Choosing CPAP Machines to Treat Sleep Apnea
CPAP machines are used to treat diagnosed sleep apnea, which is a serious condition if it remains untreated. Simply put, sleep apnea is when individuals stop breathing for short amounts of time during sleep. This disorder can led to more significant health problems, including chronic fatigue and heart conditions due to a lack of rest. Fortunately, obstructive sleep apnea - which is the most common form of this condition - is easy to treat with a CPAP machine. The letter CPAP stand for continuous positive airway pressure, which refers to the oxygen the machine delivers to those with apnea during sleep. While choosing a CPAP machine may feel intimidating, this process is easier than you think. Here are simple steps t choosing CPAP machines to treat sleep apnea.
Before going out and shopping for a CPAP machine, it’s important for individuals to first get a prescription for one. To get a prescription, patients need to participate in an overnight sleep study in a sleep clinic. While home sleep tests might be an option, it is best to go to a sleep clinic to be diagnosed. After the initial sleep study and diagnosis, technicians determine what air pressure is right so that the CPAP machine can be correctly calibrated. Many CPAP machines are outfitted with memory chips that help doctors measure their patients’ sleep habits, so it’s important to get a CPAP machine as soon as possible if prescribed. Patients can then take the prescription for a CPAP machine to an equipment retailer.
While the sleep center may have CPAP machines to fill the prescription, it is often a good idea to shop around. There are many durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers who rent and sell these machines, as well as online retailers. Insurance policies may cover part or all of the cost of the CPAP machines, and can work with some retailers to secure what patients need. When shopping around, make sure to ask if there are trial periods and exchange or return policies, especially when first trying out the equipment.
While the CPAP machines are pretty standard, it can be more challenging for individuals to find CPAP masks that fit comfortably enough for the whole night. There are four types of CPAP masks: nasal pillows, nasal masks, full-face masks, and oral masks. Individuals should try out the fit of each one and work with their sleep clinic to find the mask that will work well. Many insurance companies will replace CPAP masks a few times a year; keeping these masks and switching them out occasionally relieves pressure and possible irritation. Many CPAP machines come with optional accessories, such as battery backup, insulated sleeves, and hose extensions.