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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.

Masks

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.

Masks

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.

Once the packaging has been opened on the mask, we are unable to take it back and refund you. We are available by phone to answer any questions you may have about any product.  If you’re unsure what type of machine or mask you use – just give us a call we can help you figure it out.

In most cases a dry mouth indicates that a person is breathing through their mouth while sleeping. Since a mouth-breather using only a nasal mask is not receiving adequate therapy, usually this can be remedied by using a chin strap to keep the mouth closed or a full face mask that covers the mouth and nose, allowing a person to continue to breathe through the mouth.

Usually red marks cannot be completely avoided. However, if the marks are painful or become open sores, your mask is not a proper fit, or it is not adjusted correctly. Contact your physician or medical equipment provider for help fitting your mask. You may also visit the manufacturer website to obtain a printable fitting guide for your specific mask.

The cushion or pillows of your mask should be washed daily with a mild soap and water. It is important to remove the natural oil your skin leaves behind on your mask as it affects the quality of the seal. Please see the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning your specific mask.

Mask cushions should be replaced every 3-6 months.  After 6 months, studies have shown that they can no longer be cleaned effectively.  Headgear should also be replaced every 6 months.

There are two major things to look for when deciding whether or not to replace your mask:
1. Does the headgear seem to be stretched out? Are you having to tighten it to maintain a proper seal?
2. Does the cushion or pillows seem to be too soft? Are you having difficulty getting a consistent seal? Are you having to tighten the headgear to maintain the seal?

If you can answer yes to either question, it is probably time to for a replacement. If your headgear is still in good condition, but your cushion or pillows have softened, just replace those.

A nasal mask delivers air pressure through the nose only. A full face mask is designed to cover both the nose and mouth for those people who tend to breathe through the mouth while sleeping.

A nasal pillow mask has two nasal inserts that rest just inside the nostrils to deliver the pressure. The nasal inserts are called pillows, and the mask resembles the cannula used to deliver oxygen. Cannulas are much smaller and do not seal the nostrils like a nasal pillows mask, however.  Studies have shown nasal pillows are best for long-term compliance with CPAP usage.

An oral mask delivers CPAP pressure just like any other mask; however it is worn in the mouth. It does not cover the nose at all. The benefit would be avoiding the irritation that nasal and full face masks can cause to the skin. However, you must be only able to breathe through your mouth, and you must always use a humidifier to prevent dryness. The only oral mask available on the market right now is the Oracle™ by Fisher & Paykel Healthcare.

The simple answer is yes.  The only exception is the Resmed Airmini.  It can only be used with Resmed P10, N20, and F20 masks.

HUMIDIFIERS

The humidifier moistens the air that you are breathing through your CPAP. The moisture is important for the comfort and health of your nasal passages and airway. However, the amount or temperature of the moisture is subjective to each person. People who have hayfever/allergies, chronic congestion, or dry nasal/sinus passages, and people who live in very dry climates, benefit from using a humidifier.

No. Most of the machines we carry can operate separately from the humidifier.

Water filtration systems do not remove all of the minerals naturally present in the water. The minerals will damage the metal portion of the humidifier reservoir. Distilled water is recommended because of its lack of minerals.

In most cases a dry mouth indicates that a person is breathing through their mouth while sleeping. Since a mouth-breather using only a nasal mask is not receiving adequate therapy, usually this can be remedied by using a chin strap to keep the mouth closed or a full face mask that covers the mouth and nose, allowing a person to continue to breathe through the mouth.

You may need more humidity. Check your humidifier setting. If it is set low, increase to a higher temperature. The increased temperature should increase the amount of humidity you are receiving.

It depends on the device model.  Some models have a separately attached humidifier while others have an integrated design.

You are experiencing something called “rain out.”  It means your humidifier temperature is significantly higher than your bedroom.  Condensation is formed in the hose and as it cools it will drip through to you.  You can lower your humidity settings or consider a CPAP machine that uses a heated tube or coil.

Tubing
CPAP /BILEVEL MACHINES

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.