What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious form of sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is often interrupted while sleeping. The brain and other parts of the body do not get enough of oxygen when sleep apnea remains untreated. There are two main types of sleep apnea:
- Central Sleep Apnea: In central sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked. However, the brain fails to send signals to the muscles to breathe. This happens due to the instability in the respiratory center.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea: It is the more common form of sleep apnea, which is caused by a blockage of the airway. This usually happens when the soft tissues, which are based on the back of the throat, collapses during sleeping time.
Continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machine therapy is used for obstructive sleep apnea. It helps the person to easily breathe while sleeping. This machine is known to increase the pressure of the air in the throat of the individual so that the airways do not collapse when one is breathing in. While using the CPAP machine, the person sleeping next to you would also be sleeping better. The CPAP machine should be used daily while sleeping in the night. The machine kit would have one of the following items:
- A mask that properly covers the nose and mouth.
- A mask that covers only the nose and is called as nasal continuous positive airway pressure or NCPAP. This is one the most common types of masks.
- Set of prongs that fit into the nose.
CPAP is one of the most effective nonsurgical types of treatment used for OSA. It has been widely used and always the first choice of treatment for individuals suffering from sleep apnea. One may take some time to get comfortable with this machine. If one finds it uncomfortable or is unable to get used to it, then it is better to speak with a doctor. The doctor can provide you another type of mask or make certain adjustments with the machine.
CPAP has been proven to be very effective when it comes to treating sleep apnea conditions in adults. Studies have revealed that by the use of CPAP, daytime sleepiness has been significantly reduced, especially for those who suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnea. Individuals who have been using a CPAP machine for a longer duration, which can be more than seven hours a day, have less daytime sleepiness and depression. They also have fewer heart-related problems than people who use CPAP for a shorter duration. However, there are also certain problems that may occur with the use of a CPAP machine, and they include:
- Abdominal bloating
- Dryness of the nose
- Sore throat
- Excessive dreaming during the early use of the machine
- Nasal congestion
- Eye and facial irritation
- If the mask doesn’t fit well, then the individual may experience leaks around the mask
- Nosebleed (rare)
Finding the right mask is one of the crucial things in CPAP therapy. There are so many different styles of masks, sizes, and shapes. Hence, the first question arises as to which mask is good for you. It is a bit of a daunting task. There are three main types of CPAP masks:
1. Nasal Pillow
These masks are among the popular type of masks and the first choice for CPAP therapy. It has a minimal design to it. They are the smallest of the CPAP masks and comfortably rests on the user’s upper lip as it blows pressurized air through two soft nasal tubes, which are inserted into the nostrils. It is then secured by straps, which go around the head of the user. These masks are lightweight and ideal for patients who suffer from claustrophobia or those who simply feel uncomfortable with too much of material on their face.
It is also good for users who toss and turn a lot while sleeping. Moreover, it works best for users who have a lot of facial hair, which can cause leaks if another type of mask is used. The cons of this mask is that it is not ideal for users with high-pressure needs since the airflow is very direct and can lead to discomfort if the settings are at a higher pressure. It is not an ideal mask for mouth breathers.
2. Full Face Mask
CPAP full face masks cover the nose and mouth area. It has side straps that keep the mask in place. Some hybrid masks cover the mouth and also have nasal prongs that fit into the nostrils similar to the nasal pillow. These face masks are ideal for mouth breathers, who are not comfortable with other types of CPAP masks. It is also ideal for patients who suffer from nasal obstructions or those who have frequent congestion due to cold or allergies.
It works very well at high-pressure settings since the wide surface area of the mask makes it suitable for more tolerable pressure. It is also less direct than the other types of masks. The downfall of this mask is that there is a higher chance of leakage due to the large surface area. Some users have been complaining of air leakage, which happens near the top of the mask. This leakage often leads to dryness and irritation in the eyes. A full face mask also makes it difficult for the user to wear glasses as well as read or watch TV while in bed.
3. Nasal Mask
These masks are triangular-shaped masks that fit comfortably over the nose and covers the bridge of the nose down to the upper lip. These masks are quite popular among CPAP wearers due to the wide range of sizes and fit. One of the benefits of this mask is that it has a more natural airflow than the nasal pillow, and the delivered pressure is not direct.
It also has different mask styles with a wider range of facial structures. The drawback of this mask is that it is not ideal for mouth breathers if it is not accompanied by a chinstrap to ensure that the jaw is closed. It is also not ideal for those who frequently experience colds or allergies, which lead to blockage of the sinuses. Some of the patients have complained about irritation due to the pressure of the mask, which is resting on the bridge of the nose or the forehead.
SoClean CPAP Cleaner
If there have been more than usual instances when one is falling sick very often, then it could be the CPAP machine, which is doing all wrong to the body. A CPAP machine is one the easiest breeding grounds for various types of bacteria and germs, which when not cleaned well, can lead to a number of infections.
The SoClean CPAP cleaner uses the same process of sanitizing the CPAP machine, which is also found in water purification, housekeeping in hotels, sanitization in hospitals, and product handling. It is the first automated CPAP cleaner, which is an easier and faster way to clean the CPAP mask and other equipment.
The setup of this product is very simple and a one-time process. It is known to connect with all the different types of PAP machines, which also includes CPAP, VPAP, BPAP, and BiPAP. Once the CPAP mask is placed in the chamber of this cleaner and the lid is shut, the SoClean sanitizer automatically starts to sanitize the masks. It kills germs in a few minutes with the help of activated oxygen cleaning powers through the mask, hose, and reservoir.
One of the biggest issues of most CPAP users is that they have a difficulty in exhaling against the pressure exerted by the CPAP machine. The Z1 machine is designed in such a way that it learns the breathing pattern of the individual and relieves the pressure of the machine on exhalation. It is a first of its type, which has a complete integrated battery solution. Just slip the Z1 CPAP into the PowerShell and you can have a night full of cord-free sleep without any disturbance or feeling of discomfort.
This machine only makes sound at 26 dBA while operating, which is considered to be very low as per industry standards. It has been rated as one of the quietest machines on the market. It is also lightweight and can be carried anywhere. It only weighs 10 ounces, which is a great everyday travel machine.
The BiPAP machine is programmed in such a way to deliver an inhalation positive air pressure or IPAP while the individual inhales through the mask and tubing. While the individual exhales, the BiPAP machine senses the change and switches to the lower expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP). By providing a constant, but variable resistance within the upper airways, the BiPAP therapy helps prevent the airways from collapsing, which leads to apnea and snoring.
People who use CPAP have to breathe against the constant resistance due to the pre-programmed setting in the machine, but those using the BiPAP therapy do not have to work hard to exhale against the low pressure of EPAP. Those individuals who have a severe case of respiratory disease or those who are not able to adjust to the constant pressure of CPAP would be comfortable using the BiPAP. The benefits of BiPAP are that users can appreciate a normal sleeping cycle, which should not be interrupted due to snoring or apnea.
Also, the bed partners enjoy their sleep without getting disturbed. Those who use BiPAP machines have said that they are more alert and feel less drowsy at daytime. Moreover, they are also in a better mood throughout the day and carrying out more productive work. BiPAP therapy reduces long-term risk such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart-related problems, and in some cases, avoid death.
The ResMed S10 is one of the basic fixed pressure devices with an integrated humidifier and cellular connectivity. It means that it has a built-in cellular technology, so that there is unique access to the data of the therapy and also one can remote access the settings of the device. Thus, it helps to be more connected with the patients and also improves business efficiency.
It has an AutoRamp feature with sleep onset detection. This delivers a low pressure, so that it helps the patients to fall asleep with ease and comfort. Once the patient sleeps, it comfortably upgrades the pressure to ensure that the prescribed levels are delivered the moment the patient would need it. The other features include the quiet Easy-Breathe motor, which makes the sleep environment peaceful for the patients and their partner.
The SmartStart feature allows the patients to start the therapy by breathing in instead of manually pressing the start button. There is a built-in ambient light sensor, which adjusts the brightness of the screen based on the lights of the room and then automatically turns off as well.
With the help of an automated CPAP cleaner, one can actually maintain a CPAP equipment very well. The equipment can be kept clean and sanitized without any need for dissembling from the machine all the time. Thus, making the procedure of cleaning easy for those who are not able to move much.
These automated machines do not need water or any chemicals. They have a built-in automatic sanitizer that tends to destroy 99.9 percent of viruses or bacteria that start breeding on the equipment. The automated machine also provides a safe and powerful hospital-grade sanitation for the entire equipment. It is suggested that one should clean the CPAP machine on regular intervals. However, if you are not well or down with flu or cold, then ensure to clean the machine every day so that the virus does not reside on the mask or equipment.
Use a humidifier system or a heated tubing that would lead to a proper reduction in condensation. To avoid any risk of infection, only use distilled water with the system. Make sure to replace the mask at least once in three to four months. Also, pay attention to replace other spare parts on a regular basis. One should never operate the machine with a used mask or tubing system since it can lead to infections. Avoid sharing your equipment with someone else.
Not all CPAP machines are created equal. For those who are frequent travelers, a portable PAP machine should be something that is lightweight, easy to carry around, and more discreet. Such machine should easily fit in a regular bag rather than having a need to carry it in a separate bag.
The new range of innovations and technology have made it possible to experience similar performance with the use of a mini PAP device. However, not all travel machines look the same. One should go for a machine that has a quiet operation, has a comfortable therapy session, and has features that are very much similar to the home device.
There are certain things to keep in mind while choosing for an apt travel CPAP. The device should have fewer components, which would make it easier to assemble and use. Also, it should get packed easily in a small bag or suitcase. While traveling, having something light is very important--you would not want to carry something heavy during your travels. Hence, one should compare the weights of the PAP machines. The tubing for each manufacturer would be different. For this reason, go for the smaller tubes, which would provide ease of packing as well as freedom while sleeping. You can also look for certain additional features such as a user-friendly screen, a built-in USB port for charging cell phones or other devices, and an alarm clock.
CPAP Cleaning Machine
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 includes a soaking solution, a measuring cup, and a soaking container.
- SoClean 2 Go - It does not require to disassemble the mask.
- CleanzEx 2-Pack Wipes - These mask wipes are highly absorbent.
- Mask Bright CPAP Cleaner - Spray the solution, then rinse it off or wipe it with a cloth.
- Contour Products 14-950R - It is a dependable mask wipe for cleaning. It gently removes oil and bacteria without using harmful chemicals.
Small CPAP Machine
CPAP has improved tremendously with respect to its size. They are often marketed as "travel CPAP". One example is Z1 by HDM. It only weighs 10 ounces and can fit in the palm of your hand. The advantage of having this small machine is that it can be used for camping, long-distance travels, and in places where there are power outages as well as other "off the grid" locations. It is quite portable and you can take it to places where there is limited access to electricity. Its limitations are:
- Charging Capability - If needed for several nights, then a way to charge it needs to be found out. 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 level of pressure. More effort in breathing may be needed.