Curious About CPAP? Let’s Clear The Air.


What is a CPAP machine?

A CPAP machine (or continuous positive airway pressure machine) is a small, box-shaped device that draws air from the room, pressurizes and humidifies it, and gently delivers it to the user at a pre-programmed setting.

What does a CPAP machine do?

CPAP machines provide continuous positive air pressure to your mouth and/or nose. This air pressure prevents airway blockages that occur in the nasal and oral cavity when someone has OSA.

How does a CPAP machine work?

The CPAP machine starts by taking air from the room and bringing it into a filtering chamber. There, minor impurities from the air are removed and the air is then pressurized and humidified based on the unique settings of the user. Humidifying the air soothes the oral and nasal cavities, reducing some of the unpleasant side effects of CPAP treatment.

What is OSA?

OSA is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder where a person experiences pauses in their breathing throughout the night, causing them to wake up periodically. This constant disruption of sleep impacts the person’s overall health and quality of life. This chronic condition affects 18-30 adults in the US.

What does OSA stand for?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

What causes OSA?

When your body goes to sleep, its muscles begin to relax. This includes the muscles in the mouth and throat. Sometimes these muscles relax, causing the soft tissue in your mouth to vibrate. This is why people sometimes snore when they sleep. However, in people with OSA, the soft tissue collapses and blocks the airway either significantly or completely. The collapsing of the soft tissue is called an Obstructive Apnea. These disruptions can last up to 10 seconds or more and can wake you from your sleep in varying degrees depending on the intensity of the blockage. 

What are the symptoms of OSA?

-Excessive daytime drowsiness
-Disruptive snoring
-Abruptly waking with accompanied by gasping or choking
-Waking up with dry mouth and/or sore throat
-Observed occurrences of stopped breathing during sleep
-High blood pressure
-Nighttime sweating
-Mood changes, such as irritability or depression

Which type of apnea mask should I use?

There are three main types of apnea face masks for CPAP treatment, a full face mask, a nasal mask, and nasal pillows. Which mask you choose will depend on your personal preferences and needs. For example, which style of mask feels comfortable with your individual facial structure? Are you predominantly a nose breather or a mouth breather? Do you get claustrophobic easily? Do you wear glasses in bed before you go to sleep? These factors and more will all play into what mask is best for you.

Which face mask is the most effective?

All the styles of CPAP mask are effective in their own way, however, each mask also has its setbacks. These pros and cons will rely greatly on your personal circumstances and preferences. A common problem is air leakage, which commonly occurs through the mouth when using a nasal mask. That being said, air leakage can also happen through full facial masks if the mask doesn’t fit appropriately. You should think of each mask as being equally effective and choose the one that fits your individual case of OSA, nighttime routines, facial shape and any other personal preferences you may have.

What maintenance will my CPAP machine require?

The only maintenance your machine will need is a cleaning of the various parts (humidifier, mask, and tubes) as well as the air filter. The general parts of the machine can be cleaned using a CPAP cleaning device, and the air filters can be cleaned by running them under hot water and letting them dry. Filters should be cleaned once a week and/or once they begin to look discolored.

What is a CPAP cleaner?

A CPAP Cleaner is a device with a chamber that is meant to hold all your CPAP equipment, from your mask to your humidifier. Once inside, the cleaner sanitizes the equipment, killing any bacteria that may have taken hold in those hard to reach places. There are a few ways these sanitizers work, and it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Two of the most popular technologies used are activated oxygen cleaning an ultraviolet treatment. With all your CPAP equipment inside, the device will begin to apply the activated oxygen or the ultraviolet light, both of which are strong germicides. Both of these processes are proved to be safe and effective.

How does a CPAP cleaner work?

Most popular CPAP cleaners use one of two different sanitizing methods. The first method is sanitizing with Ozone or activated oxygen. Activated oxygen is a strong bacteria and fungus killer. Once your equipment is put into the CPAP cleaner, the chamber is pumped full of ozone, which can very easily make its way to all the nooks and crannies of your mask, hose, and humidifier. The other method is sanitization by ultraviolet light. Like ozone, certain wavelengths of ultraviolet light are extremely effective at killing bacteria. Just like with ozone cleaning, your equipment is placed inside the CPAP cleaner and bombarded with a specific wavelength ultraviolet light that kills any bacteria, mold or virus germs that may be lurking around in your machine. Both of these methods are effective and claim to kill up to 99% of bacteria in your CPAP equipment.

Can I travel with my CPAP?

 Traveling with your CPAP machine is easy and straightforward. CPAP machines are considered medical equipment and do not count as one of your carry on items. It’s also a good idea to bring your prescription in case TSA asks for proof that this is your machine. The machine will have to be taken out of its case in order to be put through the x-ray. We do not advise putting your machine in your checked bag because if it gets lost, you will be without your machine. If you intend on using the machine during your flight, make sure you check with your airline about their policy and whether or not there will be power provided in your seating. Every airline is different, so always call before traveling.

Will I have to adjust my CPAP settings?

You will not have to adjust your CPAP settings on your own. When you start your CPAP treatment, your sleep specialist will prescribe settings specifically for you. Often times your sleep specialist will schedule follow up appointments to see how effective the treatment is and whether or not any settings should be adjusted. The only time you may need to adjust your settings is if you undergo significant weight gain or weight loss. But again, you will not do this on your own, you will consult your sleep specialist on what settings should be changed.

Will I receive any financial assistance for my CPAP machine?

Third-party insurance providers will pay for at least a portion of your treatment, some providers may cover the entire cost. We will work with you and your insurance to make sure you get all the help possible when starting your CPAP therapy.

Will I need to purchase any extra equipment for my CPAP therapy?

Other than getting your hands on a nice CPAP sanitizer, you will not have to purchase any other materials. So long as you have your CPAP machine, your hose, your mask and a proper method of cleaning these items, you’re set and ready to go.