FAQs Regarding CPAP Machines and Masks
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a form of therapy for sleep apnea that allows for a steady stream of air to flow back and forth from the lungs in order to make it possible for “uninterrupted breathing and unobstructed airways during sleep.”
This is done by way of a CPAP machine and a mask worn over the face. The CPAP blows steady constant pressure all through the night. Let’s look at some common questions that CPAP users have regarding the equipment.
What maintenance is necessary in regard to CPAP machines?
There is not a great deal of maintenance involved. You need to keep the machine as clean as possible and as discussed in the above question, replace the filter on average every two to three months.
Now that I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, what next?
The first thing you must do is invest in the best CPAP equipment that you can. In particular this means finds a mask that fits comfortably and then wearing it faithfully every night for optimum results.
The next thing you should do is reassure yourself that you are not alone with your sleep apnea problems by getting in touch with either an online or a real time community of likeminded individuals.
It is necessary to replace the disposable parts of the CPAP equipment as applicable. For example filters should be changed every two to three months and masks about every six months. Often the consequence of not replacing equipment as required is sinus problems and nasal congestion.
Can I mix and match brands in regards to the CPAP machine and masks?
If you want to use different brands you might want to check with the manufacturers of both but for the most part most brands of machines and masks are compatible. However sometimes APAP machines cannot be used in conjunction with all CPAP masks. When in doubt, take the time to fond out!
What comes with the CPAP machine when it is delivered?
Besides the actual CPAP machine you will receive a special hose to attach it to the mask (which on average is anywhere from four to six feet long), an instruction manual and a case for transporting it. The CPAP mask is a separate item that must be purchased on its own.
What is a nasal mask?
A nasal mask is an excellent mask for those who are just beginning CPAP therapy. It fits comfortably around the nose and is held there by way of special headgear or straps.
What is a full-face mask?
As the name implies, the full-face mask covers more of the face then the nasal mask, as it takes in the mouth as well. This type also makes use of straps or headgear and is the best choice for those who prefer to breathe through their mouths instead of their noses.
If I need to change the pressure setting on the CPAP machine how do I go about it?
It is a patient’s doctor who usually makes this decision and once he or she has ordered a pressure change it can be done in one of two ways. First of all the majority of sleep clinics or sleep laboratories will send a technician out to change it for little if any cost to the patient.
Secondly, a patient can purchase what is known as a manometer which is a very small and accurate device that will allow you to make the pressure setting change as is necessary.