Q: What is CPAP therapy?
A: CPAP stands for “continuous positive airway pressure,” and it is considered to be the most recommended and effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
A CPAP machine provides air at a constant prescribed pressure through a tube and CPAP mask, which patients suffering from OSA to maintain uninterrupted breathing while sleeping by holding open their airways.
The pressure of the air is determined during your sleep study and your doctor will prescribe you a CPAP machine at that pressure. CPAP therapy is traditionally provided through a nasal mask that seals around the nose. However, more innovative and comfortable options are available and advances in the delivery of CPAP therapy are continually occurring.
For instance, CPAPs with FLEX or EPS technology will offer you exhalation relief. APAP, BiPAP and Bi-Level machines offer various levels of pressure throughout the night and exhalation relief.
Q: What does the term, “humidification” mean in reference to CPAP therapy?
A: Humidification, refers to the process of adding humidity, or moisture, to the CPAP air, which reduces nasal passage irritation – and sometimes, bleeding – due to dryness. Additionally, adding moisture also reduces possible swelling, excess mucous, congestion, and sneezing, and makes patients’ sinuses less susceptible to bacterial infections. Humidification is therefore, a critical part of CPAP therapy.
Q: What comes with my machine?
A: Your machine will come with a six-foot hose, power cord, at least one filter, and manuals. Most manufacturers include a carrying case which is designed specifically for their equipment. Your machine will not come with a delivery system or mask. CPAP masks must be purchased separately.
You’ll find more details and specifics on all of our CPAP / BiPAP equipment in the “Shopping” section of this website, under the “CPAP Machines” sub tab.
Q: What type of power does my CPAP need?
A: Most CPAP and Bi-level (BiPAP) machines today are designed to operate on both AC and DC battery currents. In the United States, the AC current from wall outlets is 110 volts and most batteries produce 12 volts of DC current. Overseas, the AC current is usually 220 or 240 volts.
Q: What maintenance is required on machines?
A: The only care you are required to do for machines is to clean or change the filters at the air intake of the machine to keep the internal parts from accumulating dust.
Here are some more tips on caring for your machine:
- Keep the area around your machine clean and be sure to remove all dust. This will ensure that you continue to receive optimum air quality.
- Keep the air intake of the machine unblocked. Curtains, bedding, and papers can easily block the air intake and reduce the airflow to your machine.
- With most machines, it is easy to spill water from the humidifier into the machine and cause damage. Therefore, if you have a humidifier, avoid picking up your machine when the humidifier is attached. Instead, empty the water from the chamber every morning.
- We highly recommend that you take your machine into Feeling Great’s CPAP clinic every six months to have it re-calibrated and cleaned by one of our certified CPAP clinicians.
Q: I have a big bulky old CPAP machine. Is there a small, less noisy, more compact machine?
A: Yes, there are smaller, more compact machines available for self-paypurchases. One of the customer care representatives at Feeling GreatRespiratory Equipment will be happy to help you choose one that suitsyour needs.
Q: When can I replace my old CPAP machine and get a new one?
A: The type of insurance you have will determine how often you're able to upgrade to a new machine. Most carriers allow you to do so every five years.
Q: I've had my CPAP machine for three weeks and continue to sneeze all day. What may be causing this?
A:You may be experiencing an allergic reaction to the cleaner you are using, so it’s a good idea to try alternate cleaners. Also, if you are using humidity, try using distilled water. You may also be allergic to the materials in your CPAP mask. If you’re not sure, please call us toll free at: 866-499-1588.
Q: How do I travel with my CPAP?
A. Below are some tips for “easy traveling” with your CPAP device.
If you are flying:
- Don’t check your CPAP machine, because it can easily get broken. Rather, take it with you on the plane; it will not be counted as one of your “carry-on” bags. It is also a good idea to put a copy of your prescription in your CPAP bag, so it's always handy if you need it.
- Call your airline ahead of time to find out if they have any instructions or special procedures for bringing your CPAP machine on the plane with you, and for getting through security.
- Most airlines do not allow passengers to use their CPAP devices during flights. If you need to make special arrangements, call your airline ahead of time.
If you are driving or camping:
- If your machine has the ability to run off of 12V (check your owners manual) then you will be able to run your machine off of either a battery, or plug it into the cigarette lighter adapter in your car / RV if you purchase the proper cables.
- We sell battery adapter cables for those who wish to bring their CPAP camping in the wilderness. You’ll find these in our online store.
- A 12V deep cycle marine battery or a motorcycle battery are recommended for the longest life between charges. The life span of the battery depends on its rating and what your pressure setting is on your machine.
Q: How do I get rid of build-up in my water chamber?
A: Below are two useful tips for getting rid of build-up in your machine's chamber.
- Daily: pour out last night’s water, rinse and air-dry.
- Weekly: Disinfect 1 part white (distilled) vinegar, 2 parts water (approximately 1/3 cup of white vinegar to 2/3 cup water); shake untilthe entire inside surface is coated and let it sit 15-20 minutes. Rinse clear andsmell to be sure all vinegar is gone.
Q: Should I use special water in my humidifier?
A: You should always use distilled water in your humidifier to prevent the buildup of mineral deposits on your water chamber. This will significantly prolong its life.
Q: What are the most frequent side effects that I’m likely to experience during CPAP therapy?
A: The two most common side effects are dry mouth (which can be relieved by increasing the humidity level on your machine) and feelings of"air" in the stomach (which is usually relieved when our patients change their sleeping positions).
Q: How often should I change my CPAP filters?
A: At a minimum you should change your filters once a month. We, however, recommend that you do so twice per month (and this is the amount allowed by most insurance carriers). You should definitely change your filters, however, if you notice any discoloring. Additionally, you should wash and dry your filters as needed.
Q: I feel like my therapy may not be working because my machine is making loud noises and there’s a lot of air blowing from my mask? What should I do?
A: Either your mask is fitted incorrectly or your seal is wearing out, and needs to be replaced.