Sleep apnea is a sleep breathing disorder. It is characterized by repetitive pauses in breathing, which may occur several times per hour and may last for 10 seconds. It is usually a chronic condition. It results in poor sleep quality and excessive sleepiness in daytime. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea while the less common type is central sleep apnea. If untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of a heart attack, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, and diabetes. It may cause an irregular heartbeat, increased risk of heart failure, and a greater risk of driving accident or work-related accident.
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition that requires long-term treatment. Treatment is in the form of breathing devices such as mouthpieces, CPAP mask, and other devices. Another option is surgery and lifestyle changes.
CPAP is also known as continuous positive airway pressure therapy. It makes use of a machine that helps a person who has obstructive sleep apnea. The machine increases the air pressure in our throat so that the airway doesn’t collapse when we breathe in. It makes breathing easy during sleep.
The machine will have a mask that covers the nose and mouth. If the mask only covers the nose, it is called as nasal continuous positive airway pressure or NCPAP. It also has prongs that can fit into the nose. It is the most effective nonsurgical treatment for sleep apnea. However, there may be certain problems associated with it, which include:
- Excessive dreaming
- Sore throat
- Dry nose
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Abdominal bloating
- Leaks around the mask if it does not properly fit
- Skin and eye irritation
One of the rare complications is a nosebleed. This method is considered better than other nonsurgical methods. Researchers have shown that those who use CPAP have less daytime sleepiness, depression, and less likely to have heart problems or heart failure. It has shown to lower blood pressure during the day and at nighttime in people who have moderate to severe sleep apnea and those who use NCPAP.
The masks and headgears come in different styles and sizes. The person will need to try different mask styles and find the one with the best combination, so that it provides comfort and is efficient for him. Proper sizing is essential for comfort and for better performance. Some masks provide comfort, freedom of movement, and at the same time, improve sleep therapy. Some may have a "tip-of-the-nose" cushion that sits below the nose bridge and makes minimal contact with the face. Some masks are light, small, and traditional, which offer simplicity, comfort, and seal.
- The area that comes into contact with the face is usually cushioned with medical-grade latex-free materials to reduce the chances of skin irritation. However, this can cause trouble to people whose skin is sensitive to gel, silicone, foam, plastic, or cloth.
- It has a headgear so that the mask stays in place. Support accessories can be added to it.
- The tubing along with the delivery system is supposed to fit snugly into the mask.
- The mask should be fitting to avoid the leaking of pressurized air.
- Masks will have areas to release the exhaled carbon dioxide.
- Some come with replaceable parts.
- Cleaning and safe storage are essential to avoid damage and promote longevity.
SoClean CPAP Cleaner
It is a machine that cleans, disinfects, and sanitizes CPAP masks, machine, hose, water reservoirs, and other fittings. There is no need to dismantle the masks. The machine makes use of stimulated oxygen cleaning. It wipes out any viruses, mold, or bacteria that may make occupy a CPAP machine.
The mask is put in a black box and the timer is set. The activated machine is pumped out through the CPAP mask, reservoir, and hose. Mold and bacteria are wiped out within minutes. It also kills viruses upon contact. The best feature of this machine is that without removing the reservoir, hose, or mask, 99 percent of the cleaning can be done, which is effective without the use of chemicals or water.
It is the smallest and lightest CPAP machine available in the market. It can be used for traveling. It has a travel pouch, tube, and a power adapter. It has a white and a black machine. The white one is the fixed pressure machine and the black one is the auto. It has the following features:
- Z-Breathe - CPAP users normally find it difficult to exhale against the pressure exerted by the CPAP machine. The Z1 CPAP uses the Z-Breathe algorithm, which learns the breathing pattern of the user, and on exhalation, relieves machine pressure.
- Extremely Light - It is the lightest CPAP machine weighing only 295 grams, which is ideal for traveling.
Known as the bilevel positive airway pressure machine, it provides variable inspiratory pressure, which makes it easier to inhale, and a lower expiratory pressure, which makes it easier to exhale. The three modes of operation are:
- Spontaneous - It senses the switch in breathing, so it switches between inspiratory and expiratory machine.
- Timed - To ensure that the prescribed breaths per minute is maintained, it switches between inspiratory and expiratory at a programmed rate.
- Spontaneous/Timed - It switches as its senses changes in breathing. The timed mode ensures that the breathing rate at the required breaths per minute is maintained.
Small CPAP Machine
CPAP has tremendously improved when it comes to its size. These handy CPAP machines are often marketed as "travel CPAP". One example is the Z1 Travel CPAP Machine by HDM. It only weighs 10 ounces and can fit in the palm of your hand.
It can be used for camping, long-distance traveling, places where there are power outages, and other "off the grid" locations. Its benefits include portability, wherein it can be taken to places where there is limited access to electricity.
- Charging Capability - If needed for several nights, then make sure to adequately charge the machine. You can use a battery backup that uses a solar power charging feature or a separate stand-alone battery with additional adapters.
- Power - A lot of battery power is needed for its use.
- Performance - In the delivery of pressurized air, a noticeable difference can be felt, especially for those who need a higher pressure. More effort in breathing may be needed.
CPAP Full Face Mask
It seals around the nose and mouth in the shape of a triangle. It is held in place by a headgear. It is usually used by people who breathe through their mouth during sleep and do not wish to use or did not succeed using the nasal mask and chinstrap.
Full face masks are heavier and bulkier because they cover the nose as well as the mouth. When people sleep with their mouth open, they usually select full face or hybrid masks. This is for the airflow to pass through the nose and mouth. The following are reasons why a person selects full face masks:
- Chronic sinus issues and not possible to breathe through the nose alone.
- Due to seasonal allergies or cold, the person's nose is congested and would like to use a full face mask.
- No success of using a chinstrap with a nasal mask, nasal pillow, or nasal prong mask.
Although a full face mask is not ideal for all, plenty of users can use it. Its large size adds a dimension of stability, which is not present in other masks. Some of its advantages are:
- Facial Hair - Patients with facial hair are usually frustrated with their CPAP mask. The hair does not allow a firm grip of silicone and gel, which creates leaks and makes it difficult for the therapy to work. Nasal masks and nasal pillow masks are incompatible with large mustaches. In such cases, full face masks are ideal. It seals against the nasal bridge and wraps around the chin. However, to achieve a quality seal, shaving the hair on your neck and underside of the chin are necessary, but there is no need to shave your mustache or beard.
- Mouth Breathers - Not every CPAP user breathes through the mouth. People who breathe through the mouth have adapted to nasal masks or nasal pillow masks, but some do not find it ideal since nasal masks are small. People who find it difficult to breathe using a nasal mask have to use a full face mask as this seems to be the only possible option. It seals the nose and mouth, which allows mouth breathers to easily breathe through the night with a quality seal.
You need to be very careful about the quality of seal. Due to its big size, and since it covers several different bones of your face, a full face mask can easily get dislodged. Some patients using full face masks benefit by using a chinstrap since it keeps the mask in place, whereas others have to be careful when they toss and turn at night.
The full face mask is not suitable for all, but if you have a mustache, and if you cannot breathe through your nose, then a full face mask is perfect for you.
CPAP Machine Cleaners
There are various cleaners that streamline the disinfecting process. They include:
- CleanSmart Disinfectant - It can just be sprayed and left to air-dry.
- MVAP RespiKit - It has a cleaning and deodorizing solution. It also has a soaking solution, measuring cup, and soaking container.
- SoClean2 Go - It does not require to disassemble the mask.
- CleanzEX 2-Pack - These mask wipes are highly absorbent.
- Mask Bright - Spray the solution, then rinse it off or wipe it with a clean cloth.
- Contour Products 14-950R - It is a dependable cleaning option that gently removes oil and bacteria without using harmful chemicals.
The gel creates a thin, smooth, and adaptable seal around the mask cushion. It stops the air from escaping and eliminates any distracting noises. It improves the overall therapy and all leak levels. It has been proven to improve dry skin and cracked lips. It reduces irritation from the mask cushion. The adaptable seal allows users to make the mask headgear loose without compromising with the mask seal. This provides comfort and success of the therapy.
- It seals the mask and eliminates irritating noises, thus restores sleep.
- It reduces noise from air leaks that can disrupt the sleep of your partner.
- It creates a liquid leak seal around the entire mask.
- It reduces irritation of the face and increases the comfort of the mask.
- Facial hair is no problem.
- It promotes better compliance with all CPAP users.
- It restores smooth, healthy skin, and prevents skin chafing around the mask.
- It creates a barrier between the user's face and silicone mask cushion.
The standard supplies are the machine, filter, headgear, tubing, and a mask. CPAP supplies can be purchased and upgraded to enhance comfort.
- Mass Assembly Kits - They can be used without having to purchase a whole new mask. It can also be used to refresh an old CPAP mask. Without power, CPAP is of minimal use. There are different types of power supply available to run a CPAP machine. One includes power cords that help power up your CPAP machine.
- Software - An example would be SmartStick Studio. The person can download his choice of music, which will be used as an alarm to wake up.
PAP supplies include additional parts. Some are necessary, while some are optional and can be added for comfort. Below is the description of the supplies:
- Air Filter - Air filters are very important. It purifies the air that comes from the outside of the machine before entering the nose. Air filters are of several types. Some are reusable while some can be disposed.
- CPAP Hose - It is also known as "tubing". It connects the PAP machine to the mask. They come in different lengths. Some are insulated while some are heated.
- Humidifier - This is optional. Many people complain of dry mouth and dry nose. A humidifier solves this problem. It increases the moisture in the air that is delivered through the mask.
- CPAP Mask - There are different types of CPAP masks. They include nasal masks, oral masks, and nasal-oral masks.
- CPAP Pressure Modifications - Some machines have computerized algorithms. They modify and adjust the pressure, especially during the breathing cycle.
- BiPAP - It uses two different pressures: inspiratory and expiratory.
- Adaptive Servo Ventilation - It is a newer type of treatment for central sleep apnea.
- Chinstraps - They are helpful for mouth breathers as they keep the mouth closed.
CPAP Machine Price
The average price of a CPAP machine can range from $500 to $3,000. The estimated average price is around $850. Many insurance companies cover the cost of these devices, which include the mask, hose, filters, and tubing.