Hello, how can we help you?
We are here to not only sell you the products you need to get a better night’s sleep but to also help you answer any questions you may have on our products, how to use them or what to look for in a quality system.
You can definitely snore and not have obstructive sleep apnea. Rarely, you can have obstructive sleep apnea and not snore.
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It is a quiet air compressor that forces room air into your nose, mouth, or both that acts as a pneumonic stint to hold your airway open to prevent something called sleep apnea. Apnea (meaning cessation of air) is a term used to describe when people stop breathing at night.
With sleep apnea, the airway closes like (imagine) a drinking straw being squeezed closed. The only way to open our metaphorical straw (airway) is to tighten the muscle surrounding the straw to open the airway again. To tighten the muscles to relieve pressure to the airway, the body must wake up. These constant wake-ups are called micro arousals. Since they are typically less than 30 seconds – our minds don’t put them into memory and so you have no idea you are having to wake up all night to open your airway. You typically do realize though that you are way more tired than you should be and you are also more likely to fall asleep at inopportune times.
Unfortunately, it is. If we go back to our drinking straw analogy, when the straw is closed our lungs keep trying to suck air against a closed airway. Since air can’t get in, we end up causing what is called a negative intra-thoracic vacuum. That negative-pressure-vacuum forces our heart to work harder (increasing heart rate and blood pressure) as well as even forcing things back up our digestive tract (causing heartburn and reflux). Its connection to diabetes has to do with our bodies essentially going into “fight of flight” all night long as we are literally fighting to breathe. A lot of severe sufferers know that “fight or flight” feeling because they’ve woken up with that anxiety (and usually didn’t know why). Finally, most people do not realize how tired they are until their sleep apnea is under control.
Sleep studies are still the best chance to know definitively if you have obstructive sleep apnea. Also, a titration CPAP study in a sleep lab is the best way to know how much CPAP pressure is needed to hold your airway open. If you are very opposed to a sleep study, some doctors will write you a prescription for an auto-set CPAP device. The pressure on these machines will automatically adjust as needed and you can try using CPAP at home. It is not recommended to just try to sleep with a random CPAP setting (typically 5-20). As too much or too little pressure can do more harm than good. Most current auto-set CPAP devices on the market are capable of delivering the correct amount of air by sensing the severity of your sleep apnea.
Yes, we put “a man on the moon” and still our best treatment option for this disorder is strapping a mask to our face and trying to go sleep. Unfortunately, most of the other treatment options only work for very mild apnea or severe snoring without apnea. If you have moderate to severe apnea measured by an AHI (Apnea Hypopnea Index) greater than 15, very few other treatment options will work for you.
Waking with abdominal bloating may be a sign that you are swallowing air while using the CPAP. For some people this can be alleviated by adjusting your sleeping position. There is no correct position, so you may need to experiment a little. If changing positions does not help, contact your physician. He/she may want to decrease your pressure a little to see if the bloating or belching stops.
There are several reasons why people might remove their masks while sleeping. We suspect that the most common reasons involve the pressure setting and inadequate air supply. For instance, if the pressure is set too low or the mask is leaking significantly, air supply may be diminished. If the pressure is too high, it may be too difficult to exhale against it or may cause the mask to leak.
The CPAP/Bilevel machines on the market today have a variety of functions ranging from a basic unit with no bells and whistles to units with various functions which may or may not be of benefit to you. Your physician will be able to guide you in choosing the best machine for you. If you would like to do some research yourself, see our product comparison chart and/or visit the websites for each manufacturer listed in the Resources page . You are welcome to call our staff for information as well.
A CPAP machine has one set pressure measured in CM of water or (CM H2O). This was the pressure your sleep study showed you would need to hold your airway open and stop sleep apnea. (The average is roughly 10 cm H2O). BiLevel, BiPAP, or VPAP has 2 set pressures – one as you are breathing in (Inspiratory) and a set lower you are breathing out (Expiratory). Auto-set or APAP is an automatically adjusting machine that changes all night to the pressure setting you need to keep your airway open. Most CPAP’s and Autoset’s have built in Expiratory pressure relief or Cflex that does reduce the CPAP pressure as you are exhaling.
Too much pressure or too little pressure can do more harm than good.
The filter should be changed whenever it becomes discolored or at least once a month.
The pressure ordered by your physician was chosen based on your test results or individual needs for the best therapeutic results. Positive airway pressure requires a prescription just as any other medical product or drug does. Therefore, a medical equipment supplier cannot show a patient how to change the prescription without a physician’s order to do so.
Any battery supplier should be able to help you find the right battery to fit your power needs. You will need to provide information regarding the electrical specifications of your machine. It is important to check with the manufacturer of your particular machine first.
There are a few machines on the market that do come with a battery pack. We carry these products.
Yes. Most manufacturers make an adaptor for their machines.
Yes. Most newer machines will automatically convert. Keep in mind that you will require an adaptor which will allow you to use a US power cord in an overseas outlet.
The answer is almost always yes. We have very small travel machines available for purchase.
Newer CPAP machines have the feature of auto altitude adjust, it has the ability to adjust your pressure automatically whenever you change elevations. Atmospheric pressure changes at different elevations, so the CPAP must be able to adjust accordingly to provide the correct pressure.