Freedom to Move About the Bed

Hose Hog Tied?-Ever wake up to find yourself wrapped up in your hose like a damsel in distress tied to railroad tracks? There is a product out there that will suspend your hose above your face and it conveniently fits between your mattress and box spring. The CPAP Hose Lift rotates with sleep movement and allows you to move freely around your bed without getting tangled up.

Allergies- Seasonal allergies can wreak havoc for sleep apnea sufferers and their therapy. Luckily most manufacturers have hypo-allergenic machine filters that provide a higher level of filtration that reduce the particulates that pass through device.

Noise-Though some people enjoy the white noise produced by therapy devices some others, or their bed partner, may find it difficult to fall asleep to or bothersome. There are CPAP bedside holders that allow you to free your machine from the nightstand and drop it below ear level and set in between the mattress and box spring. Also see previous tip that describes putting your machine on the floor. If you bedroom is carpeted you may want to consider resting the machine on a 12×12 ceramic tile that you can pick up for under $1 at your local home improvement store.

Congestion- It is recommended that you not use therapy, especially if you use a full face mask, when you have a cold or severe congestion. If you had slight congestion and still wish to use your therapy device you can consider a few options to help you get through the night such as increase your humidity, use a saline flush of your nasal passage prior to going to bed or a vapor cream just below your nostrils (speak with your physician if you have issues with blood pressure prior to trying this method).

Pressure Feel Too High- This is a tricky one that can be a result of a few different reasons. If you are new to CPAP this is a common occurrence because you are just not used to sleeping with it. Adjust your ramp setting to start at the lowest pressure that will ramp up over a period of 5-45 minutes. You can also consider starting with a full face mask that allows you to breathe through your nose and mouth instead of just your nose. Most manufacturers offer a pressure relief setting that allows you to breathe easier during your exhale, speak with your care provider to see if this is an option for you.

If you are a “seasoned” user of therapy you may want to consider a titration reevaluation or an updated prescription that allows you to use an auto adjusting CPAP machine (APAP). Physiological changes to our bodies can dictate what the appropriate amount of pressure required is and since this may be a constant changing factor (i.e. weight loss or gain), it is important that you have a machine that will react to your pressure needs.

Aromatherapy for CPAP and BiPAP machines

Fall Asleep to Soothing Smell of Lavender.

“Plasticy” (is that a real word?) Smell-New products can often come with a new smell and not the good new car smell that everyone loves but more of a smell of silicone components. There are aromatherapy kits that offer a wide array of different scents and these kits sit behind the CPAP device filter and flow throughout the device. These soothing scents have also shown to provide an environment that encourages relaxation and sleep onset.

Leaking and Discomfort-Feel like your mask is leaking too much air and your headgear is stretched thin because you are over tightening to compensate for the leak? First things first, ask yourself how long you have had the same mask or cushion and headgear. If the answer is over a year it may be in your best interest to get a new one and start over, this time with a cleaning schedule. Secondly, what color is your mask cushion? If it isn’t close to the clear silicone color it was when you’re first got it you may want to consider a new one. If it is yellow you should replace immediately.

If you fall into the category where your mask is relatively new you should adopt a cleaning schedule that insures your mask is going to last longer (you just saved money) and you are going to get the optimal therapy (you just saved headaches). You do this by wiping down the mask cushion every night with a baby shampoo or CPAP mask wipes that do not contain harsh chemicals. This process eliminates facial oils and dirt build up that is the major cause of mask leak and cushion discoloration and hardening. If you have a narrow nose bridge it may not be the mask cushion at all but simply your facial features. If this is the case you may want to consider a nasal pillow mask or mask comfort pads such as the Gecko.

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9 Things That Drive Sleep Technologists Crazy

9 Things About Testing That Will Make A Sleep Technologist Bite Their Tongue

Sleep technicians are scrub wearing, caffeine chugging, electrode toting nocturnal inhabitants that roam the halls of sleep clinics and hospitals during the haunting hours of the night.  If seen in the light of day they are often confronted with the same awkward question; “So, you basically watch people sleep all night?”. Rather than get into a lengthy description that results in a glazed look it’s just simple to tell people “Yes, that’s exactly what we do”. But for those of you that might be checking in for a night’s stay at our sleep lab please read these helpful little tips to make all of our lives easier.

"Is this a new reality TV show?"

“Is this a new reality TV show?”

1.) Yes, there is a camera and microphone in your room but believe it or not we do not stare at the television monitor all night watching you sleep. Our eyes are focused down on the screen where all those wires are sending physiological measurements to our computer.  The camera and microphone are for your security as well as documentation to correspond with anything your polysomnogram is reporting.

2.) Dark nail polish, fake nails, toupees, hair weaves, Duck Dynasty beards, requesting to sleep in your birthday suit, and using your cell phone after lights out will drive us crazy. We understand you want to post that CPAP selfie because you feel you look like Bane, but please put the phone away and turn off the television.

3.) We understand your brother in-law uses CPAP and swears that the ResMed Mirage Quattro is the best CPAP mask in the world but let us do our job and find the right mask for you; not your brother in-law. We also understand that you may want that nasal pillow mask but your mouth breathing says otherwise.

4.) Please be understanding when we tell you that we do not know what your co-pay, deductible, or how much this is going to cost you out of pocket. We do not work in the billing department. Our training and expertise is more along the lines of instructing you what to expect if you do not treat your sleep disorder such as the long term consequences of untreated sleep apnea.

5.) Sleep technician’s work schedule dictate that our sleep is often sacrificed to find out why you are not getting a healthy night’s sleep.  We usually don’t get to go to bed until 8am and typically sleep an insufficient amount of time (kudos to those that also sleep around their kid’s schedule). Please be considerate and show up to your sleep appointment on time and leave at an appropriate time in the morning. Requesting to sleep late or taking that long shower just wrecked our morning. We understand that things in your life come up and you will need to reschedule your study but be considerate and don’t just blow it off and no-show because you really don’t feel like it

6.) We understand that you want to know the results of your sleep study as soon as possible but we are not your physician and cannot offer you a diagnosis. We know that you slept, even though you said you didn’t get wink and we know you dreamt even though you say you never do but our jobs are to follow the orders of our sleep doc and those don’t include your polysomnogram follow up.

7.) The truth is you actually don’t need all of those wires for us to get an accurate result of your study but redundant wires keep us from busting in to your room every time you roll over or pull a wire free and  thus less interruptions to your sleep during the night. Please do us a huge favor and resist the urge to pull the wires off yourself, hit the call button and let us do it for you.

 

Only 8 More Hours of Work Left!

Only 8 More Hours of Work Left!

8.) If you are a pharma rep that often brings in lunch or goodies for day staff please be sure to think of the night staff as well. Caffeine is our best friend and for those that work at smaller sleep labs, maybe our only friend for the night. Feel free to bring us Starbucks, Red Bull, or Mountain Dew.

 

 

9.) It’s not uncommon for us to see a big burly man whine that 4cm/H2O is too high when we turn the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) on meanwhile the frail 90lb 75 year old women in room 2 is cruising on 11cm. We are here to help you acclimate to your therapy and that little trick where we go back to the lab to “turn down” the pressure by switching you to 4/4 Bi-level is a placebo. No need to threaten to leave or refuse therapy, meet us half way and we’ll get you through it. Before you know it you just may be getting the best night’s sleep you’ve had in 25 years.

Keep Calm and CPAP On

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Best CPAP Masks of 2014-2015

Compare the Best CPAP Masks 2014

As the last few days of 2014 wind down we take a look back at some of the new and top rated CPAP masks that came on the market in 2014 and a look at what’s to come in 2015. Finding the right mask for you can be a long and hard process of elimination and some people recently diagnosed with sleep apnea may still be struggling to find an interface that is comfortable to wear and effective in allowing them to sleep throughout the night. While the mask itself is only a piece of the puzzle, it is a “corner piece” and important in the overall adherence to therapy.  So what factors do we consider when ranking CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) masks? Overall mask comfort through cushion design and weight, sealing, durability and price point.

CPAP masks review and compare

Top Rated CPAP Masks for 2014-2015

Most people prescribed therapy are often given a prescription for a certain make and model selected by either their sleep technician or physician. A sleep technologist may use a wide assortment of masks during your titration and ultimately select the one that promoted the best seal and treatment results the night of the study. Sleep physician may be brand loyal and simply stick to one manufacturer that they work with. Regardless of how you ended up with your original mask you may not be as happy with it as the person that selected it for you.  For this reason we provide our expert feedback about what’s new and what is worth trying.

Nasal Pillow Style Masks

Nasal Pillow CPAP Masks

Compare New Models of Nasal Pillow Style CPAP Masks for 2014-2015

Over the past few years the nasal pillow styles of interfaces have seen the most growth in popularity. The pillow mask is best described as a minimal contact interface that incorporates silicone or gel inserts that seal around the nostril area and use a single or 2 point headgear strap system. These masks first made their presence a few years ago to satisfy the claustrophobic and anxiety patient market.   Compliance, an industry buzzword that describes those of you that use your CPAP versus those that do not,  is the prize all manufacturers are trying to win and the amount of “reboots” and new

New Nasal Pillow Masks from ResMed

The Swift FX (my personal favorite) series has dominated the pillow style market for a few years and have been voted best CPAP mask by 1800CPAP.com customers. The “For Him” and Swift FX for Her versions are still user favorites and while they are “reboots” of Mirage Swift series they have in their own right changed the landscape of pillow styles. The new generation is the AirFit™ family of masks and the pillow style is the P10 and P10 for Her. A 2 point harness system assures the mask stays in place and without the headgear slipping or riding up. The cushion inserts are color coded by size and available in sizes X-small through large with left and right labeled dual wall pillows. This mask is sure to give the FX series a run for its money.

Philips Respironics Nasal Pillow Masks

2014 brought us the Nuance Pro and Nuance Gel that offers a silicone gel style cushion insert and 2 optional mask frames, one gel and one silicone. Respironics was wise to play off the popularity of the “Comfort Gel Blue” style that a user would think it must be the most comfortable feeling cushion. The 2013 GoLife for Men and GoLife for Women masks are still a popular choice among CPAP users however many of those users are switching away from the harder plastic style frame to the softer gel frame system.

New Fisher Paykel Nasal Pillow Style Mask

The Pilairo Q with 2 adjustable headgears is the modified version of the original Pilairo. This mask boasts a one size fit all replaceable cushion that eliminates the need to be fitted, however most nasal pillow style mask offer a full set of insert sizes that allow the user to fit themselves and switch between sizes as needed. A short tube from the mask connects to any standard hose as well as heated tubing. This mask is the successor to the Opus 360, a model that is still currently available.

Other Nasal Pillow Brands

2013 and 2014 saw a growth of the pillow style and likewise many other manufacturers developed models to compete against some of the manufacturers listed above. The Mr. and Ms. Wizard 230 by Apex medical is capturing a share of the market with its lightweight design and low price point ($79.00). Those not tied down to major manufacturers and open to trying something new should be highly satisfied with this mask. Design wise one could say that it takes certain elements from some of the top rated models and combines them with other elements to make a “cross-breed”.

Full Face Style Masks

Full Face CPAP Mask Reviews

Full Face CPAP Mask Reviews New for 2014-2015

Full face style masks cover the nose and mouth of sleep apnea sufferers and are great options for a wide range of people that cannot solely breathe through their nose only. Some of the different reasons someone would need to use a full face would include deviated septum, have been prescribed higher pressure of CPAP or use a bi-level (BiPAP) device, loss of muscle tone that causes mouth to fall open during the night, or feeling like your are not getting enough air when on a nasal style. Though full masks do offer a variety of pros, there are some cons such as the fact that they cover more surface area which makes them more prone to mask leak and their cushions must be cleaned thoroughly to prevent leaks and irritation.

ResMed Full Face CPAP Masks

The F10 AirFit series full face (for him and her) and the Quattro Air are the latest models from ResMed and have proved to be great successors to the Mirage Quatrro and Quattro FX family of full face. These new masks offer a lighter weight frame and magnetic headgear clips that make it easier to attach and detach if you need to get up during the night. The AirFit™ family has replaced the Mirage and FX families however ResMed will continue to make and provide parts and accessories to those families for the years to come.

Fisher and Paykel Full Face

The Simplus mask made its way to the shelves at 1800CPAP.com in 2014 and the buzz about this mask was high. The Forma had been the most popular Fisher and Paykel full face mask for some time and though it was a popular seller, the design to fit below the chin has always had mixed reviews from users new to trying this model. Many people dedicated to the Forma brand were happily surprised when they changed to the Simplus model.

Philips Respironics Full Face Masks

The Amara full face had a reboot in 2014 that included a silicone gel cushion option. Philips Respironics recognizing that the blue gel used in many of their different mask style and cushions was a visually appealing attribute that leads many people to select their products. In other words, it just looks comfortable. The Amara has been out for a couple of years now with a standard silicone cushion, this blue gel cushion pumped more life into a product that had trouble gaining traction against the ComfortGel Blue (their own product) and other manufacturers models.

Nasal Style Masks

Nasal Style CPAP Mask Reviews

Nasal Style CPAP Mask Reviews for 2014-1015

Nasal masks were the most popular style prescribed for years but have lost market share to people that either NEED a full face or WANT the comfort of a nasal pillow. The market I still there for people that cannot tolerate the inserts of a pillow cushion or dislike the bulky invasiveness of a full face. The nasal style simply covers the nose area and is held in place usually by a 4 point headgear harness with some type of forehead support. Like all other styles, parts and components like cushion and headgear can be replaced as needed.

Philips Respironics Nasal Style

Most everyone has seen the ComfortGel nasal CPAP mask, one of the all time best sellers (most likely because it was prescribed most by sleep doctors) however the original model was discontinued for the new ComfortGel Blue (now on the market for a couple of years) however many people that liked the original were not happy with the Blue. The TrueBlue was another Respironics interface that followed the Comfort series but has only had moderate sales most likely due to the popularity of the Wisp. The Wisp is the highlighted nasal mask of this category and recommended as far as nasal masks go. It also offer a cloth or silicone frame and available in cushions from size petite through extra large.

ResMed Nasal CPAP Masks

The Nano and AirFit N10 are the latest models of ResMed family and have big shoes to fill from the reputation of Mirage FX and SoftGel series. The Nano is very similar to the Swift FX nasal pillow in regards to headgear and design with the only significant difference being the cushion encompasses the entire nose versus the Swift FX inserts into the nose. The N10 offers magnetic headgear clips that secure the mask in place and has a short tube assembly that connects to any standard or heated tubing system. The headgear on this mask is minimal and lightweight

Fisher Paykel Nasal

The Eson is the newest model and has been outperforming the sales of the Zest and Zest Q, a long time staple of the F&P line. No bells and whistles to describe about this mask. It is your standard triangle shaped nasal that provides a good seal in a lightweight frame. The Zest Q series (Q for quiet) offers a version called the Lady Zest made for women.

Best New CPAP Masks for Women

CPAP Mask for Women Reviews

Top Rated CPAP Mask for Women 2014- 2015

In recent years we have seen an increase in the amount of interfaces that made their way into the market with a specific goal of attracting the female users. Many of the top manufacturers are making 2 versions of the same mask with minimal changes to the color (usually pink) and sizing options that incorporate smaller options for both cushion and frame. The Swift FX for Her and AirFit P10 for Her are ResMed’s nasal pillow style masks made for women while Philips Respironics offer the GoLife for Women. Fisher and Paykel have shown little involvement in jumping in on the bandwagon and currently offer just the Lady Zest nasal style CPAP mask.  For the full face line of masks only the Quattro FX, Quattro Air and F10 offer “For Her” models.

Our Top CPAP Mask Picks

Nasal Pillow Style
  1. ResMed Swift FX and Swift FX for Her
  2. ResMed AirFit P10
  3. Nuance Gel Pro
Full Face Style
  1. Mirage Quattro Full Face Mask
  2. Mirage Liberty Hybrid Full Face
  3. ComfortGel Blue Full Face
Nasal Style Mask
  1. Mirage FX by ResMed
  2. Wisp by Philips Respironics
  3. Eson by Fisher Paykel

 

Saying Goodbye: Discontinued CPAP Masks

The following masks have been discontinued and are no longer in production. Some of these masks are still available for a limited time while supplies last.

  1. ProfileLite Nasal
  2. Willow Nasal Pillow
  3. Simplicity Nasal
  4. ComfortLite Nasal Pillow
  5. ComfortFull 2

shop-cpap-machine-masks

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Sleep Debt Hurts Healthy Sleep Habits

How Much Sleep Debt Do You Owe?

You may have a credit score above 700 but that doesn’t mean that a debt collector is not calling to you every day in the form of daytime sleepiness, fatigue and irritability. The creditor in this scenario is a little company called “Your Mind and Body”.  How much of a sleep debt are you racking up? Most people aren’t even aware that they are doing it. Ironically as I am writing this I did short myself a couple of those precious hours last night working on a home improvement project and paying the price today (excuse for my typos).  So what factors are bringing our sleep credit score down? Most commonly it can be attributed to sleep disorders and poor sleep hygiene, the two points of focus in this article to help you get a better night’s sleep.

Sleep Debt

Your Sleep Debt Bills Are Starting to Pile Up!

Insufficient Sleep Funds

Ever wonder why people tend to “sleep in” on the weekends? Our bodies require a certain amount of rest each and every night and when we only make the minimum payment on our sleep bills start to pile up. While individuals require different amounts of sleep, 7.5 to 8 hours is recommended.  Parents of newborns can sympathize with this and tend to suffer the most loss of sleep during the first weeks to years of their child’s life. The most common issues related to insufficient sleep that causes daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and loss of concentration among other things are listed below.

Untreated Sleep Apnea and Snoring

People that suffer from sleep apnea are often unable to reach the more restful deep stages of sleep that are vital to recharge our batteries for the next day. Apnea’s literal meaning is “without breath” and it is a closure in the airway that doesn’t allow air to the lungs. These events set off a chain reaction that includes a drop in our oxygen levels and decrease in our heart rate which leads to our brains telling our bodies that we need to breathe. This brings us out of a deeper sleep stage to a shallow, wake like stage for a brief moment to make sure our airway opens and we get the oxygen we need to survive.

Many people are unaware of how many occurrences (sleep apnea events) occur during their night’s sleep. Medical professionals measure the severity of a person’s sleep apnea based on how many times per hour these events happen. A person that suffers from mild sleep apnea measures between 5 to 15 events per hour, moderate is 15 to 30 and a severe case is anyone that has over 30 events per hour. An event is described as closure or partial closure of the airway for a period of 10 seconds or greater. CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), oral appliances and surgery are the treatment methods recommended for sleep apnea suffers. You can find out if you have sleep apnea by undergoing an in-lab sleep study or an at home sleep study.

Sleep Apnea Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Does This Sound Like You? You May Have Sleep Apnea or Hypopnea Syndrome:

  • Feeling run down and sleep during the day described as daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • Trouble remembering things or concentrating
  • Easily agitated or irritable
  • Suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Headaches, dry mouth or sore throat  in the morning
  • Frequent visits to the bathroom during the night, also called nocturia
  • Difficulty falling and maintaining sleep. Many people confuse this with insomnia but what they do not realize is happening is that as soon as they drift into stage 1 of sleep their airway is closing off and waking them right back up.
  • Erectile function disorder

Poor Sleep Hygiene and Remedies for Getting a Better Night’s Sleep

Sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices that are needed to maintain normal, quality nighttime sleep and full daytime alertness. Follow these helpful tips to improve the quality of your sleep hygiene.

  • Avoid taking naps during the day. As nice and relaxing as it sounds, it disturbs your normal pattern of sleep and wakefulness.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol too close to bedtime. These are stimulants that…While we all know that drinking alcohol can lead to “passing out”  it disrupts your sleep later in the night because the body begins to metabolize the alcohol, causing fragmented and disrupted sleep.
  • While exercise is recommended for healthy living it can keep you awake if done too late in the evening.  You should exercise earlier in the day to avoid trouble falling asleep or maintaining sleep onset at bed time.
  • My old sleep doctor would tell patients that the bedroom is used for 2 things and watching television isn’t one of them. Your mind should associate your bed with sleep and it’s not a good idea to use your bed to watch TV or listen to the radio.
  • Stay away from the refrigerator for those late night snacks too close to bedtime.
Reasons Why We Need Better Sleep

Reasons Why We Need Better Sleep

What Can I Do to Reduce My Sleep Debt?

You owe it to yourself to follow some of the helpful sleep hygiene tips we have provided you in this article. However, you could be practicing perfect sleep hygiene and completely be unaware of underlying conditions such as sleep apnea, snoring, and any other sleep disordered breathing that is affecting your sleep.

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How Dirty is Your CPAP?

I had to fight nausea a few times when I was handed a excessively dirty CPAP mask.

We have seen our fair share of stomach churning dirty CPAP masks come into our store over the years. I often ask myself how or why someone would continue to use such a dirty piece of equipment, especially something that comes in contact with their face nightly. What I have found in conversations with these sleep apnea sufferers is that they were never told nor realized they needed to replace the mask, much less any other parts to their therapy.

Most people remember to change their oil, furnace filter, or computer password every 3 months but are unaware that their CPAP supplies should be inspected and replaced just as often. This is an important piece of information that may have slipped your mind or maybe your original home health care company may have not mentioned it to you. Unfortunately for a lot of people that are prescribed therapy there is little follow up and support to promote long term compliance and effectiveness. Once you leave the sleep lab, where the specialists there really do care about your PAP success, you are referred to a home health company where sleep apnea makes up a small percentage of their overall “customers” and people fall through the cracks when it comes to CPAP resupply or Re-PAP (an industry buzzword).

You could be “sleeping with the enemy” if you do not take proper care of your CPAP components.

Do you know when it’s time to replace your disposable supplies? Many of the newer model machines have date stamped activated alarm notifications that prompt you to replace components but many people ignore them or put it on the back burner. Delaying the replacing of these parts can lead to adverse effects or reactions such as skin irritation, contact dermatitis, sinus discomfort, bacteria exposure, inadequate pressure to treat your apnea and/or rhinitis.

Filters: What Are You Breathing In?

CPAP machine models vary when it comes to the type of filters used to keep dust and debris from entering into the fan motor and components. Some models use a single poly fiber material type of filter and some use a combination of a foam filter with a poly fiber. The poly fiber filters are disposable and should be replaced every 1-3 months or once noticeable dirt and debris has built up on the filter. Foam filters can be hand washed and left to air dry and are considered reusable. For those of us that are susceptible to allergies, hypo-allergenic filters are just the right ticket.

Respironics CPAP Machine Filter

Replacing Your CPAP Filters Promotes Longer Machine Life

Keep in mind that if you live in an area that creates a lot of air particulate, whether you are living in a new neighborhood with many houses being developed or you live in an area that has sandstorms, you may want to change your filters on a more frequent basis. Trust us when we say it is a lot less expensive to replace your CPAP filters than it is to replace a new CPAP machine.

CPAP Mask Cushion: Facing Leak Problems Head On .

Your gel or silicone cushion insert typically receives the harshest amount of build up because it is exposed to facial oils every night it is used. Whether you use a full face, nasal, or nasal pillow (a cushion type that goes directly into your nostril to provide a seal), you need to replace these products every 1-3 months. Over time the facial oils will cause the silicone to harden and more susceptible to your CPAP air escaping and not being delivered properly. CPAP mask wipes come in handy and will promote a longer life and better seal while also saving you time. The cushion should be cleaned daily with either the wipes or a solution of soapy water. Use something that is low in alkaline such as baby soap that does not use harsh ingredients.

Discoloration of the cushion seal is a very good indicator that it’s to be replaced. Most inserts are a clear silicone and over time it will begin to turn a yellow/gold color which means it time to replace it. The good news in most cases is that you can simply replace certain components of the CPAP mask instead of replacing the entire system.

Headgear Strap: Hold On Tight.

Oils, dirt and hair care products collect on fabric headgear causing build up. Some headgears can be thrown in the washing machine and left out to air dry however over time it will lose elasticity and lead to “over-strapping” which causes mask discomfort. These straps can be replaced on most masks without the need of replacing the entire mask system. Sometimes your headgear may last longer than your cushion, allowing you to replace necessary components as needed.

Water Chamber Tub: Don’t Go Near the Water.

Cleaning CPAP Parts

Humidifier Chamber on the Right After 6 Months of Use Without Proper Cleaning

Therapy devices that use a heated humidifier include a water chamber tub or reservoir that holds the distilled water. I am just a guilty as the next CPAP user when it comes to using tap water in times of need however continuous use of tap water will lead to corrosive build up and deposits on the water chamber. There are few options to promote a longer life of your water chamber. You can purchase “cleanable” versions which allow you to take the water chamber apart for a thorough cleaning and in some cases, place in the dishwasher or use disposable tubs that should be cleaned often and replaced every 6-12 months.

Hose Tubing: That’s Not an Elephant Trunk.

Your CPAP hose is exposed to moisture from your humidifier on a nightly basis and can be susceptible to bacteria build up if not properly cleaned. The tube is recommended to be cleaned daily and the best method we suggest is to take it in the shower with you and rinse thoroughly with warm soapy water and hang it over the shower rod to drip dry. For a more thorough disinfection you can submerge in a 1 part vinegar 4 part water solution for 15 minutes and rinse thoroughly before use. A Tube Brush Cleaner works very well on the tubes that have a rippled or grooved design.

 

Helpful Products

Looking for an easier way to keep up with the cleaning and maintenance of your therapy accessories? Check out these time saving products to help make your life easier to keep your sleep apnea products sanitized.

Comfort and Cleaning Supplies

SoClean

CPAP Mask Wipes

Recommended Replacement Schedule

    • CPAP Mask (Nasal, Full Face, & Pillows) – replace every 6-12 months
    • Nasal Replacement Cushion – replace every 1-3 months
    • Pillows Replacement Cushion – replace every 1-3 months
    • Headgear – replace every 1-3 months
    • Chinstrap – replace every 3-6 months
    • Tubing – replace every 1-3 months
    • Air Filter – replace every month
    • Full Face Cushion – replace every 1-3 months
    • Water Chamber- replace every 3 months
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17 Things Only CPAP Users Will Understand

 A look at the lighter side of sleep apnea therapy and treatment!

CPAP Problems and Tips

I’ve Got 99 Problems but CPAP Ain’t One.

1. Your friends and family will make every sci-fi character reference that comes to mind when they see you with your mask on. Darth Vader has been the longest comparison but Bane has been the most popular in recent years. Let’s also not forget the elephant trunk reference made to the tubing. “Luke, I am your father”.

2. For years you have been exiled to the couch or guest bedroom but since you brought home that new CPAP you are now welcome back to the master bedroom.

3. You are constantly questioned about those marks or lines on your face during that first hour at work. “No, I didn’t get mugged on my way to work”.

4. Your bed partner asks you a question while you’re trying to fall asleep and when you answer back a flood of pressurized air blows out of your mouth.

5. The middle of the night bathroom walk seems more like a walk in space with your mask still on.

6. some point you have awoke to the sensation of being squeezed by a boa constrictor only to realize your hose tubing has attacked you during the night.

7. You tell someone that you use a CPAP machine and they automatically assume that means you sleep with an “oxygen machine”.

8. You purchase distilled water so often that the local grocery store cashier is convinced you are a “doomsday prepper”.

9. Your humidifier setting can mean the difference between feeling like you’re in the Amazon or the Sahara. You either wake up to mask cushion filled with water or so dry that you expect to see a mirage.

10. When you find a fellow CPAP user they will tell you they have the best mask on the market and immediately turn on the used car salesman speech to convince you to try one.

11. Your golfing/camping buddies make sure to remind you up until the last minute to be sure to bring your “CPAT machine” or “CPACK machine” with you or you’re bunking on your own.

12. You have been poked during the middle of the night because the CO2 exhaust from your mask is blowing directly into the face of your spouse/bed partner.

13. Panic sets in when you leave town and forgot to bring any CPAP supply that will stop you from using your machine. You become a man/woman on a mission to find a local store to get that part you need or someone that can ship it to you overnight.

14. At least on one occasion you have woken up and found your mask off of your face and laying somewhere with the machine still blowing out air. Congratulations, you are now a believer in the paranormal.

15.  Your night spent at the sleep lab can be compared to or described as what most would think when they visualize an alien abduction probing. On a positive note, at least the sleep technician made you a pot of coffee in the morning before you left.

16. Cranky, tired and unable to focus usually means you didn’t sleep with your therapy device last night and those that know you best will be sure to remind you that you need to make sure you use it tonight.

17. Your inner child comes out and you giggle at the “whoopee cushion” sound the mask seal makes when it isn’t strapped on tight enough.

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AirSense 10 New Series of CPAP by ResMed (S10)

ResMed AirSense 10 Series Review

The new AirSense reminds me of a story. A few years ago I was at a sleep conference in Minneapolis talking to Fisher and Paykel representatives over dinner and drinks about their new technology, SenseAwake. After hearing the sales pitch about this new algorithm my immediate interpretation of their description of this technology was to refer to it as an “auto ramp” feature. Fast forward 3 years to the release of the ResMed AirSense™ 10 (commonly referred to as the S10 since it follows the S9 series) and one of the trademark names in the new series of features is AutoRamp™ .  This is such a great concept for new users to CPAP because they frequently wake up multiple times during the night while they adjust to therapy and the overwhelming feeling of high pressure can cause people to take the mask off and toss it on the floor. When you add a feature that drops the pressure back to a low setting and it slowly increases while they fall back to sleep, you have a recipe that enhances the flavor we like to call compliance.

AirSense 10 CPAP by ResMed

New AirSense™ 10 Models of CPAP and AutoSet by ResMed

Compliance, or also referred to as “CPAP Adherence” is the holy grail of the sleep therapy world.  Nationally it is believed to be between 50-60%, meaning almost half of the people that have been prescribed therapy actually use it and 80% of people that suffer from sleep apnea remain undiagnosed. The platform offers many new features that will assist in improving compliance and justify the need to improve on it predecessor platform that we wouldn’t think could be out done, the S9 series. We would like to point out some of the interesting changes that we have read from ResMed’s product literature on this new device. Reviews of the AirSense 10 models should be out soon as more people purchase the product and can rate this product.

Integrated HumidAir™ Heated Humidifier

The new AirSense™ 10 series features a built in heated humidifier with standard hose tubing option as well as the ClimateLineAir™ heated hose tubing that promotes humidity throughout the entire tube. It never really made sense as to why all CPAP units didn’t include a heated humidifier since studies have shown that with the use of humidity compliance is improved and overall pressure needed is less. Display panel allows you to adjust the heater setting from 1-8 and control based on the amount you feel you need to alleviate dryness caused by pressurized air. The ClimateLine series of tubing help those of us that need a little extra humidity that can be lost while the air travels throughout the tubing.

Design

The angle of the device now faces forward and allows a user to adjust the controls while lying in bed instead of sitting up to see the control panel as needed for the S9 series. The humidifier water chamber tub is positioned to the side of the machine and the user can now see the water level as opposed to the S9 series that was a separate closed casing that required you to open the lid to see if a refill was needed.

AirSense Series of CPAP

New Design Features Include Built-In Humidifier

Models

The product line has been trimmed down to AirSense 10 AutoSet, Elite and CPAP (basic entry level model). The Escape™ name seems to no longer be used and changed to simple AirSense™ 10 CPAP. The AutoSet for Her model is still available, however the pink colored machine casing seems to have changed to a toned down flowered design. It is often debated around our office as to why a standard fixed level CPAP model is made when Auto CPAP (APAP) technology offers both auto mode or fixed pressure mode. Differences between basic entry level devices and “Elite” type of devices simply come down to reporting capabilities. These reporting capabilities can be downloaded via a SD card (standard with all units) and a built wireless option that allows data to be seen and changed via cellular communication.

Accessories and Optional Add-On Items

This new series comes standard with therapy device and integrated humidifier, water chamber tub, air tubing, power supply, travel bag, SD card and disposable filter. Additional items can be added as you see fit such as choosing upgrade cleanable water chamber tub with a design life of 2.5 years, DC converter for those that may need to operate the unit from a battery when a wall outlet source is not available. A SD card reader can be purchased for downloading your SD card to your own personal computer for tracking your therapy success. Standard white disposable filter comes standard however a hypoallergenic filter can be used for those with allergies that may be seasonal.

Customer Reviews and Feedback

We are excited about this new platform and encourage all new users of therapy to try this model and let us know how you like it. While we anxiously wait our stock to come in we are accepting pre-orders on this model. Good news to know is that there hasn’t been a price increase over the S9 platform! Also be sure to check out the new line of ResMed CPAP masks to go with this unit such as the P10 nasal pillow mask, the N10 standard nasal, and F10 full face model.

shop-cpap-machine-masks

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Paying Out of Pocket versus Using Insurance for CPAP Supplies?

Ever Wonder Why Doctors Take Vacation in July?

I saw a major trend every year during the summer months at the sleep disorders center I worked for as a Director of Lab Operations.  Referrals were down and patient schedulers’ were feverishly making phone calls to patients to try to get them in for follow up appointments and re-evaluations.  Ever go to your doctor’s office in July and see tumbleweeds blowing through the waiting room and ask yourself if you missed the zombie apocalypse? Where did everybody go? Everyone can’t be on vacation at the same time can they? An apple a day may keep your doctor away but a July healthcare insurance deductible rollover WILL keep patients away.

CPAP Stores

Leave a Little Extra in Your Wallet This Year. Shop 1800CPAP.com

Insurance policies that have a July deductible rollover are becoming a common trend and what that means is on July 1st of every year, your deducible goes back to zero.  Simply meaning, you have to meet your deductible “again” before you 80 or 90% of coverage will begin.  Every month we pay premiums towards our healthcare coverage, that warm and cozy little blanket that makes us feels safe just in case something bad happens. Unfortunately, a lot of us that rarely use our medical insurance tend to opt for the policy that has a high deductible to keep our monthly premiums low and affordable and hold our breaths that we will not need to use it. What about those of us that use CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), a device used to keep our airway open while asleep?

People that suffer from sleep apnea are most commonly prescribed a PAP device (Auto CPAP,  or Bi-Level) and these devices and accessories require parts and replacements that should be replenished every 1-3 months or as needed.  This translates into a billing of CPAP hose tubing ($45.00 billable insurance rate), mask ($120.00 to $190.00), headgear ($45.00), filters ($9.00), water chamber tubs ($30.00), and maybe a chinstrap ($20.00). If the average single person deductible is $2000.00 before coverage kicks in (and then maybe only 70-80% is covered) then you are paying all of this out of pocket until your deductible is met.

Cost Comparison of CPAP Items Billed Through Insurance versus Self Pay Purchase

Remember that you are responsible for all costs out of pocket until your deductible has been met and then you may only be covered at 60%-80% of the cost.

Item

Cost Billed Through Insurance

Cost at 1800CPAP.com

CPAP   or Auto CPAP

$2000.00

Starting   at $275.00

Bi-Level   or BiPAP

$3500.00

Starting   at $995.00

VPAP   Adapt or Auto SV

$6500.00

Starting   at $3500.00

Heated   Humidifier

$450.00

Starting   at $129.00

Full   Face CPAP Mask

$190.00

Starting   at $119.00

Full   Face Mask Cushion

$75.00

Starting   at $49.00

Nasal   Mask Cushion

$45.00

Starting   at $26.00

Nasal   Pillow Cushions

$30.00

Starting   at $10.00

Nasal   CPAP Mask

$120.00

Starting   at $39.00

Mask   Headgear

$45.00

Starting   at $18.00

Chinstrap

$20.00

Starting   at $14.99

Hose   Tubing

$45.00

Starting   at $8.99

Filters,   Disposable

$6.00

Starting   at $3.00

Filters,   Non-Disposable

$20.00

Starting   at $4.00

Replacement   Water Chamber

$30.00

Starting   at $19.99

Where can I get Affordable CPAP Supplies?

Self paying (meaning you pay out of your own pocket) using health equipment providers that DO NOT have contracts with insurance companies is the most affordable method since we are not obligated to charge you insurance billable rates. What that means is, if we accepted your health insurance we would be obligated to charge you the rates that are billed, but since we do not, we can set our own price levels.  The same CPAP tube hose that we sell for $8.99 sounds so much better than one that may cost you $45.00 doesn’t it?  Not to mention, some insurance companies require a prescription for that tube, so add a co-pay into the equation and it simply doesn’t make sense.

New CPAP Users

Even if you have been recently diagnosed with sleep apnea and prescribed a therapy device a direct purchase from 1800CPAP.com for a machine starting at $275 is much less out of your pocket than the $200/month for 10 months a HME (home medical equipment) provider will charge you through insurance.  The traditional DME (durable medical equipment) companies like to argue that support and fittings make them a better option for you than using an internet CPAP dealer but all too often they fail to realize that we live in a digital age where printable fitting guides, online live chat, phone support and PDF downloads put more information at your fingertips than ever before. I personally have spent many years on both sides of this argument and know that 1800CPAP.com offers just as much support if not more than traditional “brick and mortar” DME shops.

So put some of that money back into your own pocket and take that dream vacation next July.

shop-cpap-machine-masks

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Sleep and Age: How Much Should You Be Getting

How Many Hours Do I Need? Sleep and Age

Sleep is essential to having a healthy and productive life, but getting enough is not always very easy. Many people believe that eight hours of sleep is the ideal amount of rest that everyone needs each night to feel their best, but research has shown that is not true. Individual people have their own unique magic numbers, but there are other factors that play into the ideal amount of sleep.

The Age Factor

The amount of sleep a person requires changes as they go through life. Newborns require a lot more sleep than a five year old, and both need more than an adult. Everyone will go through different stages, but the general guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute suggest that sleep changes in phases.

Newborns: Everyone starts off life requiring approximately 16-18 hours a day. The reasons that they need more sleep is because there is so much growth and development occurring in the mind and body. Getting sleep is an important aspect of growing because it is letting all the changes happen that need to. The baby needs to eat of course, so the older they get, the more they are awake to eat and interact with those around them.

Preschool-aged children: Once children have a few years under their belt, they start requiring approximately 11-12 hours a day. Some kids will take naps during the day while others will stay active whenever the sun is up. A lot of the napping schedules revolve around how much sleep a child gets during the night and how active they are during the day.

School-aged children: This phase of life is known for growth spurts and high rates of activity. At least 10 hours a day are required to help a child run at their peak performance levels.

Teens: While it may surprise some, 9-10 hours a day is all the sleep the typical teenager needs. This seems like a lot less than the norm, but this stage of life is an important one because the body’s circadian rhythm is temporarily reset. The internal biological clock tells a person to fall asleep later and wake up later during these years, giving teens a different sleep pattern than the other age demographics.

Adults (including the elderly): The amount of sleep for the typical adult is only 7-8 hours a day. During different phases of life, like having young children, some adults may feel like they get less because they sleep more lightly, but it does not mean they need less.

Other Factors of Sleep

For the general population, the above recommendations are great, but there are exceptions. Differences arise depending on health, including sicknesses and growth spurts. Experts cannot pinpoint an exact amount of sleep that each person needs because it is so personal. It is important to pay attention to your own individual signs by noticing how you feel and how many hours it takes to get a good night’s rest.

Lifestyle is a major factor in how much sleep a person needs. There are people who are up and moving all day long that may require more rest than someone who sits at a desk all day. However, researchers believe that there are common factors that also determine how much sleep you need.

Another thing that influences how much sleep you need each night is based on something experts refer to as sleep debt. Every individual has their own base number of hours, or basal sleep need, and when that number is not met for whatever reason, they start accumulating. If a healthy adult requires 7-8 hours of sleep for their basal sleep need, but miss a couple of hours one night, the next one or two nights will require more sleep to get back to normal.

The Necessity of Sleep

Every age and stage of life needs the right amount of sleep to avoid feeling overly tired and cranky. For teens and adults, there are many harmful effects such as:

  • Feeling  drowsy, especially when driving
  • Increased risk of obesity Because the body tries to make more energy by increasing the appetite to compensate for sleep deprivation
  • Higher risk of diabetes and heart problems
  • Decreased ability to pay attention and remember new information
  • Delayed reaction time
  • An increased risk for psychiatric conditions, especially depression and substance abuse

Researchers Michael H. Bonnet and Donna L. Arand have found strong evidence that when sufficient rest is not received, it compromises mood, performance, and alertness which can result in injury or death. Some of the best medical advice a person can follow is to get enough sleep each night.

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Pregnancy and the Importance of Sleep – What You Need to Know

It may seem strange to see the words pregnancy and sleep together in the same sentence since they so rarely coexist. Between all of the hormonal and physical changes, getting rest can seem like a very rare occurrence. Each trimester has its own challenges, and feeling tired is a factor in just about every single stage.

The First Trimester

The first trimester is typically categorized as the part of pregnancy where many women feel the worst of their morning sickness. Anytime you get sick you also feel a lot more tired anyway, but there is more to it during pregnancy. This can be attributed to the rush of hormones that come during this stage, one of which is called progesterone, which is a sleep-inducing hormone.

There are other physical changes going on, too, such as building a small person and preparing the body for putting on more weight to support the growing uterus. These developments can leave you feeling very tired and in need of some extra sleep. Even if you can’t tell that your body is doing so much work, it is, and that really takes its toll on you.

Constantly going to the bathroom is a stereotype for good reason. Increasing any water and other fluids in the body gives you an almost frequent need to urinate. This is especially true during the night, interrupting any hope of a full night’s sleep. When you are up at night, tiredness is going to be your daytime companion. Try drinking less water before going to bed.

There are a few other things you might try to get more sleep in the first trimester. In order to curb sickness and get some extra rest, a lot of people have found that taking half of a vitamin B6 and half of a sleeping pill in order to feel more rested. Vitamin B6 helps you get more rest by helping to convert tryptophan, an essential amino acid in your body, to niacin and serotonin, promoting sleep.

Second Trimester

The second trimester is usually the best part of the pregnancy for many women. This is a time that is characterized by feeling well, an extra boost of energy, and a growing excitement at the realization of actually having a baby in the coming months.

The only sleep problem most will encounter during this phase is a growing level of discomfort as the midsection begins to grow. Stomach sleepers are the ones who have the hardest time adjusting to sleeping pregnant. Most people find that a large pillow or a pillow between their legs helps them to be more comfortable.

Third Trimester

As the baby, uterus, and stomach get bigger, a pregnant woman is going to get more and more uncomfortable sleeping at night. The third trimester starts off not being terrible, but by the end, sleep is a rarity. There are many reasons that women are tired during this phase, especially because almost any activity is so much harder to do and requires more energy.

A common problem that restricts sleep is heartburn. The third trimester is the most common time for women to suffer from acid reflux. The best ways to treat this are limiting spicy and fatty foods, especially close to bedtime, and asking your doctor what medicines can help alleviate some of the symptoms.

Another common complaint of pregnant women and their partners is a stuffy nose which leads to snoring. While nasal sprays might work for some, others may need the help of a CPAP machine to help them stop snoring. This helps everyone involved get more sleep at night and wake up more refreshed.

Always Ask

It is important to realize that sleep is going to be difficult all along the way. It may not get better once the baby is born, but it is all worth it in the end. The best thing you can do if you are really struggling to sleep at all during your pregnancy is to talk to your doctor. Taking vitamins, medications, and herbal remedies while pregnant can have some very serious consequences, so be sure that you always have the approval of your physician.

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Daily Habits That Help Improve My Sleep

Improve My Sleep with These Tips

It is important to get a good night’s rest, but so few people manage it consistently. Any insomniac can tell you that sleep is so much more than just laying down to go to sleep. There are, however, certain behaviors and practices that can help you not only fall asleep, but stay asleep.

1. Have a routine. Before going to bed, you should do the same things each night. This will signal to your body and mind that you are preparing to go to sleep and winding down for the evening.

2. Exercise. There are two important things to note about exercise. The first is that it will help you to sleep better if you are more active during the day. The second thing is that you should not exercise too close to bedtime. Try to limit any activity that is too straining two to three hours before bed, otherwise you will be too awake to drift off easily.

3. Decrease caffeine. Many people are addicted to caffeine and consume it in large amounts throughout the day. After dinner time hours, you should steer clear of coffee and other caffeinated, sugary drinks.

4. Limit napping. If you absolutely have to take a nap during the day, follow a cat’s example and keep it short. You should only sleep long enough to feel rested, about fifteen minutes, and then get back to your day. Too much snoozing during the day will limit the amount of tiredness you will feel at night.

5. Slow down in the evenings. Exercise is not the only activity that increases the heart rate and brain waves. Too much excitement, talking, and shouting can make it hard for the body to prepare to sleep.

6. Avoid liquids. Drinking water too close to bed is a great way to ensure that you will be getting up during the night to use the bathroom. You will rest more soundly if you avoid drinking two to three hours before bed.

7. Decreasing alcohol. There is a misconception about night caps, thinking they will help you to sleep better. However, it has only been shown to help in very small amounts, two to three hours before bedtime. Too much alcohol does not help you to drift off peacefully. Instead, it leads to restless sleeping and possibly a hangover in the morning.

8. Increase melatonin. Melatonin is a chemical in the brain that aids sleeping. There are several foods that naturally help increase these levels in the body.

  • Bananas      and fish are high in Vitamin B6, which is a key component in melatonin      production
  • Tart      cherries are one of the most concentrated natural forms of melatonin
  • Dairy      products, leafy greens, and whole grains are all high in calcium and      magnesium, which help the body to sleep. When these levels are too low,      they can interrupt the ability to sleep.

9. Have the right bed. A great mattress is worth the cost if you are going to spend so much of your life on it. It is important to get a mattress that you think is comfortable.

10. Keep everything out except sleep and sex. Too many people use their computers, phones, and televisions in their beds, which does not prepare the mind for rest. In fact, it does the opposite by stimulating the mind and making it harder to fall asleep.

11. Eat right. Some foods that are overly fatty or spicy can make sleeping hard, leading to more waking up during the night. Overeating can also lead to discomfort.

12. Be consistent. Go to sleep and get up every morning at the same time. Your body has an internal clock that depends on you being consistent. If you can set a schedule and stick to it, your body is going to be primed for sleeping and waking consistently, helping you feel more well-rested and energized each day.

13. Limit who sleeps with you. Parents and pet owners know all too well that having kids and animals in the bed can interrupt sleep patterns. If it becomes a big struggle, you need to kick the intruders out of your bed and into their own so that you can all sleep better.

14. Manage stress. Stressful situations and events are part of life. However, if it weighs too heavily on your mind, you may find that it is hard to get to sleep at night. Take up stress management techniques like yoga or meditation to help calm your nerves before heading to bed.

15. Don’t smoke. Nicotine is a stimulant that can keep you up for long hours in the evenings. Addictions to this substance can also make it hard to get a good night’s rest because your body wakes up, wanting to get another fix. Quit smoking and start sleeping.

16. Avoid watching the clocks while trying to sleep. One of the worst parts about laying in bed wide awake is staring at the clock, waiting to fall asleep. If you have an electronic, glowing clock, it is often helpful to get rid of it so that you aren’t counting the minutes. Seeing how long it is taking to fall asleep can often cause stress, making it harder to drift off.

17. Use the sun. The sun and its light are a natural trigger to the body that it is time to be awake, and the dark signals sleep. Get out in the sunlight during the day so that you can help your body adjust to these natural cues.

18. Clean sheets. If your sheets, pillows, or other bedding is dirty or overly disheveled, it can be uncomfortable and disruptive to peacefully sleeping. It can also become a breeding ground for bed bugs.

19. Good hygiene. When you go to bed dirty, you can become itchy and uncomfortable. It also leads to uneasy resting on subsequent nights. Allergies can get worse when you have pollen or dirt in the bed, too.

20. Manage your weight. Controlling your weight is important because being overweight is going to interfere with the ability to sleep well.

If you have a hard time to getting to sleep and you have tried all of this, you can always go talk to your doctor. A sleep aid may be necessary in some instances, so talk to your medical professional to determine what is best for you.

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How Sleep Heals the Body

Sleep is more than just time to rest after a busy day. It is, in fact, when your body has a chance to regenerate and heal, and it is a necessity for the overall health of your body. While we drift off into dreamland, important healing processes are taking place inside us.

What happens while you sleep?

Sleep is a time for your cells to repair themselves. Although your body is asleep, it is still working hard correcting chemical imbalances, assuring proper blood sugar levels, and maintaining the memory. Scientists aren’t completely sure what happens in your body during sleep, but they are beginning to figure a few things out.

Scientists can read brainwaves during sleep, so we know the brain stays active, but they aren’t totally sure what it is doing. They do, however, know that the brain goes through four stages, called REM sleep cycles. These REM cycles are when your body performs daily maintenance and begins healing.

Sleep Deprivation

Many signs of sleep deprivation are well known. You might feel sluggish, lethargic, and lack energy the day after poor sleep. However, what many of us don’t know is how much this lack of sleep can affect the physical health and functions of our bodies.

Not getting enough sleep can weaken the immune system and make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection. More than that, it affects chemical balances inside the body. In a study done at the University of Chicago, Dr. Eve Van Cauter found that, “after four hours of sleep for six consecutive nights, healthy young men had blood test results that nearly matched those of diabetics. Their ability to process blood sugar was reduced by 30 percent, they had a huge drop in their insulin response, and they had elevated levels of a stress hormone called cortisol, which can lead to hypertension and memory impairment.”

Those with insomnia or other sleep disorders aren’t the only ones at risk. 7 out of 10 Americans don’t get enough sleep. Losing just an hour of sleep a night increases risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke, and type II diabetes.

Immune System

Sleep is extremely important for the proper functioning of the immune system. Doctors often instruct sick patients to get extra sleep for a reason, and it isn’t just because that’s their answer to everything. It’s because of the immune system’s increased production of certain proteins during sleep, as well as the levels of certain agents, that increase during sleep which help you fight diseases. Since these same elements drop when we are awake, you can’t get enough of them without sufficient sleep.

Hormones

Hormone production is affected by sleep. During sleep, growth hormone is at its peak, which speeds the absorption of nutrients and amino acids into your cells and aids the healing of tissues throughout your body. Melatonin, another hormone produced during sleep, is known to stimulate your immune system, prevent viral infections, keep tumors from growing, and improve sleep quality.

Triggering Diseases

Not getting enough sleep may trigger diseases for which you have a predisposition. A lack of sleep takes a toll on the body and may bring them into active disease state. It can even trigger the occurrence at an earlier age than expected.

Fixing the Damage

If you are one of the 7 out of 10 Americans not getting enough sleep, there is still hope. Damage has been done, and your health may be suffering for it, but it can be reversed. Many symptoms, even physical ailments such as dizziness or a rash, can go away when you begin getting enough sleep.

Experts say to go to bed 15 minutes earlier each night until you find your personal bedtime. Everybody requires a different amount of sleep. Once you know what your body needs, strive to get it every night so your body can regenerate repair and heal.

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Curing Depression with CPAP Machines

Depression with CPAP Therapy

Many people experience depression and the feelings of sadness and hopelessness it brings. The chemical imbalances that cause depression can result in a loss of interest in things that you use to enjoy, days full of fatigue, and sleepless nights. Depression can affect every aspect of your life if left untreated and depression with CPAP can be helpful in management.

CPAP Machiine

Depressive disorders can be set-off by genes, medications, stress or poor mood regulation. Depression can also be caused by a lack of sleep, and those who suffer from sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, have a much higher chance of also suffering from depression.

What is depression?

Depression is more than just having a bad day, or even a bad week. It is feeling sad and down for weeks or months at a time.  Depressive illnesses are disorders of the brain that do not just go away on their own and must be treated. A person experiencing depression loses motivation. It may be difficult to muster up energy to complete daily tasks, and, in the worst cases, depression can lead to suicidal thoughts.

Depression and Fatigue

A lack of sleep can impair your mood. Likewise, mood disorders can affect your sleep. When you suffer from sleep apnea, for example, your sleep is interrupted many times a night. These interruptions can disrupt sleep cycles and result in poor sleep, leading to fatigue.

When someone feels chronic fatigue all day, they are more likely to lose motivation and feel depressed. “If you were to follow people with insomnia and no history of depression, they would be four times more likely to develop depression than individuals with no history of insomnia,” says R. Robert Auger, MD, a sleep specialist at the Mayo Center for Sleep Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota.

It can be difficult to determine which came first, the depression or the sleep disorder, because they are closely related and affect each other. A lack of sleep can create poor mental and physical health.

Dealing with Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing repeatedly starts and stops during sleep. If the sleep apnea is serious, it can become dangerous. People with sleep apnea don’t get great sleep. This can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, which can result in feelings of depression.

The first step to address both the sleep apnea and the depression brought on by excessive fatigue is to receive a diagnosis and begin treatment. If you want to get control over the depression, you must first address the sleep apnea. If the sleep disorder is controlled there is a better chance you can control the depression.

Using a CPAP Machine

Doctors often recommend those with sleep apnea use a CPAP machine while they sleep. A CPAP machine, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure, helps a person with sleep apnea breath better at night.

When the CPAP machine blows air at a prescribed pressure into your nose, it can solve most apnea. Research shows that continuous positive airway pressure decreases daytime sleepiness, especially in those who have moderate to severe sleep apnea.

Once the sleep apnea is controlled, there is less daytime sleepiness, which in turn can reduce some symptoms of depression. It is important to remember, though, that while a CPAP machine can solve the apnea issue, which may lessen symptoms of depression, it does not cure depression. Although there is a correlation between sleep apnea and depression, you still need to see a doctor about your depression as you work to control your sleep apnea.

Lack of sleep and depression are closely linked together. If you suffer from sleep apnea and are feeling depressed, it may be time to get a CPAP machine. It will improve your sleep and help improve your mood.

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Healthy Eating Habits that Help Sleep Apnea

 Sleep apnea is a common disorder that plagues more than 18 million Americans every year. This condition causes the back of the throat to collapse during sleep, which constricts the airflow that delivers life-giving oxygen to vital organs such as the heart and the brain. If the airflow is restricted often enough, the blood-oxygen levels in the body decrease to the point where the brain decides to wake the body up in order to jump-start the airflow again.

This can happen hundreds of times a night without you realizing it, so you may wake up feeling fatigued in the morning even when you think you’ve gotten a good night’s rest.

It may not seem like a big deal to lose a few nights’ worth of sleep every once in a while, but the complications that can arise from sleep apnea are more serious than you might think. Sleep apnea can lead to problems such as depression, memory loss, decreased sex drive, and lack of concentration. Some recent studies have shown that this disorder can even lead to bone problems and higher risks of contracting pneumonia.

It’s important to find out what you can do to deal with this potentially life-threatening condition before something serious happens. One of the best things you can do to help relieve your body of sleep apnea is improve your diet.

Obesity

One of the major causes of sleep apnea is linked to the epidemic of obesity in America. As fat deposits around the neck area build up, the disorder is more likely to appear due to restricted airways and compromised breathing. Unfortunately, because of the problems that sleep apnea can cause, such as extreme fatigue during the day, people are less likely to exercise and change their lifestyle in order to correct the problem.

Another result of obesity-related sleep apnea is an increased desire to eat, according to some studies. This is because the patients who didn’t sleep as much during the night had to produce 30% more insulin in their bodies due to hormonal changes. This increase caused the patients to want to eat more during their waking hours.

Creating a Healthy Diet

If you are obese and suffering from sleep apnea, the first thing to do is to make lifestyle changes a priority in your life. The best way to relieve your body from the disorder is to lose weight, and you can get started on the road to better sleep by creating a healthy diet. In fact, a recent study published in the journal of Sleep Medicine showed that if obese patients lost just 5% of their body weight, their sleep apnea would be improved significantly.

Meet with your doctor in order to plan a healthy diet that works specifically for you. Your doctor knows your health better than anyone else and can tailor a diet that fits your body type and lifestyle. After it is set, follow the diet religiously in order to see a difference.

Foods that Promote Sleep

While it is true that many people who suffer from sleep apnea are obese, it isn’t necessarily true in all cases. There are many adults and children in America that suffer from the disorder who aren’t classified as obese. Even in those cases, though, a healthy diet goes a long way to improve your sleep habits, and there are also some specific foods that might be really effective.

  • Kale: Leafy green vegetables such as kale contain a lot of calcium, which helps the brain manufacture melatonin by using tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps to make the hormones melatonin and serotonin—two hormones that help set your sleep schedule. Other leafy greens, such as spinach and mustard greens, contain plenty of calcium to help manufacture of these hormones.
  • Honey: Besides being sweet and really good when mixed with tea, honey is a good food to help raise the insulin in your body to allow tryptophan to enter the brain more readily. This is because it contains plenty of natural sugar, which is a lot healthier than the processed stuff.
  • Tea: Teas such as chamomile and passion fruit tea can both help relax your body before you go to bed. Chamomile can increase the levels of glycine in you, which acts as a mild sedative to relax your muscles and nerves. Passion fruit tea contains high concentrations of Harman alkaloids, which can act on your nervous system to induce some sleepiness.
  • Almonds: These nuts are high in magnesium, a chemical that promotes muscle relaxation and sleep. They can also provide proteins that help maintain a level blood sugar while you sleep and get your body into its rest cycle.
  • Dairy: A warm glass of milk before bed helps you sleep, according to the old wives’ tale. However, almost any dairy product can help you sleep better. Milk, yogurt, and cheese all contain tryptophan and calcium. The combination of these two things can help you sleep and reduce stress.

Eat Wisely

Both sleep and a good diet are very important to your overall health, and they often compliment one another in the sense that when you focus on one, the other comes along for the ride. Try to improve your eating habits so you can sleep better every night and wake every morning feeling well rested.

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Is Snoring Dangerous To My Health?

My Name is Jason and I Snore…Loudly

Many of us are all too familiar with being banished to the couch or spare bedroom because of our embarrassing little problem; heavy snoring. Maybe some of you are the butt of your golfing buddies’ jokes about that upcoming trip where one poor soul gets the short end of the straw to share a room with you. Sure, your snoring helps keep the bears away on camping trips but where does this come in handy when you’re bunking with a co-worker for a corporate conference or that out of town bachelor party?

Snoring and Treatment

Snoring: The Universal Language of Sleep Disordered Breathing

For many people’s perspective of their own snoring it’s more a case of vanity or social stigma when it comes to these situations but what about all those other nights? Is it taking its toll on your health?   Maybe your snoring is the dirty little secret that you have been able to keep from everyone and there is always that level of anxiety when a potential situation comes up where you might have to share sleeping space with someone. You are not alone; this is a common problem that affects many people, even the ladies that will quickly deny they are guilty of it too. It is said that about 45% of the population snores to some degree while as many as 25% are habitual snorers (those of us that do it on a nightly basis).

So Why Do I Snore?

The snoring sound that you hear is the vibration of the airway made during the exchange of breathing in and out caused by a partially obstructed or narrowed airway. Your snoring can be a result of many different factors. Identify if this has been a lifelong problem or something that has surfaced in the last few years or so. Age and weigh gain top the reasons for people that never snored in the past but have recently started snoring. As we get older we lose muscle tone, and that muscle tone that is designed to keep the airway stable begins to collapse, thus snoring is created.

snoring and sleep apnea

Progression of Snoring to Sleep Apnea

The physical make up of your airway such as excess tissue, enlarged tongue and/or uvula (punching back looking thing in your throat) and tonsils may cause your snoring and upper airway resistance.

I hear it all the time; “I only snore when I sleep on my back”. Do you know why that is? Positional and sleep stage related snoring is most commonly heard while you are on your back and may or may not be in REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. When we sleep on our back gravity shows us that our airway is most susceptible to collapse. Add in REM sleep, a stage best described as an active mind in a paralyzed body, and you have a full loss of muscle tone to create sleep disordered and loud snoring.

Alcohol is a depressant that relaxes the muscles making the airway more susceptible to collapse and produce snoring as well as apnea events. Ever wonder why your snoring seems so much louder and more frequent when you’ve had a few to drink? Now you know why.

What Are The Dangers of Snoring?

Strain to personal relationships. It goes without saying that it is common knowledge that some spouses sleep in different rooms and the wedge that drives them apart often times is the loud snoring. Not only is this disruptive to your sleep stages but also the sleep stages of the person lying next to you.

Progression to sleep disordered breathing events such as apneas (cessation of airflow from a blocked airway), hypopneas, upper airway resistance syndrome, sleep fragmentation, and respiratory related arousals, prevent you from entering a deeper stage of sleep.

Sleep Apnea and Death

If Left Untreated, Sleep Apnea Can Lead to Co-Morbid Conditions and Even Death

The health risks associated with untreated obstructive sleep apnea are well documented through research and can be deadly with links to hypertension (high blood pressure), heart failure, stroke, diabetes.  Sufferers may also experience depression, excessive daytime fatigue, moodiness, irritability and sexual dysfunction. Needless to say, snoring can be an indicator or warning sign of a more serious sleep disorder breathing (SDB) event.

If you snore or wake up gasping for air during the night or experience some of the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea you should speak with your physician about testing options. At home sleep apnea tests, a small device worn in your own home while you sleep, can be great tools to assess the presence of sleep disordered breathing or the need for a more comprehensive in-lab polysomnograph monitored by a qualified sleep technologist.

What Can I Do to Fix My Problem?

For those of us with mild or situational cases there are less invasive options such as weight loss through healthy diet and exercise or eliminating smoking or alcohol. In some cases of positional snoring an alternative therapy  of a bumper belt or tee-shirt that has tennis balls sewn in to the back so that it discourages you from sleeping supine (on your back). To rule out sleep apnea or any other respiratory sleep related disorder it is best recommended to speak with your physician about undergoing a sleep test. Most sleep studies are covered by insurance as well and if you do not have insurance or have a high deductible plan you can still undergo a home sleep apnea evaluation for very little cost. If it is determined that you have sleep apnea, upper airway resistance, or a sleep breathing disorder a CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure) may be prescribed. CPAP is the only 100% proven effective treatment for sleep apnea however there are surgical procedures or oral appliances that have been shown to be successful in certain qualified candidates.

For More Information about CPAP or Home Sleep Apnea Testing, please feel free to contact a customer service representative of 1800CPAP at 1-800-274-1366 or email feedback@1800cpap.com

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The New ResMed AirFit F10 Full Face CPAP Mask

New ResMed AirFit F10 Full Face Mask

Say Hello to My Little Friend

Has the CPAP therapy market turned gangster? The trend seems to be “family” of masks and these “families” seem intent on knocking each other off? You have the Mirage family, the FX family, the Comfort Series family, the Blue family and now an Air family. Throughout the years the mean streets of sleep labs all across the country seemed to be controlled by the Comfort and Mirage family but like most good mafia movies, these families are getting bumped off.

ResMed AirFit F10

AirFit™ F10 Full Face CPAP Mask

Introducing AirFit™ Family

ResMed has recently launched the rest of the AirFit™ family of masks that include the AirFit F10 Full Face mask (for Him and For Her models) as well as the AirFit™ N10 models of nasal style to join the P10 nasal pillow CPAP mask. These new interfaces complete the family and aim to challenge the market for the ultimate prize; a series of masks that improve compliance through comfort and design. From SoftEdge™ headgear to Spring Air™ cushions you are sure to bet these new features are going to influence CPAP compliance.

In order to positively affect therapy adherence it takes a lot of user feedback and cooperating research with sleep testing facilities to identify key points from initial and long term use to design masks that meet as many positive factors to assist continued use of PAP therapy. So what are these key factors that manufacturers look for?

ResMed AirFit™ for Her full face mask

AirFit™ F10 for Her Full Face CPAP mask

Comfort

With a lightweight design that feels like the CPAP mask is barely there and allows a line of sight to read or watch television while you fall asleep on therapy. Just turning off the lights and turning on your CPAP machine doesn’t always work for everyone; most new users find it hard to achieve sleep onset because they are lying there thinking about the device they are sleeping on. When you can read or watch a little television while wearing the mask and the pressure is on a ramp setting, initiation of sleep when you turn the lights out is easier. Doing that with a mask that has a forehead stability bar makes it difficult to read or watch television. The AirFit F10 and AirFit F10 for Her through SoftEdge™ headgear (63164) offer a mask design that does not need forehead support.

Leak Reduction

Spring Air™ CPAP mask cushion (part no.  62737, 62738, and 62739) offers a dual wall seal that reduce unintentional mask leak. Mask leak is one of the most frustrating and annoying side effects of a poorly designed or improperly fitted mask. The dual walls of the AirFit F10 cushion offer that added layer to provide a superior seal every time.  Say goodbye to that annoying noise caused by excessive mask leak and exhaled air; the exhalation port redirects and diffuses exhaled air.

Simplicity

Ease of use is a big factor and nothing is more annoying than a CPAP mask that a user cannot figure out how to assemble and disassemble for cleaning purposes. CPAP mask should be wiped off or cleaned daily to avoid build up that will result in discomfort and leak. Most users are not aware that components of the mask can be replaced without the need of replacing the entire mask. A 4 piece mask system allows easily assembly, use and replacement of consumable mask parts. Over time the cushion and headgear will become less effective and will need replaced and it is important that the user can easily replace these parts themselves.

The Other “Families”

So no matter which family you are loyal to there will always be new families trying to snuff out the competition and gain market “turf”. Don’t be a wise guy by keeping your head buried in the sand.  It just may be better to sleep with the AirFit family than to sleep with the fishes. Alright, enough bad mafia jokes; try the new F10 full face CPAP mask by ResMed and we are confident you will be satisfied. 1800CPAP.com is currently accepting pre-orders on these masks and will be shipping out new arrivals soon!

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CPAP and Weight Loss: The New Sleep Diet

CPAP and Weight Loss

While driving my 8 year old son to baseball practice last week I heard what may be the best marketing angle for a commercial on the radio. It wasn’t your typical “We are the Best” or “Our Product Will Do This Better than Anyone Else” it was a simple warning (repeated in a stern voice) that would lead you to believe that their product works so well that you better watch out. So what was this crazy warning that would drive sales through the roof? It stated something along the lines that some people experience too much rapid weight loss and if that occurs with you should discontinue use.  This is a brilliant form of marketing from a dietary supplement company that is part of a 14 billion dollar a year industry.

So how does this relate to a blog about CPAP, with exception to the fact that many people that have sleep apnea also struggle with maintaining a healthy weight? The tie in to all of this is what makes one non FDA regulated dietary supplement better than any other? If you ask anyone that struggles with weight loss many of them will read off a long list of different products that have tried with little to zero success.  So what makes one CPAP machine or CPAP mask better or produce better results than any other? Positive airway pressure (PAP) is positive airway pressure right?

Take the CPAP Challenge

Unlike store bought dietary supplements, CPAP machines and CPAP masks are FDA regulated and a lot of research and development by these large manufacturers would suggest to you that one is better than the other but is that really the case? A few years ago Jason Crowe and I put this theory to the test when we asked one of sleep physicians, heavily revered in the sleep apnea industry, to participate in a “blind taste test”. You see, he was heavily referring one particular manufacturer and model of continuous positive airway pressure and wasn’t very open to trying out other brands. So how do we get him to recognize that other, less expensive and lesser known models may be just as effective in treating patients that suffer from sleep apnea?

Simple, we set up 4 different standard fixed pressure machines on the same set pressure of 6cm/H2O (all tested on a water manometer for calibration) and offered the minimum and maximum comfort settings offered such as C-Flex. All devices included a heated humidifier and were “taste tested” with and without since some users do not use humidity and some manufactures claim their humidifiers are the standard that sets them apart from others.  The same therapy mask was used for all tests as well as a rotation of the three different types (nasal, nasal pillow and full face). The tests were conducted in a sleep therapy testing room with an average sleep latency of 22 minutes and tested 2 hours apart.

The Results

All devices tested fairly and our sleep physician was asked to select the device he thought was the one he currently referred to patients the most. He was also asked to rank the devices in an order that he thought preformed the best from a comfort standpoint. He was shocked to find out that the device he referred to the most patient was not the device he selected, nor was it his second guess. This really opened his eyes to the way CPAP machines are marketed.  Huge marketing dollars by manufacturers with deep pockets can lead you to believe they offer a superior product however when tested in a practical situations, positive airway pressure devices from a therapy standpoint show little difference.

So What Does This All Mean?

You don’t have to break the bank when shopping for sleep apnea therapy devices and interfaces. Many newcomers to the market are offering affordable solution for treating your sleep apnea and snoring problems.

Thing to Consider When Buying a New CPAP Machine or Mask

Price: The price range of a standard machine can range from $275.00 (yes, for a new one) to $849.00. From a therapy standpoint there may not be much clinical difference to warrant spending more on a CPAP unless you are looking for every option to be included. In regards to masks, we have seen expensive masks that didn’t perform well as far as leak, durability, and comfort and some “cheaper” masks that out performed in all categories. It really comes down to each individual when selecting a nasal mask or full face mask however MOST nasal pillow masks rank relatively evenly.

cpap weight loss

Waist lines are not the only thing getting smaller in the world of CPAP

Portability: There is major trend leaning to smaller and travel friendly therapy devices. Currently Transcend and Human Design offer very small (almost unbelievably small) units and more manufactures will follow that lead. Keep in mind that when you add the humidifier, these units double (at least) in size.

Comfort Features: Pressure relief is a growing staple in PAP technology; many manufacturers offer it and refer to it by different trade names however it is typically the same throughout. The pressure relief kicks in when you exhale against the EPAP pressure, dropping it sometimes by as much as 1.5 cm/H2O. In the industry it has been referred to as the “Poor Man’s Bi-Level” since bi-level devices are so much more costly. Bi-Level offers two different pressure settings, one on inhalation (IPAP) and one on exhalation (EPAP).

Warranty: 2 year is the most common standard warranty on therapy devices such as ResMed and Philips Respironics however Devilbiss, made in the United States, offers an industry best 5 year warranty.

Compliance Reporting: Many of the older models did not offer a full compliance reporting ( a download option to show use and effectiveness) however with an overwhelming number of transportation professionals mandated to undergo sleep apnea evaluations and proof of therapy outcomes, compliance reporting is becoming a standard feature of CPAP machines.

Keep Calm and CPAP On

So I guess from a marketing standpoint the best thing to say here would be advising you to be careful when using CPAP on a regular basis, those who do so may experience a healthy night’s sleep, frequently resulting in an increase in energy,  better mood, weight loss, lower blood pressure, etc , etc.

shop-cpap-machine-masks

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Is ResMed Discontinuing the Swift FX Nasal Pillow Mask?

Is the Swift FX CPAP Mask Going Away?

ResMed Swift FX Nasal Pillow Mask 61500

ResMed Swift FX Nasal Pillow Mask 61500

In recent weeks we have seen the launch of the AirFit P10 (ResMed 62900) and AirFit P10 for Her (ResMed 62910), a nasal pillow mask series released by ResMed. With much hype surrounding this new mask because of it’s similarity to the “All Time Great”, ResMed Swift FX and added features like 50% lighter and 50% quieter, is it possible the AirFit will dethrone the Swift FX? The simple answer is yes. Just as the Swift FX (ResMed 61500) and Swift FX for Her (ResMed 61540) dethroned the prior generations of ResMed nasal pillow mask Swift LT and Swift LT for Her. It should be noted that ResMed doesn’t always get it right though, most would claim the Mirage Swift II nasal pillow CPAP mask was a much better design than the Swift LT series that followed soon after.

ResMed Airfit P10 Nasal Pillow Mask 62900

ResMed Airfit P10 Nasal Pillow Mask 62900

So this begs the question; will ResMed discontinue production of the Swift FX series? Everyone can breathe a huge sigh of relief knowing that this would be highly unlikely. The Swift FX is an all time best rated selling product and no company in their right mind would ever stop selling that, as proved by the fact that the Mirage Swift II, a 6 year old style of mask, is still in production. ResMed has always been known throughout the sleep industry as a designer and manufacturer of the best quality CPAP masks on the market and they have always lead the way when it comes to nasal pillow masks. The Swift FX may be their greatest design yet but the Airfit plans on putting that to the true test; CPAP user compliance.

ResMed Airfit P10 Nasal Pillow Mask 62900

ResMed Airfit P10 Nasal Pillow Mask 62900

Moving right along, lets get to the big question everyone wants to know. Why should you try the Airfit P10 when the Swift FX series works so well for you? My personal opinion is to never switch masks once you have found the right one for you but for the sake of argument let’s point out some of the nifty marketing advertisement released by ResMed.

1.)    The mask is 50% lighter than the Swift FX series. Not that the Swift FX series is heavy so I’m not sure how much difference you may actually notice.

2.)    The AirFit is 50% quieter. This may be a huge benefit for users on a higher CPAP pressure or those using an Auto CPAP that has periods of high pressure output. Though you may not notice this sound difference, your bed partner may.

3.)    The soft wraps used on the previous styles of masks are now a part of the headgear.

Now all of that may not sound like a whole lot but to some it may be the difference between using CPAP and not using CPAP and that is the ultimate goal of all professionals in the sleep industry, providing positive tools to improve and increase CPAP compliance. I haven’t personally used this new mask yet so I do not have firsthand experience and like I said before; if it’s not broken don’t fix it. You may also be a user of another brand mask that needs and option because the mask you have used for years is or has been discontinued (i.e. Respironics Comfort Curve or ComfortLite), in which case I highly recommend this CPAP mask.

On something completely unrelated, I would like to point out “My Public Service Announcement”: 1800CPAP.com is one of the premier CPAP providers with a proven reputation of quality service and high standards and at times, other less desirable CPAP companies come into the marketplace and try to piggyback off the good name of 1800CPAP.com. Please be sure to pay attention to which advertisements you are clicking on when you see our ads on other sites. We ONLY operate as 1800CPAP.com and not as some of the other domains that use a variation of our name. I would like to publicly name these violators of trademark infringement however that would only bring focus to their company and not serve the better good of the sleep industry. Hopefully they have signed up for this blog and have reads these words and will heed our warnings.

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CPAP Machine Reviews and Comparison

CPAP Machine Reviews 2013-2014

Buyer’s Comparison Guide to CPAP & Auto CPAP Machines

Two years ago we brought you a CPAP education page that offered to compare all the different brands CPAP machines and Auto CPAP machines (APAP) and for new users it provided a great starting point when evaluating which CPAP machine to purchase. Well, 2013-2014 brings the new CPAP user and those looking for a replacement CPAP machine a whole new selection of positive airway pressure units that offer more features, lower prices and smaller platforms. We’ll take a look at the CPAP blowers that may be best suited for you and your wallet.

auto-adjusting-cpap-machines

The best of class are still available, although updated a bit with some new model features, are still on top such as ResMed, Philips Respironics and Fisher Paykel.  But coming on strong with new technology are brands such as Devilbiss, Transcend (a CPAP machine that needs a category of its own), ReSmart, Apex, and Breas. While some will stay loyal to their brand, others will find that the Affordable Care Act (referred to as Obamacare) will dictate what they will get with what they can afford.

Buying a new CPAP machine can be scary and a bit confusing regardless if you are a long time CPAP user or new to CPAP therapy. With so many different machines and options to choose from, even the long time user might need some help picking out the right CPAP machine.  If you need assistance understanding the information listed below in our CPAP machine review analysis, please feel free to contact our trained staff at 1-800-274-1366. Still not sure which machine you may need? Our independent and unbiased CPAP reviews may help you decide which CPAP machine is right for you.

Auto CPAP Machine Reviews

(APAP Auto Adjusting CPAP Pressure) Auto CPAP machines go by many different names such as APAP, AutoPAP, Auto CPAP and Auto Adjusting CPAP. These devices are CPAP machines that offer variable pressures that increase and decrease throughout sleep when apneas, hypopneas, snoring and flow limitation are detected. Most commonly prescribed for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and sleep hypopnea syndrome.  Every night of sleep can be different for sleep apnea sufferers; during different stages of sleep and in certain sleep positions like on your back, you may require more CPAP pressure to keep your airway open. Other occurrences such as use of alcohol, medication or altitude and season change may require more or less CPAP pressure. These models are most commonly ordered now and widely used versus the old traditional fixed pressure CPAP machines prescribed before this technology was accepted or used.

++Please note all CPAP models have self converting power supply for international use; however an international plug adaptor may be required.

ResMed S9 Autoset Auto Adjusting CPAP Machineresmeds9autosetwithh5ihumidifier

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: Offers expiratory pressure relief (EPR), making it easier to breathe against the pressure. Auto adjust mode and fixed pressure mode of operation. Full CPAP compliance reporting. Sleek design with a nice travel case. On screen info displays to you how you slept the night before. Available with cleanable water chamber and heated hose tubing for humidifier. Voted overall best Auto CPAP by 1800CPAP customers.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: It’s hard to make an argument about an Auto CPAP machine that is our all time best seller and rated by our customers as the best CPAP machine on the market. I guess one could argue that a negative about this unit would be  the higher price tag. You can get a run of the mill auto CPAP machine for a fairly low price but always be aware that you get what you pay for. The   customer reviews on this product are outstanding and this is the most recommended Auto CPAP machine recommended by the staff at 1800CPAP.com.

 

ResMed S9 Escape Auto Adjusting CPAP Machines9escapeautoh5iclimateline

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: EPR technology (expiratory pressure relief) makes it easier to breathe against the pressure. Portable unit makes it easy for travel. Same design and most features as the S9 AutoSet but without the higher price tag. Heated CPAP tubing option available.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: Nothing bad to say about this quality auto CPAP unit. It’s just as functional as the AutoSet (minus full reporting) and it has a lower price tag. The Escape Auto does have the bulky external power supply but other than that it is highly recommended.

 

Philips Respironics 60 Series REMstar Auto CPAP Machineprsystemoneremstar60seriescpapmachine

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: All new heated tube humidifier option puts this unit back on the same playing field as the ResMed and Fisher Paykel models. The most popularly prescribed CPAP brand by U.S. physicians, the Philips Respironics 50 and 60 series offer reliability, durability and comfort. CFLEX and AFLEX (pressure relief) come standard as well as full compliance reporting. Assembled in the U.S.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: The second most popular selling Auto CPAP machine, it’s difficult to find a bad thing to say about it. It is more of a box shaped unit so the travel case is not a sleek and streamlined as the S9 AutoSet. If you wish to   use the heated tube option it requires a separate humidifier and power supply   as opposed to other models where the same humidifier works with heated and non heated tubing.

 

3B RESmart Auto CPAP Machineresmartautocpapmachine

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: Customers rave about the low price point of this unit (about 50% less than the premium brands). Offers a pressure relief feature that makes it  easier to breathe against the higher pressures. Available with or without  heated humidifier.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: Lacks a heated tubing option, a necessity for people that require more humidification for therapy. Bulky design, however similar in weight and dimension to some of the top manufacturers.

 

Fisher and Paykel ICON Auto CPAP Machineiconplusauto

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: Offers a 2.5 year warranty that’s 6 months longer than the 2 top manufacturers. Built in power supply. SenseAwake technology reduces pressure when it detects your awake. Built in consumer products such as alarm clock and MP3 player.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: Confusing dial and icons may make it difficult for less tech savvy CPAP users to use. The built in humidifier makes you use it, so regardless if you use a humidifier or not, you are stuck with one built in on this model. Higher price tag versus other models makes this unit less attractive to purchase.

 

Devilbiss Auto Adjusting CPAP Machineintellipapseriescpap

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: Low price point for a brand considered to be reputable and premium. Offers a 5 year warranty compared to all others that are only 2 year. Devices are made in the USA. Humidifier sits below the device.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: Sale of device limited to U.S. only; prior policy allowed sales to all North America. Does not offer a heated CPAP tubing option that its top competitors offer. SmartLink accessory can be confusing to end users.

 

Breas iSleep 20i Auto CPAP MachineBreasiSleep20iAutoCPAPwithHumidifier_1

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: Comes with a 2 year manufacturer warranty. Offers a unique humidification design that is more upright and takes up less space on your night table. Backlit LED display allows you to navigate menu in the dark.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: Availability from manufacturer has harmed its selling power. It is higher priced than most comparable models. Heated humidifier comes packaged separately regardless if you order it with or without it. If you are willing   to wait on them to be in stock and you don’t mind paying a higher price, then  this is the model for you.

 

Transcend Auto CPAP Machinetranscendsleeptherapytravelcpapmachine

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: Without humidifier this Auto CPAP unit is by far the smallest device on the market. The auto technology has been highly anticipated. New EZEX pressure relief technology and humidifier option give the necessary comfort updates needed to be on a level playing field with the other big name suppliers.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: New product to the market so very little feedback of it use and  functionality available. Currently the heated humidifier is on back order, which should have been released when they released the new model series. A very important issue to note is that without the hose adapter  (included) this unit and all of their other models blow out a pressure that people cannot tolerate. Be sure the hose adapter is in place prior to use.

 

Apex XT Auto CPAP Machineapexxtautocpapmachine

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: Small platform makes this unit great for those that travel and need  something light-weight. With a small price tag many new users or users looking for a second unit are purchasing this model.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: Manufacturing has limited the release of this model and its humidification systems making it difficult for people to get this unit in a   timely fashion. Does not offer heated tubing option; however an external heated tube option can be purchased separately and used with this model.

Standard CPAP Machine Reviews

(Delivers One Set Therapy Pressure) CPAP, an acronym for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, is a respiratory therapy device most commonly prescribed for the treatment of OSA (obstructive sleep apnea). Standard CPAP machines generate one fixed pressure that is delivered throughout the night, meaning if you are prescribed CPAP of 12 cm/H2O, your CPAP will only produce that much pressure throughout the night. This excludes ramp pressure; all variations of standard CPAP and Auto CPAP machines have the function to ramp which is a setting that will “ramp up” from lowest pressure to therapy pressure over a given time frame (i.e. 45 minutes). This is a comfort setting that allows the user to fall asleep at a mild pressure and build up to therapy pressure. This should not be confused with auto adjusting CPAP since it only does it at the initiation of use. Please Note: All brands of CPAP masks are compatible with All brands of CPAP machines; meaning you can use a ResMed CPAP mask with a Philips Respironics CPAP machine as well as any other brand.

++Please note all CPAP models have self converting power supply for international use; however an international plug adaptor may be required.

ResMed S9 Escape Fixed Pressure CPAP Machineresmeds9autosetwithh5ihumidifier

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: The S9 series is a very quiet platform with a sleek design. Known as the premier brand of CPAP and Auto CPAP machine, the S9 Escape is the entry level model however it is loaded with every feature except full data reporting.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: This is the ResMed basic CPAP model platform however it has the same design and comfort features such as EPR (expiratory pressure relief) and optional ClimateLine (heated CPAP hose tubing). It does not offer AHI reporting or view, a compliance feature to view events during use.

 

ResMed S9 Elite Fixed Pressure CPAP Machineresmeds9autosetwithh5ihumidifier

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: An information button that details your sleep quality from the previous night and actually shows your apnea/hypopnea index (AHI). Sleek design and loaded with comfort features such as EPR and heated CPAP hose option.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: Very few negatives to say about this unit other than the higher price tag than most CPAP machines on the market. Few customers have noted that the EPR feature creates an increase in noise when breathing in and out. For new CPAP users this would not be too noticeable but for older users may notice it.

 

Philips Respironics 60 Series System One REMstar Plus DS260systemone60seriesds260tscpapwithcflex

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: Simplistic design makes this unit easy to navigate through the menu. Offered at a great price point for a premium brand and loaded with comfort features. New heated tube option puts Respironics on equal playing field with ResMed and Fisher and Paykel models.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: Larger CPAP unit with an external power supply. This model offers a semi limited compliance report. The auto on/auto off feature sometimes confuses users. The use of a heated tube feature requires a different humidifier model and power supply unlike the ResMed brand that uses one standard humidifier for both heated and non heated CPAP tubing.

 

Philips Respironics 60 Series System One REMstar PRO DS460systemone60seriesds260tscpapwithcflex

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: Unique auto-mode technology allows a 30 trial in auto adjusting mode   to establish best fixed pressure setting. For its price, this unit cannot be beat. Full AHI, leak and compliance reporting gives this device superior marks.

The Downside to This CPAP Model:The auto on/ auto off feature sometimes confuses users. The use of a heated tube feature requires a different humidifier model and power supply unlike the ResMed brand that uses one standard humidifier for both heated and non heated CPAP tubing.

 

Philips Respironics 60 Series System One SE remstar60seriessecpapwithstandardheatedhumidifierds220hs

The Upsides to This CPAP Model:Low price point for a basic CPAP machine. Offers option for standard   tube humidifier or heated tube humidifier.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: Limited compliance and data reporting. Bulky platform for a basic standard CPAP machine.

 

Fisher & Paykel ICON Novo Plusiconplusnovocpap

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: Built in internal heated humidifier reduces the size of this unit. Power supply is built in to the unit so there is not an additional power supply that needs to be connected. Alarm clock technology built in to this unit.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: A Dial knob for navigation of the settings can be confusing to the CPAP user. On screen icons may be difficult for the user to understand which function they are changing without using the owner’s manual. Built in power supply is underneath the humidifier so when left plugged in, it gives the impression that the humidifier is still on because of the heat it creates.

 

Fisher & Paykel ICON Premo Plusiconpluspremocpapmachine

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: Senseawake technology decreases the fixed CPAP pressure when it detects the user has awoke from sleep, allowing the user to fall back to sleep at a lower pressure. Sometimes referred to as “auto ramp”. It also offers a 2.5 year warranty. Full compliance reporting.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: A dial knob for navigation of the settings can be confusing to the CPAP user. On screen icons may be difficult for the user to understand which function they are changing without using the owner’s manual. Built in power supply is underneath the humidifier so when left plugged in, it gives the   impression that the humidifier is still on because of the heat it creates.

 

3B RESmart Standard CPAP Machineresmartcpapmachinewithhumidifier

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: Low priced CPAP machine platform. Basic CPAP machine that does the job. Offers pressure relief with RESlex™ and data reporting through iCode™.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: Not a very “flashy” machine. You get what you pay for, a bulkier unit. Lacks some of the trendy bells and whistles like heated tubing and such.

 

Devilbiss Standard CPAP Machineintellipapseriescpap

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: Offers the longest warranty on the market at 5 years! Has optional   humidifier that sets below the CPAP unit, which transportation professionals  have stated this is a blessing because it reduces the risk of it tipping over   and water damaging the unit.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: Very hard to find negative things to say about this unit other than the Devilbiss policy that limits the sale of their equipment to only the   United States. The data reporting program and software not as favorable as the Encore from Philips Respironics and RESscan from ResMed.

 

Devilbiss Standard Plus CPAP Machineintellipapseriescpap

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: Made in the USA. Full compliance and data reporting option. 5 year   warranty for replacement. Optional humidifier that sets below the CPAP unit reduces the risk of it tipping over and water damaging the unit. Small travel case makes it very portable.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: Pretty much the same cons as the standard CPAP machine, it’s hard to find negative things to say about this unit other than the Devilbiss policy that limits the sale of their equipment to only the United States. The data reporting program and software not as favorable as the Encore from Philips Respironics and RESscan from ResMed.

 

Breas iSleep 20+ CPAP MachineBreasiSleep20iAutoCPAPwithHumidifier_1

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: Everything listed in the highlights of the iSleep 20 with the addition of reporting features for a more detailed compliance report.

The Downside to This CPAP Model: No heated CPAP tube option. Their products always seem to be on back order. Breas offers a quality device, however it takes weeks to months to get them in stock.

 

Transcend Travel CPAP Machine  transcendbundlepack

The Upsides to This CPAP Model: Smallest CPAP on the market make this unit very portable and   convenient. Various options to use such as wearable on your head or placed on   the night stand with a docking station. Can also us a dry humidification system to assist with dryness.

The Downside to This CPAP Model:When not connected properly, the hose adapter (included with   purchase), the pressure will seem overwhelming and user believes the unit is   not functioning correctly. This is resolved by simply connecting by the hose   adapter. New humidifier option can make the unit “bulky” and the size of all   other CPAP units. Unit must be connected to software to change pressure   setting.

Please note the views and expressions outlined in this article do not represent statements or claims from the manufacturer and are solely opinions and data models collected from staff at 1800CPAP.com

MORE INFORMATION INCLUDING PRICES HERE

 

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Confessions of a Sleep Technologist

Confessions of a Sleep Technologist

“Laugh  and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.”
Anthony  Burgess

1.) We fully understand you are sleep deprived and in many cases you don’t even want to be at the sleep lab. We get it, your spouse, doctor or employer MADE you come in for this test but please don’t take your frustration out on us. Understand we stay up all night to insure that we get you the most accurate analysis and many of us are deprived of sleep ourselves just make sure you get a better night’s sleep. Rude behavior may just lead to extra paper tape in hairier areas to keep those wires in place and we’ll be sure to scrub those electrode spots vigorously with the swab and alcohol.

 

Blurred Lines?

Blurred Lines?

2.) Morning breath is the worst, especially if we come into your room in the morning to wake you up and take off the CPAP mask that is blowing out a crisp 14cm/H2O. While some of us will hold our breath and breathe through our nose, many of us put a little Vic’s Vapor Rub under our nose to combat your hypopnea halitosis.
3.) Ever wonder why we insist you are “early to bed; early to rise” when you come in the sleep lab? You normally don’t go to bed at 10:00pm and get up at 5:30 am so what gives? Well many of us work 12 hour shifts or even longer so that means we get to the sleep lab at 7pm to prepare all your paperwork and equipment and after staying up all night we just want to get you out of the sleep lab as early as possible in the morning and get home to our own beds. If some patients had it their way they would sleep until noon at the lab.
4.) You were instructed of this when you signed your paperwork and this was pointed out to you when you were shown to your room. There is a camera and microphone in your room and there are people on the other side of that camera and microphone that are subjected to some of the crazy cell phone conversations or “romantic” gestures of good-bye when your spouse is leaving.
5.) Placebo effects can be amazing. We understand that pressure of 4cm/h2O is blowing your face off (insert eye roll here); let me just go back to the lab and fix that for you (change to bi-level 4 over4). “How’s that Mr. Smith? Oh, much better, well good then. We’ll just start you off there”. Guess what we do to Mr. Smith as soon as he falls asleep? Back to 4cm/H2O.
6.) If you’re a repeat offender of the cancellation/no-show for your previous appointments and finally decide to show up because someone insisted that you finally get this over with; don’t be surprised when you end up in room 6 that’s right next to the general public restroom, has a mattress as firm as plywood, unstable AC/heat, and a pulse oximeter that requires a technician to come in every hour to shut off the alarm. Sleep tight.
7.) Somniloquy. Yes, we pay extra hard attention to listen to what you are babbling about in your sleep. Who wouldn’t?
8.) All of those wires hooked up to you are not necessary. In most cases some of the electrodes are redundant so that if one comes off in the middle of the night we can just use the other channel for the test results which saves us time and frustration of running in and out of your room all night.
9.) Many of us do not follow the same sleep health habits we advise you on during your visit with us. I’m not really sure why that is; it’s similar to the percent of respiratory therapists that smoke.
10.) Though we applaud you for your lack of vanity and shyness when it comes to sleep attire you make it very uncomfortable for us to attach sensors, electrodes, and belts when you are in nothing but your tighty-whities.

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7 Common Problems for First Time CPAP Users

7 Common CPAP Problems Users Face

In 2004 I was working CPAP consultations at our sleep lab when a little old couple walked in for their follow up appointment. I immediately remembered them from their nights at the sleep lab because they reminded me of my grandparents and the way “Mrs. Smith” took care of “Mr. Smith”.  It had been a couple of weeks since they had been here and I fully expected to see the older man more alive and energetic since he began using his CPAP machine. I was quite disappointed when I approached them sitting there in the waiting room and “Mr.Smith” was fast asleep with his head slumped down to the side.

Common CPAP Problems

Frustrated with Your CPAP Therapy?

I inquired to “Mrs. Smith” about “Mr. Smith’s” progress and whether or not he been using the CPAP machine. She assured me that he sleeps with the machine every night and in fact she puts the CPAP mask on him and gets him all situated before bed. About that time our doctor had called them into his office but it wasn’t long until they were brought back to see me. Upon looking at “Mr. Smith” I noticed he had the most blood shot eyes I had ever seen and looked like a possessed character from a horror movie.

“Mr. Smith” didn’t speak much, mostly just nods of his head to indicate yes or no and “Mrs. Smith” was the primary interpreter. I guess after 58 years of marriage you can tell just about anything from a person just by body mannerisms. “Mrs. Smith” indicated to me that no matter how tight she strapped his CPAP mask headgear she just couldn’t keep it from leaking into his eyes. This was quite confusing because as the primary sleep technician the night of his study I knew the Ultra Mirage mask we used had very minimal leak. Perplexed, I asked “Mrs. Smith” to go through the fitting routine on Mr. Smith and it became obvious very quickly what the problem was. She was putting the mask on him upside down, meaning the forehead support was resting on his chin and the wide part of the nasal cushion was up around the bridge of his forehead.

Ah, this explains the irritation to his eyes and after I informed “Mrs. Smith” what the problem was she began to cry. She blamed herself for causing this pain to her husband and told me that they were just going to give up hope of using CPAP all together. Long story short, after using the mask properly for 2 more weeks they came back in for another CPAP follow up and all was well. The positive outcomes we had told them to expect when they began using CPAP was starting to take effect and “Mr. Smith” was showing tremendous improvement. I haven’t been working for that sleep lab in quite some time now but I like to think that we made a difference in the sleep health of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” and they have been able to enjoy many more years together.

A lot of people struggle with using CPAP and it can be frustrating as you try to get used to it, but it’s key that you make every effort to adhere to treatment. CPAP therapy is essential to avoiding sleep disordered breathing events that lead to complications such as heart problems, hypertension, diabetes and daytime fatigue. Listed below are the most common CPAP problems people have during the initial use; with time and patience, CPAP can positively affect your quality of life and health.

1. CPAP Air Pressure Feels Too High or Too Low

Many first time users complain that air pressure is the root cause of discontinuing use. There are many different solutions to help you overcome these feeling.

Pressure Too High: You may be able to fall asleep and adjust to CPAP pressure by using a “ramp” feature on the CPAP machine. CPAP Ramp allows you to start with lower air pressure than your therapy pressure, followed by an automatic, gradual increase in the pressure to your prescribed setting as you fall asleep.  Most ramp settings will allow you to start as low as 4cm/H20 (comparable to breathing room air) and allows up to 45 minutes to build up to therapy pressure. Other options are Bi-Level (BiPAP) devices that have 2 separate pressures, one for inhalation and the other for exhalation. Unlike CPAP, one constant pressure, Bi-level drops to a lower, more tolerable pressure when you exhale.

Another tip or secret could be the use of a full face mask which allows you to breathe through both nose and mouth instead of one concentrated breathing cycle through your nose only. Certain manufactures include pressure relief settings of their CPAP machines such as EPR (ResMed) and CFlex/AFlex (Philips Respironics). Consider speaking with your physician about the use of an Auto adjusting CPAP machine if your pressure problems persist.

Pressure Too Low: Feel like you’re not getting enough air from your CPAP machine? If this is on the initial use of starting CPAP therapy you may want to turn your “Ramp” feature off and start from your higher prescribed therapy pressure or consult with your physician about raising your starting ramp pressure. Be sure to check for high mask leak or to be sure air is not escaping through open oxygen ports on your mask. If this is something you are noticing after weeks or months of use please keep in mind that your body is adjust and has acclimated to starting pressure of CPAP but you are still receiving the prescribed therapy pressure.

 2. The CPAP Mask You Are Using Just Isn’t For You

There is a reason there are so many different styles of CPAP masks on the market. Subtle variations in our face shape and size make it uncomfortable or impossible to wear certain masks. CPAP mask irritation is the number one reason people declare when discontinuing use of CPAP therapy. Be sure to work closely with your doctor and sleep technicians the night of your CPAP titration to make sure you have a CPAP mask that suits your needs and fits you. As always, we recommend that you use the mask fitting guides provided on our site or if you are unsure about the correct size, purchase the “fit packs”, they include all size cushions to insure proper mask fit.

  • Do I Have the Style of CPAP Mask that is Right for Me? There are many different types and styles of CPAP masks available on the market. Mask style are available in classifications such as Full Face, Nasal, Nasal Pillow, and Oral.  Full Face CPAP masks cover your mouth AND nose, allowing you to breathe through both. These may make some people feel claustrophobic, but they work well at providing a stable fit if you move around a lot in your sleep. Other masks feature nasal pillows that fit
    under your nose and straps that cover less of your face. These can feel less cumbersome. And they may work well if you wear glasses or read with the mask on, because some nasal pillow systems obstruct vision less than do full face masks. However, they may not work if you move around a lot in your sleep or sleep on your side.
  • Do I Have the Correct Size CPAP Mask for Me? Many CPAP and Bi-PAP masks are available in different size options. It is imperative that the correct size be used to establish comfort and effectiveness, a mask that is incorrectly sized will most likely result in insufficient airway pressure and irritation. Also, keep in mind that if you are switching masks made from one CPAP manufacturer to another that a certain size in one mask doesn’t mean you’ll be the same size in the other.

3. Adjusting to the Use of a CPAP or BiPAP Machine

Listen, most of us, besides Bane from the Batman series, have lived our entire lives without sleeping with something on our face. This is a foreign feeling that will take some getting used to and adjusting during the initial days or week of using it may require practice. So how do you “practice” wearing CPAP? By wearing just the CPAP mask for short periods of time while you’re awake, for example while watching television or  try wearing the mask and hose with the air pressure on, still during the daytime, while you’re awake. Then later on that night once you’re ready for bed this should help alleviate any type of anxious feelings that would otherwise keep you laying awake and thinking about what is on your face.

Keep in mind that inconsistent and sporadic use of CPAP therapy will delay getting used to it and the positive outcomes that come with consistent use of CPAP therapy. Simply put, if you use CPAP just here and there you are not getting the full benefit and for lack of a better term, just sleeping with a mask on your face. If you need to, slowly build up from a few hours per night to the point where you can sleep the entire night with it.

4. Dryness or Nasal Irritation

Most CPAP devices are prescribed to be used with heated humidification. This is a separate heating element that warms water contained in a chamber to create moisture in the air that is being passed through the machine and CPAP tubing. The humidity setting is adjustable and can be raised if you notice dryness or irritation. For those with more humidity needs, consider using a heated CPAP hose tubing (if your machine allows this).  Speak to your physician, he or she may prescribe a nasal steroid spray if your dryness doesn’t respond to heated humidity. It’s also important that your mask fit well. A leaky mask can dry out your nose.

5. Claustrophobic Sensations

Wearing something on our face can make anyone claustrophobic. Practice by first just holding the CPAP mask up to your face without any of the other parts. Once comfortable with that, try wearing the CPAP mask with the headgear straps attached. Next, try holding on the mask and hose, without the straps, with the hose attached to the CPAP machine at a low pressure setting (turn the ramp feature on). And, finally, wear the mask with the straps and with the air pressure machine turned on while awake. After you’re comfortable with that, try sleeping with it on. You may want to consider less invasive masks such as nasal pillows or light-weight nasal CPAP masks.

6. Mask Leaks and Facial Irritation

A leaky or improperly sized CPAP mask can mean the difference between CPAP compliance and non compliance. If you’re not getting the full amount of air pressure needed to provide that splint in the airway you may still be having apneas and not aware of it.  Incorrect CPAP mask size can also cause skin irritation and release air into your eyes, causing them to become dry or teary. Adjusting or over tightening the CPAP mask headgear can make it worse and prevent you from being able to fall asleep along with mask strap marks that dig into your skin.  Be sure to select a mask that does not leak around the eyes and doesn’t require over tightening achieving a proper seal. You may go through four or five masks before you find the right one for you, and by right we mean comfortable with no leak issues.

Keep in mind that masks that cover more areas of the face such as full face masks are more prone to higher leaks. Nasal pillows traditionally have the lowest leak rate as well have been noted to be the most lightweight and comfortable to wear, however if you are a mouth breather or have a deviated septum a full face mask may be the only effective mask for you.

7. I Wake Up In the Middle of the Night and My CPAP Mask is off

Relax; this is quite common for new CPAP users. I’m a CPAP user myself and occasionally I will wake up to the sound of air blowing my mask around on the bedroom floor. It’s normal to sometimes wake up to find you’ve removed the mask in your sleep. Congestion or high CPAP pressures may cause this and in cases like mine where I wear a nasal pillow mask, the lightweight mask itself makes it easier for me to “accidentally” pull it off during the night. If you toss and turn a lot in your sleep, you may find that a full face CPAP mask will stay on your face more securely.

Shop our Wide Selection of CPAP Comfort Items and Accessories for Better Therapy Outcomes!

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13 Random Sleep Facts You Just Need to Know

Odd Sleep Facts

fun-facts-about-sleep

1.) What Do My Dreams Mean? There’s not a clear cut answer and some experts argue that we dream to fix experiences in long-term memory, meaning we dream about things in our life worth remembering. Others argue the point that we dream about things worth forgetting – to eliminate overlapping memories that would otherwise clog up our brains. Like our brains are a computer and we are defragging the hard drive.

2.) Honey, It’s Your Turn. You almost always get the same answer when asking new parents how things are going. A new baby in the house, on average, results in 400-750 hours lost sleep for parents in the first year; that’s up to 2 hours of less sleep per night!

3.) In Your Dreams Buddy! In normal healthy sleep, REM sleep occurs periodically throughout the night totaling about 2 hours, usually starting about 90 minutes after you fall asleep.

4.) Random Animal Fact. Sorry, had to throw one in here. Elephants sleep standing up during non-REM sleep, but lie down during REM sleep.

5.) Out Like a Light. Sleep onset (falling asleep) in less than five minutes is an indicator that you are sleep deprived. Ideally it should take between 5-15 minutes to achieve sleep, just enough tiredness to sleep soundly, but not so exhausted you feel sleepy by day.

6.) Turn Out The Lights; The Party is Over. Seventeen hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to a blood alcohol-level of 0.05%.

7.) Hey, Didn’t Kramer Have a Mental Alarm Clock?  The “mental alarm clock” which enables some people to wake up more or less when they want to is caused by a burst of the stress hormone adrenocorticotropin. Researchers state this is a reflection of unconscious anticipation of the stress of waking up.

8.) Bottoms Up! For every ounce of alcohol (spirits), REM sleep is delayed by 1 hour. A night on the “good stuff” will help you fall asleep but it will be a lighter sleep without much dreams.

9.) Rest Up for That Big Party. After five nights of partial sleep deprivation, three drinks will have the same effect on your body as six would when you’ve slept enough.

10.) Hey Duck Dynasty Fans. Did you know ducks use a technique to avoid predator attacks and are able to balance the need for sleep and survival, keeping one half of their brain awake while the other half goes into sleep mode.

11.) Come On Gentlemen; She Deserves It. Some studies suggest women need up to an extra hour of sleep per night compared to men, and not getting it may be one reason women are much more susceptible to depression than men.

12.) Did You Just Give Me The Finger? Just as some people talk in their sleep, sign language speakers have been known to sign in their sleep.

13.) Log Off Now! Experts say one of the most common sleep distractions we have today is the accessibility of the internet 24 hours a day. So Either Go Shop at 1800CPAP.COM or go to bed.

Written By: Jason Smith, RPSGT

7/30/13

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Quattro Air Full Face Mask by ResMed Making Waves

ResMed Quattro Air: Have We Crowned a New Champion For Best CPAP Mask?

I spend a lot of time on the sleep tech Facebook pages trying to stay “in the loop” with what sleep techs are facing these days (besides a decline in studies due to home sleep testing). What I have noticed is there seems to be ongoing posts where sleep techs become aggravated with patients that come in for a CPAP titration and request to start off with a full face mask. This has always been a head scratcher for me as to why they get upset at this request since the majority of people that come back for a CPAP titration are less than thrilled about the idea of wearing/using CPAP or BiPAP to begin with. So why not start them off with something they would like to use? Remember, even the best sleep tech can only lead a horse to CPAP, not make him drink…err, something like that; you get the point. Compliance is goal, let’s not forget this.

Listen, I am a sleep technician, I am pro-sleep tech and I have been in all these situations with patients and I too had that “Go-To Mask” that I preferred to use on patients because I knew it had a great seal, was comfortable to wear and would make my titration solid. Cue in the patient that disagreed with my choice of selection or said this mask is suffocating them; now at this point the best course of action I found was putting the patient in the driver seat to at least get the car started and out of the garage so to speak. We all know that at some point in the night the odds are pretty good we may be swapping out the mask anyways for something more therapeutically beneficial. You are probably wondering what this has to do with the title of this blog but I will get to that soon enough. Bottom line is that when a patient wants to become actively involved and help you with their therapy consider their opinion because once they leave the sleep lab the ongoing therapy will be in their hands regardless.

New Full Face CPAP Mask: Quattro Air by ResMed

New Full Face CPAP Mask: Quattro Air by ResMed

Introducing what may be the best full face CPAP mask since the original Mirage Quattro, the Quattro Air is getting rave reviews by sleep techs, sleep doctors, and most importantly CPAP users. Weighing in at 3.3 ounces and much more comfortable to wear than the Quattro FX. Gone are the headgear clips that were used on the Mirage Quattro and Quattro FX. This mask also offers the butterfly forehead support to stabilize the mask, a component that missing from the Quattro FX which tended to slide up during the course of the night. Our sleep lab feedback has been great seal, quiet, little leak, and little CPAP mask facial irritation. We encourage you to try this on your patients, especially those coming back in for re-evaluations that may be using another brand or previous Quattro version.

The Quattro Air for Her Full Face CPAP Mask is set to be released on July 15th.

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Top Rated CPAP Masks on The Market

Best and Top Rated CPAP Masks on the Market.

Jason Smith, RPSGT

6/17/2013

top-rated-cpap-masks-2013Halfway through 2013 we take a look at current CPAP products that are considered to be top rated. A big question has always been how do we determine what is top rated.  Do we sleep with every mask that’s out there? Not quite, but Mark comes pretty close to being the one that has tried all the masks (Pilairo and Swift II are his favorites by the way). The top rated status is a combination of the amount sold within a timeframe, price point, and of course customer feedback.

Listed below we have compiled a list of CPAP masks by category and a brief description of the pros and cons of these top rated products? You may be asking yourself how can something be top rated and have a con to it, well it not a perfect world and the perfect  CPAP mask that works for everyone hasn’t been created yet (please note the sarcasm since we often state that all faces are not created equal thus not one single CPAP mask will work for everyone), why do you think we carry so many different options.  Anyways, enjoy the reading!

 

Top Rated Nasal Pillow CPAP Masks of 2013

swiftfxnasalpillowmaskonmanResMed Swift FX and Swift FX for Her (61500 and 61540)–Still our all time best selling nasal pillow CPAP mask, the Swift FX series has seen added improvements with the option to add the Bella headgear (Swift FX Bella).  Light-weight and available with multiple pillow size options, the Swift FX is the mask recommend most, especially for new CPAP users. I personally use this mask and haven’t found one that I like better ( I should note the disclaimer here that just because I like the CPAP mask and it works great for me does not mean it will do the same for you).

pilairowith30dayguarantee_1 Fisher and Paykel Pilairo (400420A)-This nasal pillow CPAP mask offers minimal contact and a one of a kind one strap/one size fits all headgear. The 30 money back guarantee makes this mask a great option to try and if you didn’t like simply return it for a store credit. There was a flaw to this mask that had been noticed with many of our early customers that purchased it, but we believe Fisher and Paykel has fixed it since (though it was never formally acknowledged) the Pilairo cushion would tear slightly in the same spot on the mask frame.  Other than a minor cushion problem, this one size fits most single headgear strap mask is a great option from our customer feedback groups.

tappapnasalpillowmaskwithstabilitymouthpieceTap PAP Nasal Pillow Mask (PAP-NP-1000)-This mask is a very unique design with and without headgear options. A stability mouthpiece holds the mask in place and the custom fitting provides a secure fit. Tap PAP offers a 30 Day money back guarantee which will provide you the comfort of knowing you can return the mask within 30 days if it does not work out. This mask is very new to the market so the jury is still out on many different questions and ratings such as the average life span of the stability mouthpiece or durability of the cushions and headgear.

respironicsGoLifenasalpillowcpapmaskformen_1Philips Respironics GoLife Series for Men and for Women (1073114)– The GoLife series doesn’t go above and beyond when it comes to design or comfort but because of the popularity of Philips Respironics as a brand there are a still a significant amount of physicians that prescribe it and customers loyal to the brand. The only difference with the “For Men” and “For Women” are the same marketing angles that ResMed uses; a small set of pillow cushions that are included with the nasal pillow kit and different colored headgear options.

willownasalpillowcpapmaskwithheadgear3B Willow Nasal Pillow Mask (W1001)-A great affordable nasal pillow mask option with a design very similar to the ReMed Mirage Swift II. At an average cost $30.00 less than the Swift II, could you really tell a difference? This CPAP mask is extremely affordable and has gotten many positive reviews from our current customers; though I must admit I haven’t tried it yet but I was always a huge fan of the ResMed Mirage Swift II.

Top Rated Full Face CPAP Masks of 2013

ResMedMirageQuattroFullFaceCPAPMaskwithHeadgearResMed Mirage Quattro (61202)-The original Quattro full face mask has been the gold standard of full face CPAP masks. ResMed’s updated version with the Quattro FX series of For Him and For Her has not seen as many positive reviews as the original Mirage Quattro and one can only speculate that the newest Quattro Air Full Face mask is an attempt to phase out the less than popular Quattro FX. Hopefully ResMed continues to produce the original Mirage Quattro mask because this classic is a sure fit for comfort and effectiveness for those that must sport the full Face Mask.

amarafullfacefrontviewPhilips Respironics Amara (1090203)– Respironics has a ton of Full Face CPAP mask options and it’s hard to say if they just like having that many options available or if all other designs just didn’t cut the mustard. You can still get the the ComfortFull 2, the FitLife, the FullLife, and now the Amara (we’ll leave the ComfortGel Blue Full off this list since it comes in at #3 of the Top Rated Full Face masks list).  Let’s hope the Amara becomes the Mirage Quattro of the Respironics brand. Price point and heavy physician prescribing help the Amara make the list of Top Rated Full Face CPAP Mask however I believe customer feedback on this product is going to show it to be Full Face mask of the future for Philips Respironics.

HHS_0212_ComfortGelBlueFullHeadFront_CKHiLgPhilips Respironics ComfortGel Blue Full (1081801)– The Comfort Gel series of nasal and Full Face has always been top selling products, in fact the Comfort Gel nasal may be the all-time most sold/prescribed CPAP mask. So in 2012 Philips Respironics introduced the new and improved Comfort Gel Blue series of nasal and full face CPAP masks and the improvement to the design have taken a great product and made it better. Customer reviews and sales records indicate this top choice is here to stay and I’m guess that is why Respironics kept it around instead of discontinuing. Most new users are intrigued by its blue cushion that has an appearance that “it just looks comfortable” however all of the masks use the same silicone materials.

Top Rated Nasal CPAP Masks of 2013

resmedmiragefxnasalcpapmask1ResMed Mirage FX and Mirage FX for Her (62103). Lightweight frames with butterfly head support means you hardly know it’s there.  In my opinion, ResMed can begin to phase out the Ultra Mirage, Mirage Micro, Activa LT, Mirage Activa, Mirage SoftGel, and any other standard nasal style mask that really has no advantage over the Mirage FX. Available in sizes small, standard, and wide.

wispnasalcpapmaskbyrespironicsPhilips Respironics Wisp Nasal CPAP Mask (1094050)– Kris, our warehouse manager states that his fiancé swears by this mask for all of her titrations (his fiancé is a registered sleep technologist…shout out to all of our RPSGTs out there) Anyways, the Wisp is certainly a unique mask with it’s clear and fabric frames that somehow look like a hybrid between a nasal pillow mask and a nasal mask. It’s 2013 release has been well received and the fit pack offers multiple cushions sizes to allow a perfect fit, a great feature when buying a new CPAP mask online and unsure of your size.

respironicscomfortgelbluecpapmask_1Philips Respironics ComfortGel Nasal (Original and ComfortGel Blue) – This mask has simply made the list because it holds majority share of most prescribed and  dispensed
nasal CPAP mask and most people currently on it will tend to stick with it and re-order. It also helps that it has a low price point for a premium CPAP mask. With it’s success, we expect the Respironics Comfort Gel nasal will be around for many more years regardless if there are better masks than it on the market. We should note that some users of the original ComfortGel mask are not happy with the changes that came with the ComfortGel Blue and thus have moved on to different styles and noted their feedback as being the “gel” just just feel or fit the same.

 

New CPAP Products for 2013

Philips Respironics Wisp Nasal Mask– a new nasal/nasal pillow hybrid mask available in fabric and silicone frames. Currently available for purchase.

ResMed Quattro Air Full Face Mask– a new and improved version of the original Mirage Quattro, currently available for purchase.

ResMed Swift Nano– A nasal style CPAP mask that incorporates the headgear of a Swift FX nasal pillow mask.

Devilbiss Innova with AirGel Nasal Mask-Lighweight gel style mask by Devilbiss, now available for purchase.

TapPAP Nasal Pillow Mask– a nasal pillow mask that can be worn without headgear or with headgear; uses a stability mouthpiece similar to a bite guard to keep the pillows in place; now available for purchase.

Fisher and Paykel Eson– a nasal style CPAP mask, now available for purchase.

Staff Favorites

Jason Smith– ResMed Swift FX, because it so light and comfortable to wear!

Jason Crowe-Mirage Liberty, just because.

Mark Hixson-Fisher and Paykel Pilairo, comfort and fit

Kris – Fisher and Paykel Pilairo, because it was the most comfortable mask he wore.

Stephanie-SleepWeaver Elan, because it comes in animal print color options .

Jessica– Pilairo, just seems to be a great mask.

Brendan-Swift FX, because it is the easiest to ship!

Holly– ResMed Swift FX, because I’ve had great success as a sleep technician with it.

Jamie– Still waiting to figure it out, not sure

Seth-Mirage FX, because I’m new and it’s the only one I know.

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Home Sleep Apnea Testing: A Positive Alternative for OSA Diagnosis and CPAP Compliance?

Home sleep apnea testing market continues to grow as more and more insurance companies decline reimbursement for in-lab diagnostic polysomnograms. This is not recent news and it doesn’t take much more than common sense to know that the average person that thinks they may have sleep apnea or  been told they have sleep apnea is looking for the most cost effective way of diagnosing and treating it. Does the average obstructive sleep apnea sufferer udergoing cosnultation understand they have options other than the traditional in-lab sleep study?

Home Sleep Study Testing Kit

As Shown: ApneaLink Home Sleep Apnea Test Kit

 

I was recently contacted by a sleep physician that made it a point to tell me he refers many customers to our site for CPAP supplies but will not be doing so in the future because of the wording we use to describe our home sleep testing program. Was this declaration driven by a fear that the growing market of home sleep testing programs is causing a financial threat to his practice? Was this physician really going to hold back information that can save his patients hundreds of dollars a year on their CPAP supplies?  Some, and let me stress the descriptive word SOME sleep professionals are in a defensive mode of what they believe is protecting their field (and their wallets) rather than embracing a program they can add to their current services and better all of sleep medicine.

Before I get into a rant about home sleep testing, I do want to point out something to the average customer looking to purchase a home sleep test. Do your home work on the company you are using for your home sleep apnea program. This is a growing business that many people are getting into (good and bad) and a disclaimer should be stated that the right personnel should be conducting these test for accuracy and reliability. Find out who the board certified sleep physician interpreting the results will be. Find out how the test is scored; is it scored manually by a certified technologist or auto scored by a computer. Auto scoring does not recognize artifact as well as a certified sleep technologist can and thus if not properly detected could lead to false negatives or false positives. Always find out how long a practice has been doing home sleep testing; a dentist that just added them to their practice last week may not be the best option for you.

 

I have been a sleep medicine professional for 12+ years and participated in many meetings where the primary emphasis was how we were going to thwart the efforts of home sleep testing programs because they posed a threat to our bottom line. As a registered polysomnographic technologist I have always been torn between two constant arguments I have seen in sleep medicine. The first is the accuracy and reliability of a home sleep apnea test versus an in-lab diagnostic test and the second being the fixed pressure CPAP machines versus auto adjusting CPAP machines. The best advice I can offer is have both programs as a service to your practice and advise your patients of the method that is most likely going to lead to better therapy, lower cost and long term compliance.

Yes, certain some patients NEED the in-labs study for the best possible diagnosis and treatment, especially those with co-morbid conditions but if they cannot afford the in-lab route, a home sleep test SHOULD be offered.  These patients are being treated clinically, not for research purposes, an AHI of 32 and AHI of 41 are clinically the same (severe OSA) and the recommendation of treatment will be the same (PAP). The average run-of-the-mill OSA sufferer can be diagnosed with an HST and treated with APAP (auto-adjusting positive airway pressure). I can already see the steam blowing out of every RPSGT ears as they read this, and trust me I have heard all the arguments but the truth of the matter is treatment and long term compliance are the common goals.

What’s the old saying, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink? You can consult a patient to have an in-lab sleep study and a titration but that doesn’t mean they are going to show up for the appointment. Do you know where you lose them at? You lose them when the billing staff contacts them regarding the costs of these tests or they contact their insurance company to find out what the coverage and billable rate is. Does your practice follow up with them and offer the home sleep testing route or does that patient go into that huge pile of charts that are labeled “People who have had consults but have not tested”?

Let’s face it, an in-lab sleep test can be a real pain in the butt for some patients; think about sleeping in a foreign environment with 22 wires/cables hooked up to you and people watching you sleep all night through a video camera. Now think about having only 3 wires/cables hooked up to you, sleeping in your own bed and doing your own routine. Which sound more appealing? How many people that go through the first night of diagnostic actually come back for a second night titration just to sleep like that all over again? Doesn’t a second night at home with an auto-adjusting CPAP machine in your own bed sound like an option the will result in better compliance?

In the lab I worked for we took great pride in our titration abilities and any sleep technologist worth their salt knows the goal is eliminate disordered breathing events through supine REM (the position and stage of sleep a person is prone to be most severe). We hit that mark like Bruce Willis drilling to 800feet in Armageddon and left the sleep lab every morning feeling like we had defeated sleep apnea one patient at a time. Unfortunatley a common scenerio is when they left that morning with their CPAP machine  and tried to sleep with it that nigh they found they could not tolerate it. What’s the next logical step if you are a patient with sleep apnea knowing you need to sleep with CPAP but cant because the pressure feels like it’s blowing you away? Call the sleep doctor.

The sleep doctor would get them back in for a follow up consult and reduce their pressure to lower level that the patient could tolerate and reschedule a follow up appointment to gradually raise them back up. Sleep techs sometimes just do not understand the fine line between clinically treated and compliant because they are too focused on accomplishing the mission at hand. It’s a career lesson to understand that person is still benefiting from lesser CPAP pressure than no CPAP pressure at all and even though you know that person needs 11cm/H2O to alleviate apneas, they are better off with a mild case of sleep apnea than a severe case. The best question is how would they have felt if they left that morning with an Auto Adjusting CPAP machine with a set range that encourages compliance and less follow up visits to the doctor?

Posted in Auto Adjusting CPAP Machines, Home Sleep Apnea Testing Services, Sleep Apnea News, Sleep Clinic Technologists | Comments Off on Home Sleep Apnea Testing: A Positive Alternative for OSA Diagnosis and CPAP Compliance?

Differences Between CPAP, Auto CPAP, and BiPAP Machines

I have found myself writing a lot of blogs that cater to people that have already been diagnosed and treated for sleep apnea which really isn’t fair to the greater percentage of the population that are unaware they even have sleep apnea (80-85% still remain undiagnosed).  For most people it’s not too hard to identify that they suffer from sleep apnea, just asked their spouse or anyone that has shared any area where they may have slept (i.e. camping, hotel room, the state of Ohio, etc).  Bless these people that have put up with your snoring night after night and just when they think you have stopped snoring and they can get some rest, they realize you aren’t breathing.  So, obviously the next step is to get tested for sleep apnea, either through a home sleep test or an in-lab polysomnogram. The results are in and the proof is in black and white: you spend more time during the night NOT breathing than you do breathing. Next step is treatment, right? But which device is right for you? Read the information below to educate yourself and become more involved in your own treatment.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Who can put a price on a good night’s sleep?

Which CPAP Machine is Right for Me?

 

CPAP is the most commonly prescribed and proven treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP therapy is sometimes a broad reference to the therapy for treatment of sleep apnea, hypopnea, Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS), flow limitation, and snoring; however there are many different devices that fall in to the positive airway pressure (PAP) family. Listed below are descriptions of the different therapy devices, their target market and a description about therapy delivery.

 

CPAP Machines: Fixed Pressure CPAP Machines, Standard CPAP Machines

Standard or Fixed Pressure CPAP Machines have been the long standing staple and recommended treatment for sleep apnea for many years. A fixed pressure CPAP machine delivers pressurized air via a CPAP mask (see: Nasal Pillow CPAP Mask, Full Face CPAP Mask, Nasal CPAP Mask) and that pressurized air provides a pneumatic splint in the airway that keeps it from collapsing during sleep. The pressure measurements are delivered in a range of 4cm/H2O to 20cm/H20, however with a standard or fixed pressure CPAP machine it will only generate 1 specific setting throughout the entire night (excluding ramp time). An example of a fixed pressure CPAP machine would be 12cm/H2O, and that means once the machine has ramped up it will continue to blow out 12cm/H2O the entire course of the night.

People sometimes confuse standard or fixed pressure CPAP with Auto CPAP because their machine comes with a ramp mode feature. However these 2 machines differ greatly in therapy delivery and ramp mode is simply a comfort feature that allows the user to fall asleep on a lower pressure while the machine “ramps up” to the fixed pressure setting, usually over a 20 minute period. While standard or fixed pressure CPAP is the most commonly prescribed device, many users are gravitating to Auto CPAP machines (see more information below).

Examples of Standard or Fixed Pressure CPAP Machines: Philips Respironics System One REMstar  Plus DS260HS and REMstar Pro DS460HS, ResMed S9 Elite or S9 Escape, Fisher and Paykel ICON Novo and Premo, Devilbiss IntelliPAP Standard, and Transcend Travel CPAP Machine.

 

Auto CPAP Machines: Auto Adjusting CPAP Machines, Auto CPAP, Auto Titrating CPAP Machines

Auto CPAP machines are similar to standard CPAP machines in which a single pressure setting is delivered, however this pressure setting can automatically adjust over the night when the machine detects you need more pressure to stabilize the airway. The big question that always comes up is why would you need more pressure? The answer is easy, during the course of the night we enter different stages of sleep and some of those stages are deeper and relax the muscles more, especially those that support the airway. There are also certain positions of sleep that make us more prone to sleep apnea events, like sleeping on your back versus sleeping on your side.

Auto CPAP machines operate on a range of 4cm/H2O to 20cm/H2O and will adjust up and down during the course of the night. Auto CPAP machines can also be programmed to standard or fixed pressure CPAP mode, this is beneficial because your treating physician can determine your compliance and AHI (apnea hypopnea index) between the 2 therapy treatments. Auto CPAP machine can also have the range adjusted and what that means is a minimum pressure can be set as well as a maximum, so if you doctor wants you to stay in a range of 6cm/H2O to 12cm/H2O, the machine is not going to go outside of that range.

Many customers that call in to speak with our technical staff often asks why anyone would  choose a standard CPAP machine over an Auto CPAP machine and the answer really comes down to what your physician feel comfortable with prescribing. For those that do not like to go back to the sleep lab every 1-2 years for a pressure adjustment, this is great because the machine will detect the need for more or less pressure as needed.

Examples of Auto Adjusting CPAP Machines: ResMed S9 Autoset and Escape Auto, Philips Respironics System One REMstar Auto DS560HS, Fisher and Paykel ICON Auto , Devilbiss IntelliPAP Auto, RESmart Auto

 

Bi-Level Machine: BiPAP Machines, VPAP Machines, Bi-Level PAP Therapy, BPAP

Bi-Level PAP therapy uses 2 levels of pressure to treat sleep apnea, an inspiratory pressure (IPAP) and an expiratory pressure (EPAP). This simply means that a pressure delivered upon inhalation is higher than the pressure upon breathing out and is beneficial to person that has trouble exhaling against standard CPAP pressure. The pressure settings are separated by a pressure support threshold of 3-6 cm/H2O (example: a person on 16cm IPAP and 12cm EPAP have a pressure support of 4cm, the difference between the 2). Bi-Level is the proper name; however most people, physicians included refer to it by a manufacturer trade name of BiPAP, similar to how most people call cotton swabs Q-Tips. BiPAP is Bi-Level; it is also referred to as VPAP, another manufacturer trade name for the same type of therapy. Sounds confusing right?

Bi-Level are less commonly prescribed sleep therapy devices, making up only about 15% of the sleep therapy market. Unless specifically prescribed due to other pre-existing conditions, Bi-Level therapy is typically used for one of these 2 reasons:

1.)    A person with such severe apnea that requires a fixed CPAP pressure that is too high (i.e. 15cm/H2O). Many sleep labs have a protocol that states when a person gets to a certain pressure threshold to switch them over to Bi-Level.

2.)    It’s meant to assist in compliance, a person who is non-compliant, meaning they do not use the CPAP machine, may benefit from a Bi-Level device that provides the comfort of exhaling against a lower pressure than the pressure they are breathing in.

Examples of BiLevel Machines: Resmed VPAP S, Philips Respironics System One DS660HS, Devilbiss IntelliPAP Bi_level

Auto Bi-Level: Auto BiPAP, Auto Adjusting BiLevel

Auto Bi-level devices use a combination of Bi-Level technology and Auto CPAP technology and istead of having one fixed IPAP pressure and one fixed EPAP pressure, these two pressure settings auto adjust based on therapy need. So how does the device know when to increase the IPAP (inspiratory pressure) and when to increase the EPAP (expiratory pressure? The EPAP pressure (the lower number in your BiPAP/Bi-level setting) is the pressure used to eliminate obstructive apneas and stabilize the airway, meaning to keep it patent and open while the IPAP pressure is used to eliminate hypopnea, flow limitation and any residual snoring. A pressure support number is established to instruct the machine the differences in pressure between the IPAP and EPAP, this pressure setting is typically between 3cm/H2O and 6cm/H2O.

Much like Auto CPAP machines, the Auto Bi-Levels can operate in 2 modes which are the standard Bi-Level mode or Auto adjust mode. Many of the candidates for Auto Bi-Level have the same determining factors as the standard Bi-Level candidates listed in the above description for Bi-Level.

Examples of Auto Bi-Level Devices: ResMed S9 VPAP Auto, Philips Respironics System One DS760HS, Devilbiss IntelliPAP Bi-Level Auto.

 

Bi-Level ST: BiPAP S/T, VPAP ST, Bi-Level Spontaneous Timed

Bi-Level ST devices operate with the same IPAP and EPAP concept of traditional Bi-Levels/BiPAPs however they carry the fancy ST acronym behind their name that means Spontaneous Timed. The devices are non-invasive ventilators. So what does this mean? Unlike traditional Bi-Level/BiPAP where the IPAP and EPAP (your breaths in and breaths out) are determined by the user (you), the ST mode has a timed eupneic rate that establishes when you are to breathe in and breathe out. To put this in easier terms to understand, the standard Bi-Level reacts to your breathing where the Bi-Level ST when time you when to breathe in and breathe out.

So who are the target candidates for BiPAP ST and VPAP ST? People that have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), people that have neuromuscular diseases and people that suffer from obesity hypoventilation. These are not commonly prescribed devices and usually come with a hefty price tag. Device settings are specific and should be determined and adjusted upon the recommendation of your treating physician.

Examples of Bi-Level ST: ResMed VPAP S/T, Philips Respironics BiPAP AVAPS, Breas Bi-Level ST

 

ASV: BiPAP Auto SV, VPAP Adapt SV, Adaptive Pressure Support Servo-Ventilators

The Philips Respironics BiPAP AutoSV and the ResMed VPAP Adapt are adaptive pressure support servo-ventilators. These specialized servo-ventilators are used for the treatment of Complex Sleep Apnea (CompSA), otherwise referred to as CPAP induced central sleep apnea (CSA), periodic breathing such as Cheyne-Stokes Respiration. These are not commonly prescribed devices and should be directed by a sleep specialist for device settings.

What is the difference between these 2 devices? Essentially there is not much difference between the 2 though they are the only 2 manufacturers that have these devices on the market that are used and cleared for the treatment of the above disorders. The algorithm for the Philips Respironics device targets peak flow while the ResMed device targets minute ventilation, essentially the same common goal with slight variations in delivery method. These devices DO NOT have an auto titrating algorithm, the component used to establish airway patency (keep the airway open) is a fixed pressure and the auto adjusting component is the pressure support which is used to treat the periodic breathing or Complex central events.

Examples of Auto Servo-Ventilators: Philips Respironics BiPAP AutoSV and ResMed VPAP Adapt.

 

Posted in Auto Adjusting CPAP Machines, CPAP Machines, Sleep Apnea News | Comments Off on Differences Between CPAP, Auto CPAP, and BiPAP Machines

CPAP Mask Comparison and Reviews

CPAP Mask Reviews: Compare and Shop

In the early 1900s during the automotive boom there were literally hundreds of different automobile manufacturers and models of cars. You wouldn’t know that today and it’s hard to rattle off more than a dozen because many of these car companies went under or were absorbed by other manufacturers and their models released into production under a different name.

Philips Respironics Wisp CPAP Mask

The Wisp Nasal CPAP Mask from Philips Respironics Coming Soon!

I can relate this to the CPAP mask market by telling you there are many manufacturers developing new masks on the global market but have they missed the boat? Are the new masks coming out going to be obsolete or absorbed by the top 3 CPAP manufacturers? It’s hard to say how long they will be around but we are noticing a trend with the manufacturers to evolve into fewer platforms and designs of CPAP masks and streamline it to 3 style models; nasal, nasal pillow, and full face. I speculate the market will be heavily weighted between only 2 of those options, the nasal pillow mask and the full face mask.

Philips Respironics is soon to unleash the WISP nasal CPAP mask on the market and I’m not quite sure how I feel about this mask. I have seen the demos of this mask and read product specs and looked all the “catchy” images and marketing and I’m just not sure how I feel about another nasal style mask on the market. I want to get excited about it but my reservations are as follows:

 

Nasal pillows are controlling the nasal interface market right now. Not only are they more comfortable but there is much less to them to cause irritation plus cleaning and maintenance is a breeze. The Respironics WISP headgear resembles a nasal pillow style and the cushion is small and lightweight. If anything, I would call it a nasal/nasal pillow hybrid. This may be just the angle Respironics is taking with the mask. We have seen extremely lightweight masks released from their competitors such as the ResMed Mirage FX and The Fisher Paykel Eson, however the WISP headgear makes me wonder if it may be better (we’ll let our customers be the judge).

The TrueBlue Story

We were very excited when Respironics released the True Blue nasal CPAP mask, not because of the design but more for the anticipation that they would come out with a mask that could rival the quality of the ResMed family of masks. It’s not uncommon for us to see many prescriptions that are brand specific for a Respironics CPAP or BiPAP machine to be used with a ResMed CPAP mask. The True Blue buzz wore off quickly and it’s hard to say if it was the quality of the mask, the fact that it was not prescribed by physicians very much or that the nasal mask interface market is completely saturated by too many mask options. Will the WISP follow in the footsteps of the TrueBlue or will give Respironics that edge to gain market share on nasal style masks?

True Blue Nasal CPAP Mask

TrueBlue CPAP Mask by Philips Respironics

In closing I would like to tell you to check out our mask comparison chart and reviews currently being developed, this just may help you decide which CPAP therapy interface you might want to try.

Posted in CPAP Mask Reviews, New CPAP Products, Sleep Apnea News | Comments Off on CPAP Mask Comparison and Reviews

1800CPAP Would Like to To Give Thanks To…

Thankful for CPAP

In honor of Thanksgiving, we are giving our list of 30 things for 30 days of November we are thankful for.

1.)    Our loyal customers (guess that’s a given, huh)

2.)    Selling ResMed CPAP products lower than anyone else online.

3.)    That we can offer the average person affordable CPAP machines, masks, and supplies even when they do not have insurance or have a very high deductible.

4.)    That public awareness of sleep apnea is increasing.

5.)    The manufacturers are improving the quality of the CPAP machines and most importantly, the CPAP masks.

6.)    Our wonderful staff that work their hearts out getting your orders processed and delivered.

7.)    The S9 Autoset and all the wonderful feedback we get from this ResMed product (regardless how we feel about ResMed as a company)

8.)    The sleep technicians and doctors that continue to inform patients about alternative ways of getting their CPAP supplies (i.e. send them to us; we’ll take care of them).

9.)    New product lines we are now selling that allow us to extend warranties and offer lower prices like the DeVilbiss brand of products.

10.) Philips Resprionics releasing new products to give ResMed a run for their money.

11.) Australia and New Zealand customers. We love to ship ResMed products to you, helping you save thousands.

12.) Dr. Javaheri and all the wisdom on sleep he had provided us before we set off to create 1800CPAP.com

13.) Fisher and Paykel for their continued support….

14.) The ResMed Swift FX; still by far our top selling nasal pillow CPAP mask and motivating all the other manufacturers to be creative in the design of their nasal pillow masks.

15.) The internet and social media formats that allow us to get our education, awareness and products to the consumer.

16.) The insurance companies for being greedy and charging high deductibles, premiums, and co-pays.

17.) Blogs, not only our CPAP blog but others that include us or link to us and give us a very “grass roots” style of advertising.

18.) Our Open Box and Refurbished CPAP machine program for giving people with little means to money the ability to get a gently used CPAP machine for a fraction of the cost of a new one.

19.) Our medical director Dr. Dickerson and all the hard work he does for the home sleep apnea testing program.

20.) Our intestinal fortitude for rejecting the policies of some major manufacturers and their minimum internet retail price regulations.

21.) Our friends and family that supported Mark, Jason, and myself during the development of 1800CPAP.com

22.) Sleep labs that are waking up to the fact that there are more than 2 manufacturers of quality CPAP products and prescribing other manufacturers.

23.) Heated CPAP tubes. Since these products have made it to market we have solved more and more nasal dryness issues.

24.) Jessica, Vickie, Kris, Stephanie, Peggy, and Tony.

25.) Respect for the lessons we have learned along the way. Making the best CPAP company out there isn’t easy.

26.) The 100’s of sleep technicians and technologists we have worked with locally that support our stores.

27.) Less than reputable online CPAP companies out there that make people appreciate the serive they get from 1800CPAP more.  Ever notice some these companies don’t list their personal names or address of locations. Got to wonder what they are hiding (youneedmorals.com should be the name of their site).

28.) Auto CPAP machines. Fixed pressure just doesn’t cut it anymore and besides, auto CPAP can be auto adjusting or fixed.

29.) The end of political commercial on November 7th.

30.) Health, happiness, true friendships, loving family, and everything else that makes us live for what we do.

Posted in General Sleep Facts | Comments Off on 1800CPAP Would Like to To Give Thanks To…

Why Am I So Tired In The Morning?

Need More Sleep?

#JustLetMeSleepALittleLonger

Need CPAP?

Got CPAP?

I do not want to work out this morning. Period. End of Story.  I want to pull the covers back over my head, reset my alarm clock for one more hour of precious sleep. Within 30 seconds I can come up with 14 excuses as to why I don’t need to, why I shouldn’t, and why I am better off staying in bed. For a second, I think I may have missed my calling as a trial lawyer. Why am I so tired? Is it the cooler weather? Shorter daylight hours? Am I just getting old? Oh, I’ve got it. I haven’t used that CPAP machine in a week and even though I am “sleeping” for 8 hours, I haven’t slept for 8 hours.

Why Am I So Tired In The Morning?

Not Using My CPAP Makes Me Tired

Hard At Work or Hard at Sleep?

Undiagnosed people have a great excuse; they’re undiagnosed. But, for those of us who know we need to use CPAP to maintain a healthy night’s sleep there is no excuse.  The “Do as I say; not as I do” does not ring true here. It is a fact that discontinued use or sporadic use of CPAP will result in the return of symptoms that lead you to have the test done in the first place. National compliance puts CPAP users around 50-55% adherent to therapy, meaning around half the people that are diagnosed and given a CPAP are successfully using it. Guess what happens if it shows you’re not using it enough in the first 3 months and you used your insurance to pay for it?? The company that set you up on the device can take it back and label you NON COMPLIANT. Besides saving you a ton of money on the CPAP machine, masks, and supplies, shopping at 1800CPAP.com means you control the timeline in which you can adapt to using CPAP.

 

Anyways, that’s a topic for another day; let’s get this back on track.

Adjust Your Attitude or Your CPAP Pressure 

Have you ever had an interaction with a person who claimed they just weren’t a morning person? I hear people say that all the time and somehow we just excuse whatever foul up, blunder, mistake, rudeness or utter lack of focus and attention to just “Oh well, he’s just not a morning person”. I’m done letting people get off that easy. Wake up people, figuratively and literally, just wake up. There is a reason for this morning lethargy and sleep apnea just may be that dirty culprit behind it all.

I and my fellow sleep technicians have spent many years graciously smiling and being sympathetic to cranky and tired people that we met in the sleep lab all because we know that these people are moody, irritable, sleep deprived , and probably haven’t had a good night’s sleep in years as a result of undiagnosed sleep apnea.  I would put the odds at 4 to 1 that they are only there because of:

1.)    My wife made me do it.

2.)    My doctor made me do it.

3.)    My job made me do it.

4.)    My husband did it. Loves his CPAP. Now says my snoring is keeping him awake.

5.)    Camping or travel buddies make them get their own hotel room or tent because no one can stand to hear them snore.

So tell Mr. I’m Not A Morning Person it’s not another cup of coffee he needs but rather a sleep test and possibly a CPAP

I Use My CPAP Every Night but I Still Wake Up Tired.

We hear this one all the time so let me just list some possible reasons and see if you fall into this category.

1.)    You haven’t had a sleep study reevaluation in a number of years and you are using a fixed pressure CPAP machine (a standard CPAP that only blow out 1 pressure setting after it has ramped up). Odds are you need a pressure change, most likely an increase. Weight changes and aging play a role in the need for more CPAP pressure.

2.)    You are only wearing your machine a portion of time you are sleeping. Let’s do the math. If your sleep study said you quit breathing 400 times during your 8 hour sleep study and you are using your CPAP for only 4 hours per night then you are still having 200 apneas during the night. If you broke both arms, you wouldn’t only get a cast for one of them. Use the CPAP whenever you sleep.

3.)    Your mouth breathing. All of the air that is going from your CPAP machine to your mask and into your nasal passage is escaping through your mouth and not providing the splint in your airway to eliminate your apnea. Get a Full Face CPAP mask or a CPAP mask chin strap if you continue to use a nasal or nasal pillow mask.

4.)    Your CPAP mask is leaking. The silicone cushion for the CPAP mask is meant to be cleaned daily to remove facial oil build up and it is recommended to replace it every 3-6 months. If too much air is leaking, you are not getting the intended delivered pressure to keep the airway open.

5.)    Your machine needs repaired or recalibrated to blow out the intended pressure. CPAP machines do need serviced and it is recommended to make sure it is blowing out the correct pressures over time.

6.)    There may be another underlying sleep disorder. You may not be getting the fully amount of required sleep your body needs (7.5-8.5 hours).

Tune in next week when we address the ugly ramifications of the local DME company that wants to take your CPAP machine away if you’re not using it enough.

Posted in General Sleep Facts, Sleep Apnea News | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Am I So Tired In The Morning?

What is That CPAP Thingy Called?

It says C-P-A-P, not C-R-A-P.

Do you call it “soda” or do you call it “pop”; or maybe you call it “soda pop”? Whatever you call it, it’s always weird or awkward to hear it called by something else yet you know what that person is referring to when they say it. We encounter this everyday at 1800CPAP.com when customers call in and try to describe the CPAP part they are looking for so this blog is going to be dedicated to the “slang” terms used in CPAP therapy.

CPAP

CPAP not CRAP

C-P-A-P (pronounced See-pap)

Just the general term that is an acronym for continuous positive airway pressure gets mangled from: CRAP, yeah I get that when people see my shirt and ask me what is 1800CRAP.com or Cpack, Cpat, Sleep Pack, ZPack (go figure that one), Cpac (kinda like Tupac?) and don’t get me started on the term BiPAP

CPAP Machine

See previous expressions for the word CPAP and add machine to the end of it. Also known as Sleep Machine, Snore Machine, Oxygen Machine (sorry people but these are not oxygen machines, you have to create that yourself).

CPAP Water Chamber

CPAP Machine Water Chamber

Is it Water Chamber or Water Tank?

You know, the thingy that you put in your humidifier. How about CPAP Water Tub, CPAP Water Tank, CPAP Water Reservoir, CPAP Water Canister.

CPAP Tubing

The part that connects your CPAP mask to your CPAP machine or as some people like to call it; CPAP Tube, CPAP Pipe, CPAP Hose

CPAP Mask

Sleep mask, Breathing mask, Apnea mask, Nose mask, Face mask -15 yard penalty; first down (sorry, it’s football season)or fill in one of the many variations of the word CPAP and just add mask to the end of it

The Manufacturers

Philips Respironics or Respironics or REMstar?

Philips Respironics or Respironics or REMstar?

Philips Respironics, or as many refer to them prior to the Philips acquisition, “Respironics” has a long history of being the market leader when it comes to sleep apnea therapy but when it comes to the name of their therapy devices they could not make it any more confusing. Everyone that calls in or emails say they have a REMstar machine and the truth is they do BUT is it a Legacy Series REMstar, a M-Series REMstar or a System One REMstar or the even newer 60 Series System One REMstar? That is always the million dollar question.

The product names keep getting longer too; what’s up with that Respironics? Say this in one breath, Philips Respironics System One REMstar Auto 60 Series with A-Flex and Heated Tube Humidifier. Oh, and let’s not forget the people that call them Respitronics, Responics, Resparonics, Restironics, Resimetronics, and Resmedonics (I guess that’s a combo of ResMed and Respironics).

Posted in Auto Adjusting CPAP Machines, CPAP Machines, General Sleep Facts, Sleep Apnea News | Comments Off on What is That CPAP Thingy Called?

Devilbiss IntelliPAP Products; Our Back to Sleep Specials

We have a holiday weekend approaching and it’s hard to not look ahead to all the fun activities we have in store; good food, fireworks, some good music and maybe some spirits or two.  School is staring back up, swimming pools are closing and each day is going to get darker a little earlier. With that being said, I’m not going to make this blog very long, instead I’m going to give it to you short and sweet and let you enjoy these remaining lazy days of summer.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with our Devilbiss healthcare account manager and discuss their product line and the services they have to offer. Being in the sleep medicine field for so long, I have developed blinders to anything that isn’t ResMed, Philips Respironics or Fisher and Paykel and needless to say, this meeting opened my eyes to an entire new product line for our customers.

Comfortably Numb

Devilbiss SmartCode

CPAP Compliance Made Simple

I thought sleep apnea customers were limited to a couple of options when it came to exhalation comfort settings, like C-Flex or EPR. It’s these types of comfort settings that help with desensitizing new CPAP users to what may be an overwhelming discomfort of breathing against the CPAP pressure. SmartFlex™ Technology incorporates rounded flowing technology that allows patients to exhale against lower pressures. Kind of look at it as a McDonalds and Burger King have always been in your neighborhood and now they’re putting in a Wendy’s.

The Devilbiss Went Down to Georgia

Not only does the Devilbiss product line have one of the smallest footprints in the industry, it’s freakishly quiet and doesn’t have that bulky power brick that you see some of the newer model carry ( Yes, System One and S9 Series, we are talking about you). Everyone can claim that their CPAP is made for travel, with sleek designs and lightweight shells, but when your power supply is the size and weight of a landscaping brick what screams travel about that. Fisher and Paykel Icon, you get a free pass on this one since your power supply is built internally (and you have that cool alarm clock feature).

 

Born in the USA

Devilbiss IntelliPAP BiLevel Machine

Small Footprint Built with Durability

 

The Devilbiss product proudly wears the badge “Made in the USA” and comes with a 5 year warranty, just let that soak in for a second…….a 5 year warranty. Sounds like someone really stands behind their product line. If you are price shopping you are not going to find a better deal either. Did I mention they offer a multiple selection of CPAP, Auto CPAP and Bilevel, and Auto Bilevel devices? The Devilbiss IntelliPAP Standard CPAP system is your typical fixed pressure CPAP machine with optional humidifier and comes in the Standard or Standard Plus (SmartFlex equipped).  The Devilbiss IntelliPAP AutoAdjust™ is an automatically adjusting pressure device or self titrating as some may call it. There are also the Bilevel and AutoBilevel machines; these machines offer 2 separate pressures that are designed for inspiratory and expiratory.

On The Road Again

We are getting a lot of positive feedback from our friends in the transportation industry about the design of the device; the humidifier water chamber is placed underneath the CPAP unit, not to the side. CPAP machines with humidifiers that are attached to the side may be prone to water getting into the unit itself which can damage the vital components. Compliance reporting, which will be a huge asset in logging and reporting therapy compliance  gives the end user the opportunity to view this data on screen or load it to an e-based site. Durability-the cab of a truck cab be a hazardous place to live if you’re a delicate piece of equipment and these truck drivers need a small and durable unit that’s going to last.

Closing Time

Devilbiss CPAP Masks

Silky Fit Offer Comfortable Sleep

 

Do yourself a favor and be sure to check out the wide variety of CPAP masks Devilbiss has to offer. We are currently adding more and more of their products to our site as we speak, so don’t be shy if you don’t see the Devilbiss product you are looking for on the site; give us a call and we’ll get it for you (at the lowest price we can too). Have a great holiday weekend and be safe!

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What’s New With CPAP in 2012

Cuts to CPAP Reimbursement and CPAP Replacement Schedule

Hold on to your hats; it’s an election year and the hot topic is still healthcare reform and reimbursement cuts. So what does this mean to the average CPAP user?  Considering most commercial insurance providers typically follow Medicare standards, the complete landscape of how often you get new CPAP supplies and the particular brand of CPAP supplies will change.  Medicare will put in place a new replacement schedule for CPAP supplies that will state the need of physician documentation to receive that replacement mask, cushions, tubing and more. Remember the good old days when you could get a new cushion every month; yeah say good bye to that. Cutting reimbursement in the range of up to 30% also means that the top of the line equipment you used to get will now be replaced or provided with inferior, less expensive products. Good news is that you can still self pay for any of your CPAP supplies at 1800CPAP.com

The major medical equipment companies are starting to buy up internet CPAP dealers and get into the game of self pay supplies. Recently, Lincare Holding Inc purchased CPAP Supply USA. With continued cuts to reimbursement and replacement schedules, we expect many more of the big name DME companies will be targeting cash pay customers and reducing their overhead by eliminating “brick and mortar” stores.  How soon before Apria Healthcare or Rotech Medical decides to buy up an internet CPAP dealer?

Manufacturers and New Products

DevilBiss IntelliPAP Auto CPAP Machine and Humidifier

Made in the U.S.A. with a 5 Year Warranty

This year many new products were introduced to us by various CPAP manufacturers that have taken sleep apnea therapy to a whole new level. The Fisher and Paykel Pilairo nasal pillow mask system with a one strap headgear and a one size fits all pillow cushion just may make get a “Best CPAP Mask of 2012” nomination from 1800CPAP.com. Philips Respironics introduced a product line of CPAP and Auto CPAP machines with a heated tube, the System One 60 Series of CPAP and Auto CPAP machines will give the ResMed S9 Autoset with H5i and ClimateLine a run for its money.  SleepWeaver scored really big points with the Elan cloth nasal CPAP mask, not to mention its 30 Day money back guarantee. One of my personal favorites that I would like to point out is the DevilBiss IntelliPAPseries of Auto Adjusting and Fixed Pressure CPAP. DevilBiss units, made in the U.S.A., offer a 5 year warranty on their CPAP and Auto CPAP devices. A 5 year warranty is amazing and in comparison to other manufacturers that offer a 2 year warranty, we see DevilBiss gaining mass market share soon.

Fisher Paykel Pilairo Nasal Pillow CPAP Mask

30 Day Return Policy on the Fisher & Paykel Pilairo Nasal Pillow CPAP Mask

Mainstream

The secret is out; CPAP changes people’s lives for the better and not only their life but their bed partner’s life as well. We see CPAP machines popping up in mainstream movies, television shows and news programs. The word of mouth grass roots effort created by success stories is leading more and more people asking questions about sleep apnea testing. Lucky for them that home sleep testing is becoming more accepted as a physiological tool to accurately measure and diagnose sleep apnea. Being tested in your own home under your normal every night settings helps with desensitizing  of the wires, belts and cannulas, not to mention the thousands saved by not going to a sleep center. Just wait until Christmas time when I suggest home sleep test kits as stocking stuffers.

ResMed Bella Nasal Pillow CPAP Mask for Women

The Bella the Ball

CPAP and sleep therapy manufacturers sure are putting a lot of effort in developing CPAP masks and machines made specifically for women. My guess is once the hubby got his CPAP and slept quietly through the night, he noticed the misses had a little snoring problem of her own too.

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What Is A Good Night’s Sleep Really Worth?

I see a lot of diagnostic sleep tests come across my desk and it’s not uncommon to see Mr. John Doe have an AHI (apnea hypopnea index) on average of 30. What does that mean,  AHI = 30? Many people get that number confused with the amount of times during the night that they quit breathing but, and this is a BIG but, it’s actually the number of times PER HOUR that they quit breathing. Just let that sink in for a second…. and if you do the math, that’s once every 2 minutes during the course of your 8 hour sleep cycle that you do the following:

  • Quit Breathing
  • Your Oxygen Level Drops
  • You Brain Wakes You Up Out Of Sleep (Not long enough for you to remember, but long enough to disrupt your sleep)

Every 2 minutes.  Or maybe worse, I have seen apnea hypopnea indexes as high as 120 times per hour. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. A healthy night’s sleep is achievable, and even better, it’s affordable. You spend 1/3 of your life sleeping and it’s that 1/3 of your life that greatly  affects the other 2/3.

 

Healthy Sleep Tips

What is a Healthy Night’s Sleep Worth?

Memory

During REM sleep (rapid eye movement) our neural connections convert short term memory into long term memory.  People that suffer from sleep apnea (sleep disordered breathing) typically have significantly reduced REM sleep as a result of fragmented sleep. Each episode (apnea event) results in a drop in your oxygen level as well as disruption to your brain wave activity.  That brings you from a deeper stage of sleep to a lighter, lest restful stage of sleep.  The use of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) reduces the fragmented sleep and has been shown to increase and restore the amount of REM sleep.

Heart Function

When we rest, our heart rate slows down. The average heart rate while we are awake is 60-100 beats per minute and when we sleep, the average drops down to 40-900 BPM. During normal healthy sleep the heart rate sustains a somewhat steady and level rate and rhythm. A person with obstructive sleep apnea typically will have a chaotic heart rate or arrhythmias during apnea events. When you have an apnea event your heart rate slows down as the blood oxygen levels drops; when air is restored to the lungs after the apnea event has ended, the heart races to catch up and pump more blood throughout the body

Depression v/s Better Mood

Lack of a good night’s sleep is enough to make us all a little irritable but just image what is must feel like to not get a good night’s sleep for 20 or 30 years. That is exactly what has happened to a lot of people that have suffered a long time with undiagnosed sleep apnea. They fail to understand how it could be happening and tell themselves “Hey, I got 8 hours of sleep last night, why do I feel this way?” or “How can I get a good night’s sleep; is something wrong with me?”. It’s amazing to see the effect on some people in the sleep clinic the morning after their first full night with CPAP.   It makes a world of difference; not only does CPAP save lives, CPAP saves marriages too!

Creativity

It’s not hard to understand that with little sleep or the feeling of fogginess one might have a difficult time being creative or even having the energy to do one’s job. Let’s not even mention the morning headaches or lethargy that also comes with fragmented sleep and untreated sleep apnea.

Weight Loss

It’s quite simple really; without healthy sleep it is hard to get the motivation to exercise or be more active.  It’s that motivation and drive the get us to the gym or keeps our activity levels up where we start to burn more calories and lose weight. Decreases in the hormone Leptin from lack of healthy sleep contributes to increased appetite.

Overall Health

Improved mood, a more rested heart, lower blood pressure and decreased risk of stroke and heart attack are really good bullet points to live by when you make the effort for better sleep.

 

Home Sleep Testing

If you or someone you know suffers from the symptoms listed in this article, you should consider consulting with a physician about conducting a home sleep apnea test. 1800CPAP.com offers a home sleep apnea test kit for the low price of $349.00, including interpretation by a board certified sleep physician.

Posted in General Sleep Facts, Sleep Apnea News | Comments Off on What Is A Good Night’s Sleep Really Worth?

1800CPAP Delivers A Good Night’s Sleep to Truckers

Home Sleep Apnea Testing for Truckers

We are seeing an amazing increase in self pay home sleep apnea testing from people that work in the transportation industry and it’s not surprising as to why. The hot topic of conversation in the industry has been a law to mandate sleep apnea testing, CPAP therapy if the test was positive, and compliance reporting for truckers that have elevated risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea.

So What’s The Big Deal if I Have Sleep Apnea?

A big question would be; is this a good thing or bad thing? The conscience observer has to see it as a postive thing for other motorists, employers and the overall health of that individual. However, sleep apnea testing for truckers and treatment can be outrageously expensive, especially for the individually owned and operated trucker otherwise known as the “self-insured”.

Sleep Apnea and the Trucking Industry

1800CPAP.com Delivers Sleep Testing to You!

 

 

The top three disease related health care expenditures in the trucking and transportation industry are hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. So what do these 3 co-morbid conditions ALL have in common? All are a direct link to untreated obstructive sleep apnea. Occupational wellness programs are reacting to these correlations and a standard of practice is beginning to develop in the trucking industry in regard to screening and treatment of truck drivers for sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing.

 

In light of this emerging standard of care, it is incumbent on the trucking industry to develop and implement risk management strategies designed to reduce liabilities associated with commercial drivers.

            

Examples of strategies for implementation would be providing drivers with information about sleep apnea, it’s symptoms, causes and types of treatment options. Providing screening for drivers at the time of hire and periodically has also been an effective method of occupational wellness. Sleep questionnaires, assessments of risks factors such as obesity, age, neck size, hypertension, and diabetes are great tools in recognizing potential drivers that would benefit from screening.

 

Employers are always looking at ways to cut costs and improve employee benefits. There have been studies conducted on health care utilization that have shown tremendous reduction in medical claims and hospital stays after diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea as compared to prior year before.

In 2005 NHTSA estimated the cost to be $83,000 per fatality, a total of 12.5 billion and 85% of the cost from workplace loss and loss of productivity.

 

These are all very alarming statistics, so what are the conclusions of the cost effectiveness of sleep testing? Given the increased morbidity of not treating sleep disorders, it should be considered preventative medicine to offer diagnostic testing and treatment. One should also expect to see a decrease in cardiovascular complications and motor vehicle accident.

 Add This to Your Occupational Wellness Program!

In addition to cost effectiveness, what are other benefits of adding a sleep wellness program to your organization?

  •       Reduce the risk of serious workers compensation, auto liability, and physical damage losses due to sleep related vehicle crashes

  •       Realize productivity gains from drivers who are more alert.

  •       Help your drivers enjoy a greater quality of life

  •       Employee retention

Insert Shameless Plug Here: Get Tested and Treated with Our Home Sleep Apnea Test and Auto CPAP Package. All for Just $999.00!

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Best Nasal Pillow CPAP Masks Available Are…

Best Nasal Pillow CPAP Masks for Compliance

Someone once told me that to keep the reader’s attention when “blogging” to start off with a story or a joke. So I’ll give you a quick story before I begin my ramblings about best nasal pillow CPAP masks and the way they have changed sleep apnea sufferer’s compliance. Please note this story has nothing to do with the subject.

It’s hard to say what can trigger the mind to wake up but I do know this, if you say the right phrase such as “Fire” or “You’re Late for Work”, it will get someone out of bed at break-neck speed. One night in the sleep lab I had a patient that may have had the worst case of obstructive sleep apnea I had ever seen. We use audio/visual monitoring as well as the polysomnography equipment and I had the microphone turned on in his room. During the course of the night he would have episodes of talking in his sleep, which at first I thought he may have woken and needed assistance. Upon listening, I could make out the sentence “Are there going to be any dinosaurs on this dinosaur show?”.
This phrase struck me as an odd thing to say, but hey, we all have weird dreams sometimes, right? In the morning, I went in to wake the patient because he was adamant that he be up at 5:30 am on the dot to get to work on time. This man was the hardest person I have ever tried to wake up (severe sleep apnea sufferers take note). He simply would not wake up to any physical or audio commands to get out of bed. After 5 minutes, I went back into the control room to get someone to give me a hand and when we came back to the room a simple “Jerry, wake up or you’re going to be late for work” sent this 300lb man springing out of bed like he had a jet pack strapped to his back. Just goes to show you how certain trigger words or phrases can affect the subconscious. On a side note, years later I was watching a movie on basic cable and the line “Are there going to be any dinosaurs on this dinosaur show?” appeared. It brought me back to the story of this patient and finally made sense why he was saying that in his sleep. That movie was Jurassic Park.

Nasal Pillow CPAP Masks: The Revolution Has Begun

As little as eight years ago the options for comfortable CPAP mask were slim at best. You were either recommended to use a Full Face CPAP mask or a bulky Nasal CPAP mask. I’m sure all my fellow sleep technologists out there can relate to the “Darth Vader” impression patients made when you first put one of these masks on. The lack of a less invasive and comfortable mask probably contributed to the low CPAP compliance many sleep labs faced. In recent years the CPAP mask landscape has changed dramatically and has led to an influx of past CPAP users changing masks and new CPAP users becoming more compliant.

Philips Respironics, ResMed, and Fisher Paykel all have versions of Nasal Pillow CPAP masks and while they are all very similar in design and functionality, modifications to their models are continually improving making CPAP use a much better experience. The ResMed Swift series of nasal pillow CPAP masks are a perfect example of this and while the Mirage Swift II, an older model, proved far superior to the Swift LT series, the Swift FX blows them all out of the water. I am still amazed when we receive negative feedback from a user and in this post I will address helpful tips for using a nasal pillow style mask.

Fisher Paykel Pilairo

The New Revolution of CPAP Masks

What Are Some of the New Nasal Pillow CPAP Masks on the Market?

We are hearing a lot of good things about the Fisher Paykel Pilairo nasal pillow CPAP mask (currently only available overseas but expected to be in the U.S. soon). The Pilairo CPAP mask has only one headgear strap that tighten behind the ears and is expected to replace the Opus pillow mask. We haven’t heard any feedback about how well the Pilairo keeps the CPAP mask in place during the night but I’m sure the comfort of only one head strap will make this mask hugely appealing. The Swift FX series (Swift FX and Swift FX for Her) offers 2 lightweight headgear straps however ResMed has released Bella Loops, headgear straps that fasten around your ears without the need of the 2 strap headgear system. Philips Respironics most recently released nasal pillow mask is the GoLife for Men and GoLife for Women. While I personally have not used this mask, I do speak to many of our CPAP customers that rave about its performance.

Swift FX Bella CPAP Mask

CPAP Products for Women

CPAP Masks for Women: Building a Better CPAP Mask

A lot of effort and attention is being centered on CPAP masks made for women so a big question is why the sudden influx? This is easy, many more women are being diagnosed through awareness and detection and by detection I mean this. Wife notices Hubby snores and stop breathing for long periods during sleep. Wife makes hubby get sleep test. Doctor tells Hubby to sleep with CPAP machine. Hubby sleeps with CPAP machine and notices Wife is a snorer with apnea episodes. Hubby tells Wife her snoring is disturbing his sleep. Wife gets sleep study done. You get the picture.

Since women tend to have smaller features, designs and sizes of CPAP masks must change to accommodate. The nasal pillow cushions are made smaller, the CPAP mask headgear harness is made smaller and the masks have different color options, pink and powder blue. Heck, ResMed even went as far as designing an Auto CPAP machine with a pink shell just for her (ResMed S9 AutoSet™ for Her).

Give Me Those Great Nasal Pillow Mask Tips Already

  • I cannot stress this tip enough. Do not over-tighten the headgear straps of the nasal pillow mask. If you do, this will create more pressure on the cushion area and you WILL wake up the next morning with a sore nose. Wear the mask loosely; trust me the cushion will not fall out.
  • Humidity, Humidity, humidity. Nasal pillow masks are direct pressure into the nasal cavity which can cause the capillaries to swell. If you wake the next morning with a sore throat and experience dryness in the nasal passage, you can fix this with increased humidity.
  • Replace the head straps or the pillow cushions often. Over time these parts will become stretched and weakened, causing you to over-tighten which will lead to discomfort.
  • Make sure to use light-weight tubing like the ResMed SlimLine, a heavy tube will pull down on a light-weight mask causing irritation and CPAP Mask seal break.
  • Use mask strap pads to eliminate CPAP mask irritation to the cheek area. The ResMed Swift FX series comes with this already but you can purchase Snuggle Straps to add to any mask.
Posted in CPAP Mask Reviews, New CPAP Products | Comments Off on Best Nasal Pillow CPAP Masks Available Are…

CPAP & Sleep Apnea Myths and Truths

Myths About CPAP and Sleep Apnea

I can set my watch everyday by the 9 am phone calls or emails about the same CPAP questions that come up and though some are very entertaining (insert hour long phone call from the man claiming to be a NASA scientist), most can be easily answered in this blog. Every so often we like to identify misconceptions made about CPAP therapy, costs of CPAP equipment and the general understanding about obstructive sleep apnea. These are some our recent inquiries. Enjoy.

CPAP Myth 1: I use a ResMed CPAP machine so I must use a ResMed CPAP mask.

False. All CPAP masks are made with a port connection that has a universal size to fit all CPAP tubing, hoses and machines. There are many people that have a Philips Respironics CPAP machine but want to use a ResMed CPAP mask. Rest easy my friends and feel free to mix and match your CPAP brands accordingly.

What its like

CPAP Myth 2: I need a prescription for CPAP supplies and accessories.

False. Only items marked “RX Required” will need to have a prescription. It’s a head scratcher to see the number of people that come into our store locations and have been told by their medical equipment supplier that they need a prescription for tubing and filters or even headgear. That’s right, I said headgear; you know, that fabric strap that keeps your CPAP mask in place. I do want to make this very clear; YOU DO NOT NEED A CPAP PRESCRIPTION FOR CPAP MASK COMPONENTS AND CPAP MACHINE PARTS AND ACCESSORIES.

CPAP Myth 3: I’m a mouth breather therefore I need to use a full face mask or a chin strap.

True and False. People that suffer from sleep apnea and ARE NOT using CPAP therapy will typically “mouth breath” from your body’s natural self defense mechanism to survive. You simply are not getting enough air to the lungs during an apeanic event and thus you breathe through your mouth to intake more air and open the airway. However, with the use of CPAP therapy, the positive pressure opens the airway and in most cases allows you to just breathe in and out through your nose and thus a nasal pillow mask or nasal mask will work sufficiently.  The correct use of heated humidity can also assist with mouth breathing.

The “true aspect” to the full face need for mouth breathing comes when people are on higher therapy pressures (i.e. 13 cm/H20 or higher) and using a nasal or nasal pillow mask. These higher pressures can cause the mouth to blow open thus creating a large leak and resulting in extreme mouth dryness.  Patients that use bilevel (BiPAP) therapy typically benefit more from the use of a full face CPAP mask than a nasal mask, which will have a bouncing effect from the inspiratory and expiratory changes in pressure.

CPAP Myth 4: I’ve lost weight therefore I do not need to use my CPAP machine anymore.

Whoa, pump the brakes because you are getting way ahead of yourself. While it has been shown that being overweight can significantly contribute to your sleep apnea it does not mean that weight loss will correct your sleep apnea. There are so many different physiological attributes that cause sleep apnea that just basing it off of your weight is not wise. I have a friend that is the picture of physical fitness and health and I can tell you that he has such severe apnea that no matter what peak condition he is in, it will always be there.

Many people notice weight loss as a result of using a CPAP machine and they tend to feel better with marked improvement in quality of life. After a while they feel the machine has done its job and they no longer need it, however once they have discontinued use, their symptoms reappear. If you feel that you have lost enough weight and there are no other physiological connections to your sleep apnea, it is best to have a re-evaluation sleep study done (preferably using our home sleep testing program) to determine whether or not you still need CPAP therapy.

CPAP Myth 5: Standard CPAP machines are better than fixed pressure CPAP machines.

False. Auto adjusting CPAP machines have the capabilities to be auto adjusting or fixed pressure whereas fixed pressure CPAP machines only have one mode of therapy. Auto CPAP also saves you time and money by limiting the number of times you would need to visit the sleep center or physician for pressure adjustments. After a few years of use and possible weight fluctuations or changes in medication, a pressure adjustment would need to made however with auto adjusting technology, the Auto CPAP machine will adapt to these changes as needed

CPAP Myth 6: Using my insurance is less money out of my pocket than self paying.

Unless you have less than a $500.00 deductible and 90% coverage, self pay will save you more money in the long run. The average deductible in 2010 was $1200.00 and what that means is you are paying you out of pocket the entire deductible and THEN your insurance kicks in (which may only be 70% or 80% coverage) and you will still be responsible for the CPAP co-pay . Just contact Jessica in our billing department to find out whether or not it makes more sense for you to self pay for CPAP machine and supplies

CPAP Myth 7: Can you die from sleep apnea?

True. Mostly through contribution to co-morbid conditions but certainly a direct result and danger can be found in the hypoxia, stroke relation and heart attack. Sleep apnea is a silent but deadly killer that deprives all sufferers of quality of life and overall health.

CPAP Myth 8: Snoring is nothing to be worried about.

False.  Refer to CPAP myth #7 for more clarification but snoring is usually the first sign of developing hypopnea (partial airway closure) upper airway restriction, and sleep apnea. Extreme snoring typically results in the same sleep disturbances (arousals and awakenings). The arousals have been shown to have a direct correlation with sustained hypertension (high blood pressure).

CPAP Myth 9: Wearing a CPAP mask isn’t attractive.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea Need CPAP

Do You Find This Attractive?

Do you find this attractive? No explanation necessary.

CPAP Myth 10: Sleep Apnea only affects older men.

False. This is very wrong on multiple levels. Sleep apnea does not discriminate based on age, race, gender, sexual orientation, political belief, tax bracket or any other factor. It has been shown to be more prevalent in certain genders (men) and certain nationalities but everyone is at risk. Know the warning signs and symptoms are key to determining if you should be tested for sleep apnea.

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Could CPAP Cure Your Hangover?

CPAP & Red Wine: Hangover Cure

Recent studies have suggested that consuming red wine may significantly benefit your health; and millions everywhere parlayed this data into “Sure I’ll have another glass; it’s doctor recommended”. One sentence into this blog you may be wondering how drinking red wine remotely relates to CPAP and sleep apnea. Great question, but this blog is more about the effects of alcohol and life changes that affect CPAP users on fixed pressure CPAP machines and how the new wave of Auto CPAP machines (APAP) can offer a greater advantage to your therapy. Relax, the party is not over yet; more on the red wine shortly.

 

Auto CPAP Machines versus Fixed Pressure CPAP Machines

An Auto CPAP A Day Keeps The Sleep Doctor Away

So, right now all of you long time CPAP users must be asking yourself “What the @#$% is an Auto CPAP machine?” . Most people familiar with CPAP or are on CPAP know it’s functionality from its acronym (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), so let’s focus on the continuous part. The continuous means your CPAP machine blows one continuous pressure (excluding ramp time, that time when it is building up to therapy pressure) and example would be 8cm/H2O, or as some of you refer to 8 pounds of pressure. Trust me; you do not want 8 pounds of pressure blowing into you. So blah, blah, blah, where am I going with this?

Rather than drag it out to the end, I’m going to tell you my 2 main points right now (I DO expect you to finish reading all the blog though, I may reveal something witty or ramble on about how much I love ResMed and vintage fishing lures).

Excellent Point 1: Alcohol Consumption and CPAP

Remember that painfully dreadful night(s) you spent in the sleep lab with all those electrodes and sensors hooked up to you? I am willing to bet that you were on your best behavior that night and did not consume any alcohol before your sleep study (tsk tsk, remember the sleep doctor told you not to deviate from your nightly routine). Well, unfortunately for you, during your CPAP titration portion of the study, the sleep technologist did not get to see the exploits of your fully relaxed and depressed airway as a result of the effects of the 2005 Pinot Noir (like how I circled back to the wine, clever huh?). So what this means is they titrated you to something like 8cm/H2O instead of the 11 or 12 cm/H2O you may need when you introduce depressants into your system. So when those weekend nights get a little crazy, and you feel sluggish the next day, do not go blaming your CPAP machine; it’s didn’t know you were drinking.

Excellent Point 2: Weight Gain/Loss with CPAP

Remember when you said you were going to diet and exercise and lose some weight? Did that happen or maybe you slipped a little and put a little more weight on? Anyways, these two variables will contribute to the amount of CPAP pressure you may need to fully provide that pneumatic splint to stabilize the airway (keep the tissue in your throat from collapsing your airway). If you were on 8 cm/h2O when they titrated you 2 or 3 years ago, you may need more than that to keep you airway open (or less if you were successful with that diet). A fixed pressure CPAP doesn’t know if you have been naughty or nice and it’s programmed to give you what it knows; and that’s the you from the last time you spent the night in the sleep lab.

Get on with it; What is an Auto CPAP?

I know, I know, get to the point Smith. An Auto CPAP machine is a CPAP that automatically increases and decreases the CPAP pressure based on the physiologic information it receives from your airway. What this means is, it knows when there is closure or partial closure and thus increases the delivered pressure and it knows when the airway has stabilized and decreases the pressure. I could go on and on about how much better Auto CPAP machines are compared to dinosaurs…cough cough, I mean fixed pressure CPAP machines, but just to humor you, I’m going to give you bullet points.

  • Auto CPAP machines adjust to your sleep position and sleep stage (yes, that’s why your wife is always rolling you over, because you are a nightmare when you sleep on your back).
  • Like a fine wine, you get just keep getting better with age and an Auto CPAP will know this and only deliver the required pressure you need.
  • Say good bye to being bloated from receiving too much pressure, Auto CPAP only delivers what you need to keep airway open.
  • Have your original symptoms of sleep apnea reappeared? Maybe on fixed pressure CPAP, but Auto CPAP knows when you need your pressure increased.
  • Auto CPAP machines have 2 modes: Auto CPAP mode AND Fixed Pressure CPAP Mode.
  • Less visits to the doctor or sleep lab for pressure changes…Ding Ding Ding, we have a winner and I just sold you on it.

And now you know drinking red wine relates to CPAP and sleep apnea. If I have completely confused you just call us and ask us why Auto CPAP is better. We may even cut you a deal and give you a ResMed coupon code (sorry ResMed). By the way, I do enjoy a good cabernet sauvignon (hint hint).

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Untreated Sleep Apnea and Death of Deadliest Catch Star

Sleep Apnea and Death

I would like to start off by saying I am a huge fan of Discovery channel hit series Deadliest Catch and the personalities of the cast and crew that have entertained us for years. There are not many jobs out there where millions of people enjoy watching you simply do your job and work. I doubt I would be able to get my family to tune in to one episode of me scoring a sleep study or talking CPAP shop with my fellow co-workers (yawn, that was boring just typing it). But it goes without saying that the Deadliest Catch has reeled in many viewers and we witness their struggles and tragedies over the years and the recent passing of Captain Phil Harris and Justin Tennison.

We do want to take the time to offer our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Justin Tennison, a Deadliest Catch star on the Time Bandit. Justin passed away tragically in his sleep at the age of 33 as a result of complication related to sleep apnea (thus the reason we are discussing this on a CPAP blog) and we want to shine a light on snoring and sleep apnea, in particular the deadly consequences and health risks it poses.

Justin Tennison of the Time Bandit

Justin Tennison of the Time Bandit

Public Awareness

Every so often sleep apnea pops up on the radar of mainstream journalism and reporting, unfortunately in most cases it’s to report the passing of someone that is famous or in the public eye. Take NFL great Reggie White or the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia who both passed away as a result of complications directly related to sleep apnea. It is reported that nearly 30% of the U.S. adult population suffers from sleep disordered breathing and roughly 85% of them remain undiagnosed. Yes, you read that correctly, remain undiagnosed. But I do see where CPAP machines are becoming more main stream as they make their ways into bedrooms all across the country. The movie Hall Pass has a scene in which one the stars is sleeping with a ResMed S8 series CPAP machine and Full face CPAP mask. Philips Respironics CPAP machines are popping up in comedy shows like The Office, The League and the HBO hit drama series The Sopranos.

A huge misconception is that ONLY the older and overweight people need a CPAP machine. False, I have friends that are in peak physical condition, mid 30’s and maintain a proper diet and lifestyle, yet I cannot be in the same room with them when we go on golf trip because of the severity of their snoring and witnessed apnea. They too, like many adults refuse to believe that their snoring and sleep apnea could be a potential deadly disease (see the above referenced people if you cannot believe). I will list the below information to help you identify the who, what, when, where and why of sleep apnea.

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

  • Snoring or witnessed gasping for air while sleeping
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Waking to extreme morning dry mouth or sore throat
  • Frequent night time urination
  • Morning headaches
  • Moodiness , irritability and short term memory loss
  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
  • Neck size greater than 17 inches
  • Diabetes

Different Types of Sleep Apnea

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – cessation of airflow (at least 10 seconds) in the presence of continued inspiratory effort; cessation of breathing during sleep, due to a mechanical obstruction, such as a semi-collapsed trachea, tongue relaxed to back of the throat, or a large among of tissue in the uvula area.-Basically, your airway collapses and you quit breathing. Treated with CPAP, APAP or BiPAP.
  • Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)– absence of airflow and inspiratory effort; apnea caused by irregularity in the brain’s control of breathing. Treated with ASV devices or BiPAP (Bi-Level Therapy).
  • Hypopnea-partial airway closure, not as much as an obstructive apnea but still results in disruption to sleep and oxygen desaturation. Treated with CPAP, APAP or BiPAP.
  • Complex Sleep Apnea (CompSA)– a combination of central sleep apnea events triggered by the use of CPAP therapy (CPAP induced central sleep apnea). Treated with ASV devices.
  • Cheyne-Stokes Respiration (CSR)– breathing pattern typified by regular “crescendo-decrescendo” or waxing and waning fluctuations in respiratory rate and tidal volume. Normally seen in heart failure patients and treated with adaptive pressure support servo-ventilation devices (ASV).
  • Snoring-Really? If you are unsure of what snoring is I’m not sure there would be any help for you.

Untreated Sleep Apnea May Lead to :

  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Heart Failure
  • Type II Diabetes
  • Death

Sleep Apnea Test Kits

At home sleep apnea test kits allow you sleep in your own bed and monitor the major physiological parameters that may determine if you suffer from sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing. We offer the testing kit service for the low price of $349.00 (compare that to the thousands a sleep lab may charge you or your insurance). Our test kits are scored by a registered polysomnographic technologist and reviewed by a board certified sleep physician. Unlike some other “internet CPAP sites”, we truly ARE the sleep professionals. You can order a home sleep apnea test kit here!

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

The only 100% proven effective treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP or Auto CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), a device that provides pressurized air through tubing into a mask that you wear on your face while you sleep (CPAP mask). This pressurized air provides a pneumatic splint in the airway that allows you to:

  • Eliminate snoring
  • Keep your oxygen levels above 90%
  • Stabilize the airway so that you may exchange air to the lungs
  • Allow you to obtain deep stages of sleep with less disruptions (arousal)
  • Restore a better quality of life through healthy sleep hygiene
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CPAP Replacement Supplies Cost: What You Are Not Being Told

DME, Your Insurance and CPAP Replacement Supplies Cost

We pride ourselves on providing you with the best equipment at the lowest prices with superior service and support. 1800CPAP.com would like to offer you some advice about using insurance for CPAP replacement supplies cost and what every CPAP user should know about their equipment options. Ask yourself this, “Do I want to save money?” If the answer is yes, keep reading. If the answer is no, you should consider invest money with Madoff Investments.

Misconceptions, Myths and Truths: What Your Medical Equipment Company Isn’t Telling You About Replacement CPAP Supplies.

Every day we are flooded with CPAP patients that call in or come to one of our stores and have been misled that they will need a prescription for certain replacement supplies such as CPAP hose tubing, CPAP filters or CPAP maskheadgear (even had one ask me if they needed it for the water chamber). The simple answer is no, DO NOT need a RX for these items and why their home medical equipment company tells them that leaves them scratching their heads in disbelief.

Cost of CPAP Supplies

Stop Over Spending For Your CPAP Supplies

It’s the razor and the razor blades theory when it comes to replacement CPAP supplies and equipment for most home medical equipment companies. They know that right off the bat they are going to make a little money off of your initial CPAP set up but the real money will start to roll in once they have sunk their teeth into your replacement supply schedule. It’s not surprising for us to hear that every month or every 3 months, a new CPAP mask, headgear, CPAP filters, cushions, water chambers, gaskets, tubing and whatever other billable code for CPAP supplies they can find arrives at your door step.

So is this a bad thing? Yes and no. 1800CPAP.com recommends replacement of all of these components once they begin to show signs of wear and tear or performance becomes an issue; in most cases that is between months 3 and 6. The real problem comes when they keep billing you and your insurance for supplies you don’t necessarily need replaced at the time. Before you know it; you have 14 humidifier water chambers piled up in your junk cabinet. Why is this a bad thing? Well, if you have a higher deductible, you may be paying for all of these unnecessary items out of pocket before your insurance even kicks in. Every day, more and more people are calling their suppliers and saying “hey, don’t send me $45.00 tubing every month. I will just buy it as I need it from 1800CPAP.com for $10”.

Don’t even get me started about CPAP machine rentals. CPAP users are also misled into thinking that their CPAP machine must be rented (and some think for an endless monthly rental). The truth is that your CPAP equipment provider can, in most cases, request the CPAP machine be dent direct to purchase by your insurance. So why would the equipment company choose to rent it rather than have it purchased outright? Are you ready for the million dollar answer? Because it they select it as a rental, they can insist that you return it to them if 1.) you stop using it or 2.) you can no longer afford the monthly rental, plus all those replacement supplies they keep billing you for and you have to return it. They, in turn, will send that unit back out on a new patient and do it all over again.

If you take away anything from this blog, it should be the following :

  • You do not need a prescription for replacement supplies such as CPAP mask cushions, CPAP hose tubing, headgear, water chambers, or CPAP machine filters.
  • 1800CPAP.com is able to sell you CPAP machines, masks, and supplies at a much lower rate because we are obligated by insurance contracted rates.
  • When using your insurance, you have the right to own your equipment at the end of the rental if direct to purchase is not an option.
  • You have the right to stop the endless stream of replacement CPAP supplies that you keep getting overcharged by your local home medical equipment company for and start ordering from us when YOU feel you need new supplies
  • Most people with high deductibles or poor coverage spend about 40% less on CPAP supplies when they self pay versus using their insurance.
We may not be the biggest but that just means we work extra hard to be the best .
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Buying and Selling Used CPAP Machines

Used CPAP Machines to Buy or Sell

1800CPAP.com offers a variety of options for people looking to purchase used CPAP machines, Auto Adjusting CPAP or BiPAP from ResMed, Philips Respironics, Fisher & Paykel! The pre-owned CPAP inventory has 3 different product categories; Pre-Owned, Open Box Specials, and Floor Models. 1800CPAP.com’s CPAP and BiPAP machines are certified pre-owned, gently used and pass a rigorous 11 point inspection (please see inspection details listed below!) prior to listing them for sale on the web store. You know you save  as much as 50% when you order a slightly used/pre-owned CPAP machine versus buying a brand new CPAP machine?

 What Do I Need To Have or Know About Ordering a Pre-Owned CPAP or BiPAP Machine?

We understand that most people browsing our selection of pre-owned/used CPAPs and BiPAPs are looking to get a deal on a top of the line CPAP machine or APAP machine. There are some items to consider when shopping for CPAP machines on sale. First, find out what type or style of CPAP machine do you need to order; are you in need of an Auto CPAP (automatic adjusting pressures CPAP machine-do not confuse CPAP ramp mode with auto adjust, all CPAP and Auto CPAP machine have ramp mode) or a standard CPAP machine (a CPAP machine that blow one continuous therapy pressure; example would be 10 cm/H2O). Do you have a copy of a CPAP prescription for the device you are looking to purchase (not applicable to ALL purchasers)? If not, 1800CPAP.com may be able to help you out with a Home Sleep Apnea Test kit; call 1-800-274-1366 for details. Warranty information and number of hours on the CPAP or BiPAP device are listed with each individual Pre-Owned device.

Used CPAP Machine

Save $$$ When You Shop Pre-Owned CPAP Machines

How Are Our Used CPAP Machines Defined?

Classifications and listings are as follows for describing our Used CPAP machines.

Pre-Owned CPAP Machines – These CPAP, BiPAP or VPAP machines that have had previous owners. Our product page for each item should specify the number of hours used on the device.

Open Box Specials – These CPAP, BiPAP or VPAP machines have not been previously owned. They have been used for patient education and instruction or have been used in staff training exercises.

Floor Models/Demo Units – These CPAP, BiPAP or VPAP machines have served as display models used in our stores. These units are not used on customers and are used for reference and advertising. These CPAP models also go through the rigorous 1800CPAP.com 11 point inspection.

Where Do We Get Our Pre-Owned CPAP Machine Inventory?

Traditionally, CPAP compliance (meaning whether or not someone is able to tolerate CPAP therapy) is estimated to be 54% and what that evolves to be is many people that try CPAP may fail and return their new equipment with as little as 5 CPAP hours used. People look for a way to recover some of their costs and that’s where 1800CPAP.com comes into play. We buy CPAPs, BiPAPs, and Auto CPAP machines (APAP, automatic adjusting CPAP machines) that are newer models with few hours like the ResMed S9 AutoSet™ and Philips Respironics System One RemStar Auto with A-Flex. Other ways we come across these CPAP devices is by changes in sleep apnea therapy. Some people that are initially prescribed CPAP are changed to BiPAP or VPAP Adapt SV models and are left with a perfectly good, working CPAP unit. Be Sure To Check out The 1800CPAP.com CPAP Trade in Program This new program allows CPAP users with older models trade in their CPAP or BiPAP machine for credit towards the purchase of a new CPAP machine. This program varies by customer to customer and make and model so be sure to call for details! Just think; your CPAP machine could save you hundreds towards a newer model!

The 1800CPAP.com 11 Point CPAP Inspection

1800CPAP.com uses a 11 point inspection prior to shipping any pre-owned, open box special, or floor model demo units. Please feel to contact a product support specialist if you have any questions pertaining to our refurbished inspection program.

•Ionization Air Purifier Containment for 24 Hours

•CPAP Therapy Blower Test

•Factory Default Reset of Settings

•Manometer Calibration To Establish Accurate Pressure Settings

•CPAP Filter Replacement

•Replacement of All CPAP Hoses & Tubing

•Humidifier Heat Test/Heater Plate Inspection

•Humidifier Water Chamber/Tub Replacement

•Data Card Inspection or Replacement

•Replacement of CPAP Owners Manuals

•Final Packaging Disinfection

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ResMed S9 VPAP Adapt SV for Complex Sleep Apnea

S9 VPAP Adapt: Treating Central and Complex Apnea

Finding a place to buy a ResMed S9 VPAP Adapt SV (part numbers 36037, 36047, and 36057) and get a good price can be as rare finding that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow with a leprechaun sitting on top of a unicorn. This is a type of device manufacturers prefer not to be sold from webstore companies. The fact that hardly anyone online sells them leaves a consumer wondering how much these VPAP devices must cost. Well if you are going through insurance, they may be billed as high as $8,500.00 but if you look long and hard enough, they can be found online for as little as $4,000-$4,500. And rather than waiting until the end of this blog to tell you where you can get them, I’m just going to tell you now. Call 1-800-274-1366 and speak with one of our customer service agents about ordering a ResMed S9 VPAP™ Adapt.

Central Sleep Apnea Treatment and Causes

The past few years have revealed a  significant increase in the diagnosis of Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) and Complex Sleep Apnea (CompSA). Many different factors contribute to the increase in these diagnosis; an uptick in public awareness of sleep apnea, escalating use of opiates, pain medication (i.e. opioid induced) and congestive heart failure (CHF). The recommended treatment by most physicians is the use of an adaptive pressure support servo-ventilator (i.e. VPAP Adapt SV or BiPAP Auto SV).

 

Central Sleep Apnea Treatment Options Through Therapy Devices

Most sleep physician’s recommended device used to treat this unique form of sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing is the Philips Respironics BiPAP AutoSV or the ResMed VPAP Adapt SV. Both manufacturers have proven research data showing successful outcomes with the use of these therapy devices and I have seen both devices in use with positive results, however these complex devices do come with a large price tag.
The average billable costs using your health insurance is typically around $8000.00 (take a deep breath from sticker shock). This typically prompts many users to look for less expensive alternatives (i.e. internet searches). Purchasing power through the internet will often times save the user money (about half) on their CPAP supplies but what they do not have is the availability of an on-site respiratory therapist should the patient struggle. For this reason, some manufacturers do not permit the sale of certain respiratory devices online.

Where Can I buy ResMed S9 VPAP Adapt or BiPAP Auto SV?

Stay away from auction sites (meaning person to person sales); most times you may be purchasing a device without warranty, non transferable warranty or expired warranty. Craigslist, EBAY, Amazon, and other sites are not the recommended to purchase CPAP and related supplies. For more information, feel free to contact Jason Smith, RPSGT at 1-800-274-1366

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CPAP Machine Repairs: Services and Options

CPAP Machine Repairs

It seems every day we receive calls from CPAP users that have a malfunctioning CPAP or BiPAP machine that needs repaired or serviced. It sounds to me that some of the home health care companies are dropping the ball when it comes to explaining how CPAP warranty and repair should be handled if their patient ever finds themselves in this predicament. Know your rights as the user and consumer of these CPAP products

Service and Repair

Finding a CPAP repair shop can be as difficult as locating a watery oasis in the desert. These devices are such a specialty that most people don’t know where to turn to. The average life span of a CPAP or BiPAP machine will vary from usually 5-7 years. We do hear of stories of machines lasting 12-13 years but come on, Bigfoot is real too, huh? For repair or service, you should contact the place or company that set you up with the equipment. From there, if it’s not covered under warranty, they will send it to the CPAP manufacturer for a repair estimate. Once a repair cost estimate has been established, it is then up to you to decide if you wish to have it repaired or purchase a new one. From what we have seen, it can be a better cost savings to you to purchase new then to have a defective unit repaired for hundreds of dollars.

If you choose the process to have it repaired you need to ask your home healthcare equipment provider if they will be willing to let you use a “loaner” in the interim. It varies from manufacturer to manufacturer as to the time frame of a CPAP repair.

Warranty

Did you know your CPAP and/or BiPAP machine comes with a manufacturer warranty. For most manufacturers like ResMed and Philips Respironics, the CPAP machine warranty is valid for 2 years; with Fisher and Paykel it’s 2.5 years. With these CPAP warranties, the machine is typically replaced, not repaired, so you get a new one!  How about the humidifier? Sometime the machine works fine but you get that error code message on the CPAP machine that states something is wrong with the humidifier. Good news; the CPAP humidifier is covered under that warranty too!

The next obvious question is “What do I do next?”. You need to contact the provider that originally gave or sold you the CPAP equipment. That company carries the warranty through the manufacturer and should be responsible for the exchange. They will send the device back to the manufacturer and issue you a new one from their stock.

The Cost of Repair Versus Replacement

Be sure to weigh your options as to the cost of the repair versus the purchase of a new CPAP machine. You may be in a situation that you have had the device for so long that future problems may persist even after the repair. There may be newer technology out that gives you better comfort features and user reports that you old CPAP machine does not offer. Using your healthcare insurance may cover the cost of a new one (remember, most will pay for a new machine every 3-5 years or as needed) however you need to figure out what your co-pay and deductible is. Self pay for your CPAP device may save you hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars. Contact a customer support representative at 1800CPAP.com for more details and information about CPAP repair and self pay cost savings.

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Auto CPAP Machines versus Fixed Pressure for Sleep Apnea

Are Auto CPAP Machines Better Than Fixed Pressure CPAP?

Written By: Jason Smith, RPSGT
Co-Written By: Jason Crowe

Date: 2/29/12

There has been an on-going debate in the field of sleep medicine about Auto CPAP machines being used to establish CPAP pressures versus a patient coming back in to the sleep lab for a CPAP titration. Which of these protocols are better? What is the cost analysis of these two processes? And most importantly, what has the better clinical outcome for establishing compliance.

Before we jump head first into this, let me give you a little back ground about my experience as a board registered polysomnographic technologist (RPSGT sleep tech) in the clinical setting. I spent 8 years working for a free standing sleep center that had locations in Ohio and Florida. I was the director of clinical operations responsible for a total of 48 beds in 6 different sleep centers with multiple board certified sleep physicians, so my experiences with in-lab titrations is quite extensive. So with that being said, let’s break down the factors of one versus the other.

Why Do I Need To Have So Many Sleep Tests Done? I Already Know I have Sleep Apnea.

Great question and in some cases individuals with complex  and co-morbid conditions clinical and regimented consultations are absolutely warranted but in the majority of “run of the mill” obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis, consultations and sleep tests can be condensed, saving the patient hundreds to thousands of dollars. It’s sad to say but the patient’s healthcare coverage is evaluated just as much as the patient so the amount of visits and sleep studies may depend on how much or how little coverage you have as a patient.   Listed below are some of the examples we have seen in patient flow for sleep studies once they have entered the sleep lab system.

A. Most common situation:

  1. Initial consultation visit with sleep specialist to discuss sleep apnea or sleep disorders. ($30-$50 avg. co-pay)
  2. In-lab diagnostic sleep study (polysomnography).  ($800-$1,200 depending on your region)
  3. Follow up visit to discuss the results of the in-lab diagnostics sleep study. ($30-$50 avg. co-pay)
  4. If sleep study revealed pathological breathing disorder, patient returns for in-lab CPAP titration to establish pressure and therapy device setting.  ($800-$1,200 depending on your region)
  5. Follow up visit with physician to discuss results of the in-lab CPAP titration.  ($30-$50 avg. co-pay)
  6. CPAP/ Bi-Level or ASV Purchase or Rental and associated supplies.  ($1,200- $6,000 depending on machine, supplies and again, region)
  7. 6-8 week follow up visit to evaluate compliance and adherence to CPAP therapy.  ($30-$50 avg. co-pay)
  8. Whew, can you imagine having to go through all of that just to get a CPAP machine. Sounds expensive, doesn’t it?  In most situations this will run from $2,920 to $8,600!

 

In Lab Sleep Test Polysomnography

1999 Called, They Want Thier Sleep Testing Process Back

B. Split Night Sleep Study Scenario.  (Occasional scenario, depending on how “BAD” your insurance is….)

  1. Initial consultation visit with sleep specialist to discuss sleep apnea or sleep disorders.
  2. In-lab diagnostic sleep study split night (polysomnography PLUS CPAP titration all in one night). Yep, that’s right, read that sentence again. The sleep lab can do BOTH the diagnostics and CPAP titration ALL IN ONE NIGHT.
  3. A follow up consultation and subsequent consultation to establish compliance and adherence.
  4. CPAP, Bi-Level or ASV Rental or Purchase and associated supplies
  5. Initial (3-4 weeks) follow up to see how you are doing with the machine and pressure.
  6. Another follow up to make sure you are compliant for insurance purposes and sometimes to get that additional co-pay!

C. Home Sleep Test Scenario. (Not very often as its less money in the doctor’s pocket and sleep lab’s pocket!)

  1. Initial consultation visit with sleep specialist to discuss sleep apnea.
  2. An At Home Sleep study. Yes, sleep studies can be performed in your own home, your own bed and without the need of 22 leads and sensors. However this applies to candidates that have obvious suspected sleep disordered breathing without co-morbid conditions. (Psst, some insurance companies are insisting this be performed first, prior to any in-lab sleep studies).
  3. Follow up consultation to discuss Home Sleep Test
  4. In-lab CPAP titration to be performed accordingly.
  5. Follow up consultation to discuss initiation of therapy
  6. CPAP/ Bi-Level or ASV Rental or purchase and associated supplies
  7. Initial Follow up (3-4 weeks) to discuss how the first couple of weeks are going.
  8. Another follow up to make sure you are compliant for insurance purposes and sometimes to get that additional co-pay!

D. Home Sleep Test and Auto CPAP Titration

  1. Initial consultation visit with sleep specialist to discuss sleep apnea.
  2. An At Home Sleep study.
  3. Follow up visit and instruction for use of an Auto CPAP device.   Auto CPAP machines have algorithms that detect airway patency and increase and decrease CPAP pressures as needed. In certain positions and stages of sleep, patients are more prone to apneaic events and thus need more pressure versus others.  In many cases, this eliminates the need for an in-lab diagnostic sleep study. Cases studies have shown comparisons of therapy outcomes between in-lab diagnostic titrations versus auto adjusting CPAP devices, please visit the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to view published papers www.aasmnet.org. Dr. Richard Berry has some wonderful insight on this subject; I encourage you to check out his research for The Use of Auto Titrating Continuous Positive Airway Pressure for Treatment of Adult Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
  4. CPAP Rental or Purchase and associated supplies
  5. Initial (3-4 weeks) follow up to see how the first couple of weeks have gone with the CPAP.
  6. Another follow up to make sure you are compliant for insurance purposes and sometimes to get that additional co-pay!

    At Home Sleep Apnea Test Kit

    The New Road of Sleep Apnea Testing Has Been Paved by Home Sleep Testing Devices

 

E. 1800CPAP.com Self Pay Scenario

  1. Phone call or order placed on-line for Home Sleep Test ($349)
  2. Interpretation by Board Certified Sleep Physician ($0, no additional cost to patient)
  3. The sleep study results are reviewed with the patient in detail by a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist.  ($0, no additional cost to patient)
  4. Auto CPAP or Auto Bi-Level is provided with associated supplies ($500- $2,200 depending on if you get an Auto CPAP or Bi-Level)

 

Cost

The cost of an in-lab diagnostic study (polysomnography or polysomnography with CPAP) can be upwards of $2500.00 EACH! These studies are billable to your insurance company, as long as you have good coverage. Adding a full set-up of a CPAP device can be another $2700.00-3500.00 additional and then all of the physician visits will add up accordingly. To break it down even further, scenario # 1 may cost you 8,000.00- 10,000.00 dollars billable to your insurance company by the time you are done, whereas scenario # 4 may cost you as little as $3,000.00 billable to your insurance company. It is no suppose to see with increasing deductible and co-insurance, why so many patients are opting for the 1800CPAP.com home sleep test service and Auto CPAP bundle, a package that can cost as little as $1,000.00 to you out of pocket.

Compliance

So the big question is what is the best thing for me? At the end of the day, compliance and adherence to CPAP therapy is the goal we are all seeking. The commonly used definition of compliance is using your CPAP device at least 4 hours per night and at least 5 nights per week. However, a text book definition of what compliance is doesn’t accurately paint a picture of you as an individual and how your compliance is.

Everyone is different, some CPAP users notice the positive benefits the next day while others may take weeks to months before they notice a difference of how they feel or improved health conditions and symptom reduction. The obvious goal is to use CPAP whenever you sleep, as much as you sleep.

The sleep lab technician and physician face the daunting goal of optimal pressure needed versus patient use, meaning therapeutically you may need 16 cm/H2O to establish airway patency, keep your AHI (apnea hypopnea index below 5 per hour) and keep your oxygen level elevated above 90% but if that pressure setting is too high for you to tolerate, the likelihood of you using therapy as you should decreases and you become non complaint. This begs the questions of which is better, a patient that uses CPAP to a lesser degree of severity ( maybe a severe AHI decreases to a mild AHI) or a patient that doesn’t use the CPAP at all because of pressure tolerance.  Follow up is key and Auto CPAP offers a better chance of compliance through pressure range settings, meaning the device would know you need 16cm/h20 as much as the person in the sleep lab will, however, a pressure threshold can be put in place that doesn’t allow the device to go above 12 cm/h2O  or any pressure that you did tolerate well.

Auto CPAP (APAP) also decreases the need to continual follow up for pressure adjustments. What this means is, say you were on a fixed pressure CPAP for 2 years and dropped 30 lbs, chances are that you need less pressure than when you were first diagnosed and treated . This also can be said for those who have gained weight and need more pressure. Do you feel like you are not getting enough pressure from your CPAP machine? Odds are you probably do if you put on some weight. So what do you do? Go back to the sleep lab for a pressure increase? They will most likely want you to stay at the sleep lab again for a “CPAP Re-Evaluation”, which is another term for repeat CPAP titration. Open your check book again. However, with Auto CPAP, remember that algorithm, it’s still there and only delivers the CPAP pressure that you need without that need to go back to the sleep lab for another study.

 

Closing Thoughts

Other professionals in the sleep community will look at this blog and deem it inaccurate or inappropriate; those people will most likely be the ones that benefit from you running the full spectrum of diagnosis and analysis at their sleep center. The majority of the people in the sleep medicine field will look at this and understand the importance of clinical pathway options and cost analysis for their patients. These sleep specialists are typically the ones that work well with us when it comes to providing therapy devices and supplies to their patients. We are not a perceived threat to these people but rather an option for their patients.  So ask the questions. Am I a good candidate for home sleep testing? Should I be on an Auto CPAP? What will this all cost in the end? Am I better off self paying or using my healthcare insurance?

Disclaimer: The disclaimer provides that such medical information is merely information – not advice. If users need medical advice, they should consult a doctor or other appropriate medical professional. The disclaimer also provides that no warranties are give in relation to the medical information supplied on the website, and that no liability will accrue to the website owner in the event that a user suffers loss as a result of reliance upon the information.

 

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