Purchasing a CPAP Machine
While recent surgeries have become readily more available for the treatment of sleep apnea, the most popular, effective, and safest way of treating your sleeping disorder is still CPAP therapy. CPAP, also known as continuous positive airway pressure, is a machine that is designed to keep your airway open while your sleep, helping you breathe regularly, resulting in a more natural sleep. The better you sleep, the more effective you are the next day, and the healthier you’ll be in the long run. While we have seen severe cases of sleep apnea resulting in death, such as beloved NFL player Reggie White, the disorder still remains untreated for the majority of users. Stats have shown that nearly 80 percent of individuals suffering from the disorder don’t know, or are untreated. This presents a big problem for users, as the issues may be wider spread than we even know, and users who are untreated may be suffering daily, whether it’s affecting your ability to work or complete daily activities, lacking energy can have a big influence on any one individual.
While sleep apnea can be treated in numerous ways, we at CPAPMan focus strictly on CPAP therapy, IE using a CPAP machine to treat your disorder. This blog is going to detail the process of getting diagnosed with sleep apnea, getting prescribed a type of machine (whether it’s a traditional fixed pressure, an auto machine, or a Bi-Level which is intended to treat a more severe form known as central sleep apnea), shopping for your machine, and picking out all of the necessary part’s you’ll need to undergo successful treatment. I will also go into some details about daily cleaning of your device, as just purchasing the machine is only the first step, making sure to use it nightly, and to take proper care of it, will result in better sleep!
Step 1: Getting Diagnosed with Sleep Apnea
Traditionally, users would have to go to sleep clinics to take studies, but if you’re like me and most individuals, sleeping in a foreign place on a bed that is not yours is not easy. How can you effectively get diagnosed if you’re not even able to sleep peacefully? While sleep centers are still available, at home sleep studies have become increasingly more popular. One, they’re much less expensive, and two, you can use it at home in your own bed. After undergoing studies, the place where you rented you at home device (in this case, CPAPMan.com of course) can read your information and give users who tested positive a prescription from a medical doctor.
Step 2: Buying the Right CPAP Machine
Once you’ve been prescribed a machine, it’s time to choose the device that works best for your needs. There are four different types of machines, fixed pressure, which will be set at your prescribed setting throughout the night. These machines are traditional, but have become less popular throughout the years to the auto CPAP machines, which can be set at a range between 4 and 20, and will fluctuate on every breath based off your needs. We talked a little bit about central sleep apnea, a more severe diagnosis which will result in the need of either a BiPAP (bi-level CPAP machine) or VPAP. These machines tend to have a wider range (from 4 to up to 40) of pressure, and offer a different technology that will help simulate breathing for you. VPAP and BiPAP machines are intended strictly for CSA, which only 2 percent of sleep apnea suffers have, and are not intended to treat traditional obstructive sleep apnea.
Step 3: I have my Machine, Now What?
Buying a machine is just the first part of the purchasing phase, you’ll also need a CPAP Mask. There are four different types of masks available, Nasal, Nasal Pillow, Full Face, and Oral, and within those mask types you’ll find hundreds of different masks. In general, the style of mask is most important, once you know what type you’ll need, you can choose any mask within that type that fits your budget and comfort needs. Comfort is important when it comes to selecting a mask, if you’re not comfortable, you won’t use it, so find the mask that best fits you, and keep using it. At CPAPMan, we provide cushions, headgears, and other replacement parts for most if not all of the masks we sell, but remember to routinely replace parts as they break down, as fit will have an impact on your therapy.
A quick side note for you, the reason masks don’t come with machine purchases is that all of our masks work with all of our CPAP machines, and we, like the manufacturers, want to provide you with the opportunity to choose the best mask for your therapy.
Step 4: Machine, Mask, Anything Else?
In general, most of what you’ll need will come with your machine. You’ll get a couple of filters, your CPAP tubing (heated or traditional depending on the machine and what your purchased), humidifier if you chose one, the user guide, travel bag, and the SD card (comes with most but not all machines). If you purchased your mask, you’ll be good to go with your therapy! Filters should be replaced regularly, disposable or reusable at different periods. Remember to clean the reusable ones every week, and pay attention to the buildup and dispose when needed. Each environment is different.
There are other available options that may make your therapy more comfortable, such as a CPAP pillow or hose lift to reduce tangling, and there are things that make cleaning more sanitary and easier to do, like the SoClean II CPAP Sanitizer, or mask wipes and sprays. All of these items are not necessary, but may make your therapy more comfortable. Those purchases are luxuries and really up to each individual user.
Step 5: Cleaning and Maintaining your Device
We’ve written a few blogs on this before, so I’ll let you read those to refresh your memory. The most important things I can tell you is to do it every day! Cushions, headgears, frames, tubes, and don’t forget about pouring out excess humidifier water and refilling it nightly, with distilled water! New fresh water daily will improve your therapy and health.
For first time users, purchasing a CPAP can be a whirlwind experience. Our customer service team is the best in the industry, and if you’re in need of some help, please get in touch with them, whether it’s over the phone, email, or chat, and we’ll make sure that when you’re ready, you’ll be comfortable throughout the process. Let’s work together on treating sleep apnea one patient at a time!