WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA ?
Sleep Apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Sleep apnea is caused by the blockage of the airway during sleep. It occurs when the muscles in the upper airway of the throat collapse, which interferes with proper breathing.
Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. These pauses in breathing may occur 30 times or more in an hour. Typically, normal breathing starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.
Sleep Apnea usually is a chronic (ongoing) condition that disrupts your sleep. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep. The brain will arouse the person from deepest sleep to allow the resumption of airflow. While this may not wake the person fully, it will disrupt his or her sleep cycles. Because of this, sleep apnea sufferers rarely get a full night’s rest.
As a result of these continuing disruptions in sleep, the quality of your sleep is poor which makes you tired during the day. Sleep Apnea is the leading cause of excessive daytime sleepiness. This condition also results in slow refexes, poor concentration, and an increased risk of accidents such as falling asleep while driving. Sleep Apnea can also lead to serious health problems over time, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and weight gain.
WHAT CAUSES SLEEP APNEA ?
There are three types of Sleep Apnea
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. It occurs when the soft tissue in the back of your throat relaxes during sleep and blocks (obstructs) the airway causing shallow breathing or breathing pauses. When you try to breathe, any air that squeezes past the blockage can cause loud snoring. These brief arousals interfere with sleep and prevent people with OSA from reaching the deep, restorative stages of sleep, such as rapid eye movement (REM)sleep, which the body needs in order to rest and replenish its strength. Once breathing is restored, people with OSA fall asleep only to repeat the cycle throughout the night. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in people overweight but it can affect anyone. Healthy men, women and children of all ages may suffer from OSA.
The pauses in breathing that occur with OSA can cause a drop in your blood oxygen level as your lungs are deprived of oxygen for those periods of time that your breathing is restricted.
Other predisposing factors associated with OSA include:
Use of alcohol
Use of sedative drugs (that relax the muscles surrounding the upper airway)
Smoking (which can cause inflammation, swelling and narrowing of the upper airway)
Medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, acromegaly and even nasal congestion
- Central Sleep Anea is a much less common type of sleep apnea that involves the central nervous system, occurring when the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing. As a result, you’ll make no effort to breathe for brief periods. People with central sleep apnea seldom snore. Although central sleep apnea can affect anyone, it is more common in people who have certain medical conditions ( heart disease, stroke, neurological disease, or spinal or brainstem injury) or use certain medications.
- Complex Sleep Apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF OSA ?
- Loud Snoring: If pauses occur while you snore, and if choking or gasping follow these pauses, these are major signs that you have sleep apnea
- Periods of not breathing (apnea)
- Awakening not feeling rested in the morning
- Abnormal daytime sleepiness: Falling asleep at inappropriate times. Do you fight sleppiness during the day, at work, or while driving? You may find yourself falling asleep during the quiet moments of the day when your’re not active.
- Morning Headaches
- Weight Gain
- Feeling irritable, depressed, or having mood swings or personality changes
- Memory Loss
- Limited Attention
WHAT HAPPENS IF SLEEP APNEA IS NOT TREATED ?
If left untreated, the consequences of sleep apnea can severely affect a person’s quality of life. This can lead to depression, irritability, sexual dysfunction, learning and memory difficulties, and decreases in daily productivity. More serious health conditions that can be aggravated by sleep apnea are diabetes, heart conditions, weight gain and hypertension. Risk for heart attack and stroke may also increase in those with sleep apnea.
WHAT TO DO AFTER BEING DIAGNOSED WITH SLEEP APNEA?
After being diagnosed with sleep apnea, Cpaps Etc highly recommends taking the following steps:
1. Get the Best Equipment. Treating sleep apnea successfully starts with having the proper equipment and using it on a nightly basis. Comfort is a crucial factor when choosing your CPAP equipment which will increase the consistency of use. Cpaps Etc provides a hassle free alternative to the stress of dealing with private insurance companies to obtaining CPAP equipment and supplies. We also highly recommend that people recently diagnosed with sleep apnea visit our retail store to allow for a CPAP mask fitting and instructional guide to operating your machine. We want you to be confident in using your CPAP equipment and getting a good night’s rest.
2. Replace Disposable Equipment Regularly. CPAP filters, tubing, and mask parts will not last forever and need to be replaced regularly ensuring you get the highest quality of sleep apnea therapy treatment. Make this process easier by joining our 6 month resupply group so you never have to worry about replacing CPAP equipment parts. Also, check our replacement schedule here for guidelines.
3. Stay informed. Advances in sleep apnea therapy have increased exponentially over the last decade and manufacturers are always bring new CPAP products to market with goals of making the therapy simpler and more comfortable. Sign up for our newsletter on our homepage to stay updated on newly released products and sleep apnea therapies.
I AM A NEW USER, WHAT DO I NEED TO BUY?
Everyone with sleep apnea who intends to use a sleep apnea machine will need a hose (tubing), power cord, filters, and a CPAP mask. Every CPAP machine comes with power cord, tubing, and filters while the CPAP mask is sold separately. Other accessories including humidifiers, CPAP software, travel bags, chinstraps, and extra supplies can be purchased as you become familiar with the therapy treatments.
WHY DO I HAVE TO USE THIS MACHINE?
The primary reason for a CPAP machine is because you have sleep apnea and want to improve your quality of life. Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. A few different types of sleep apnea exist including Obstructive, Central, and Mixed. Sometimes the machine may seem like a hassle but this is greatly outweighed by the positive health effects the therapy will have on your body. Do not discount or underestimate the risks of sleep apnea which can have short and long term risks.
WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF USING THE CUSTOM CPAP BED PILLOWS?
A traditional bed pillow can effect the seal of your CPAP mask during movement while sleeping. The custom CPAP pillows are specially designed to enhance comfort and prevent the mask from moving while you sleep.
WHAT IF MY PRESSURE SEEMS TOO HIGH?
For first time CPAP users, the experience of additional airflow can take 1-2 weeks to adjust to the pressure. If you still feel the pressure is too high, please contact your physician before any adjustments can be made. Patience with the therapy sessions is crucial during the initial stages while you become comfortable with the equipment. Using an auto CPAP machine will also guarantee you are getting the correct pressure alleviating these concerns.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CPAP AND BIPAP THERAPY?
CPAP therapy is used for patients who have been diagnosed with OSA (Obstructive sleep apnea) and only require one continuous pressure. BiPAP therapy is generally utilized for patients who have more complex forms of sleep disorders. BiPAP therapy allows for both inhalation and exhalation pressures to be set at different ranges. Your physician will always determine which therapy type you need.
WHAT IF I CONTINUE TO EXPERIENCE MASK LEAKAGE DURING THE NIGHT?
Mask leakage can be traced back to a variety of issues starting with the seal of the mask on the face. Our first recommendation is to pull the CPAP mask away from the face so that the seal can be properly inflated. Next gently set the CPAP mask back into place to get the correct seal. Another common problem is having your CPAP mask pressed too tight against the face. Loosening the headgear to allow proper inflation of the seal could help resolve a leaking mask. Many CPAP users believe that the mask should have zero leaks but this is often not true. All CPAP masks will leak from time to time which can be solved by simply adjusting the mask or replacing worn out parts if the mask is showing signs of age.
HOW LONG IS MY PRESCRIPTION GOOD FOR?
A prescription is good for life when purchasing CPAP supplies out of pocket. Once your CPAP prescription is in our database, there will never be a need to supply another one. Please call us if you need help in obtaining a prescription for your doctor.
WHY DOES THE MACHINE MAKE A POPPING NOISE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT?
Condensation may have formed causing water to get into the tubing. Air dry the tubing by turning the machine on and letting it dry out the tubing.
WHY DO I SOMETIMES WAKE IN THE MORNING AND FIND THAT I AM NO LONGER WEARING MY CPAP MASK?
There are several reasons why people might remove their masks while sleeping including the use of the wrong pressure settings or an inadequate air supply. For example, if the pressure is set too low or the mask is leaking significantly, air supply will be diminished. If the pressure is too high, it can be difficult to exhale against the air flow or cause the mask to leak. You may also just need some time to adjust to the CPAP mask and sleep apnea therapy.
WHY DO I HAVE TO USE DISTILLED WATER IN MY HUMIDIFIER?
Water filtration systems do no remove all of the minerals naturally present in water. The minerals will damage the metal portion of the humidifier reservoir. Distilled water is highly recommended due to the absence of minerals.