Tips For Using And Maintaining Your CPAP Machine

A CPAP machine is a device that delivers a steady stream of pressurized air that prevents the airways from collapsing during sleep. CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) machines are typically used for sleep apnea or for other breathing orders that occur when the individual is asleep. Special types of CPAP equipment are also used for premature babies to facilitate breathing until their lungs are developed.

There are different types of sleep apnea, with Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA as the most common form. With OSA, the muscles at the back of the throat relax during sleep and collapse the airways, restricting air into the lungs. This results in breathing stopping and starting throughout the night, gasping for air during sleep, snoring, headaches, insomnia, and excessive sleepiness during the day.

It is estimated that up to 9% of men and up to 4% of women over 30 have sleep apnea. Over half of all diagnosed men and women are over the age of 40. According to the Centers for Disease Control, as many as 10 million adults in the USA currently have sleep apnea but are not diagnosed to treated.

The risk factors for sleep apnea become more likely for older adults, specifically for men, and those who are overweight. Other issues can include the use of alcohol or other substances or medications that cause muscle relaxation, a family history of sleep apnea, and health issues such as Type 2 diabetes, heart failure, high blood pressure, asthma, or other diseases of the lungs.

Using a CPAP Machine

There are different styles and options in machines, but typically all CPAP equipment has the same general components. These include a mask that covers the nose or the nose and mouth, a flexible hose that connects the mask to the machine, and the actual CPAP machine. The machine sits on a bedside table and is about the size of a larger old-style portable radio.

The machine pulls in air from the room, filters it and purifies it, and then sends a steady stream of air at a set pressure through the nose to the mask. The mask is held in place with adjustable straps that go behind the head. Depending on the specifics of your breathing condition, your doctor in Missoula, Montana, may recommend a specific type of CPAP machine.

Keep in mind, there are multiple parts in any CPAP machine. Often problems with the effectiveness of the machine can be traced back to using the wrong replacement part or not setting up the machine correctly once it arrives at your home. A home healthcare provider in Missoula, Montana, is a great resource to help set up the machine and to review how to use the equipment correctly. It is critical to clean the mask and tube daily and replace these components based on the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Comfort Concerns

For most individuals, the most challenging issue in using the CPAP equipment is becoming comfortable with the mask. New mask designs are more streamlined and cover only the nose, which may be an option based on your physician’s recommendations. Make sure the mask fits correctly and be consistent with use to get comfortable with the equipment and the pressurized air.