If you suspect you have Sleep Apnea, speak with your general care doctor or sleep doctor. Your doctor may refer you to a sleep lab for a sleep study. Based on your sleep study results, your doctor may diagnose you with Sleep Apnea and prescribe sleep therapy. As a patient, realize you have a right to a copy of both your prescription and your sleep study. You have the choice to use insurance coverage to get equipment or to pay cash through an internet retailer. Generally, internet retailers offer more choices and better pricing than local dealers. CPAP.com offers user reviews, return insurance and many other benefits local distributors are unable to offer.
Apnea is Greek for "without breath." Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition in which a person's muscles and tissues in the throat and air passage relax while sleeping. The tissues impede the flow of air into the lungs due to the blockage of the airway. This can occur many times per night in the sleep cycle, especially during the REM sleep stages.
The scientific standard for an apneic event is when you stop breathing for at least 10 seconds. There must be an overall blood oxygen desaturation level of 3 to 4 percent along with certain potential changes in EEG frequencies and data. If a person has 5 or more of any type of events per hour of sleep then they are clinically diagnosed with sleep apnea.
The body responds to the lack of oxygen by arousing, or waking, from sleep. This cycle leads to the person being unable to get the needed quantity of restful sleep and may result in:
In Central Sleep Apnea (CSA), a person stops breathing throughout the night, not due to a blocked air passage, but because the brain temporarily stops sending signals to the muscles that control breathing.
BiPAP therapy can be used to assist persons with central sleep apnea. The BiPAP machine provides air pressure in an inhale/exhale pattern helping a person to breathe.
Untreated Sleep Apnea can lead to:
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. CPAP therapy is the most commonly recommended, and the most effective, treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.
A CPAP machine provides air at a constant prescribed pressure. The air is delivered to the person through a tube and a CPAP mask. CPAP therapy provides a constant airflow which keeps the airway open so uninterrupted breathing is maintained during sleep. The air stream eliminates Sleep Apnea events and allows the person to get a restful sleep.
The level of air pressure required to maintain your airway is determined during your sleep study. Your doctor will write a prescription for a CPAP machine set at that pressure.
CPAP therapy is delivered through a nasal mask that seals around the nose or nasal pillows which seal at the nasal opening. Full face masks are available for a person who breathes through both the nose and mouth. Many innovative and comfortable options are available and advances in the delivery of CPAP therapy are continually occurring.
For instance: Some machines offer a comfort feature such as FLEX or EPR technology. It provides exhalation relief, a slight drop in pressure at the time of exhalation to help make therapy more natural. APAP, BiPAP and BiLevel machines offer various levels of pressure throughout the night.
Successful CPAP users report improvements in:
Sleep apnea is a serious and potentially fatal medical condition. If you or a loved one suspect you have it, you should be tested as soon as possible.
Yes, the link below will take you to a questionnaire designed to evaluate the most common symptoms of sleep apnea. This quiz may be a useful tool for discussing your symptoms with your doctor and can be taken to your appointment.
Sleep Apnea Screening Questionnaire
If a sleep study determines you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you will need a "titration study" to determine the pressure level required to maintain your airway during sleep. A titration study may take place during the same night as your diagnosing sleep study or it may be scheduled for a later date.
Titration is a scientific lab term, meaning to slowly add a little bit more of something until you reach a desired effect. During your titration study, a skilled technician will monitor your sleep and slowly increase the air pressure on a CPAP machine until you are able to sleep without or with few sleep events (apneas and hypopneas). Your pressure needs vary throughout the night, so an overnight sleep study is required to prescribe you the correct pressure.
Your prescribed CPAP single pressure setting will be set to the highest level you needed during the night. By prescribing the highest pressure, your doctor hopes to prevent as many sleep events as possible. The downside of this approach is that you will have the highest pressure at all times even when it's only necessary for part of the night.
APAPs offer technologies which allow the pressure to be adjusted on a breath by breath basis, which you may find helps your therapy.
Understanding OSA may help friends and family offer support or lead them to an awareness of their own symptoms. This newsletter can help them learn about sleep apnea:
CPAP.com Newsletter: Educate your Family and Friends About Sleep Apnea
To get used to CPAP, wear it every night without exception even if you end up taking it off after a few hours. Get into the habit of wearing it. CPAP therapy is necessary for your life. You need to make a commitment to a longer, healthier life.
Wear your Mask around the house when you are first starting out. Watch TV with it on, read while wearing your mask. Getting used to the feel of the mask when you are awake will help it to feel familiar at bedtime.
Using a CPAP machine treats OSA, it is not a cure. It is very important to remember that this is therapy and therapy is continuous. CPAP therapy is still today, the most recommended and the most effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.
Yes. Using CPAP therapy every night and during naps will increase the effectiveness of therapy, which will lead to an improvement in your mood and energy levels. Remember that even during a short rest your air passage is obstructed and being without oxygen is harmful to your health both short and long term. To avoid the side effects of untreated Sleep Apnea use your CPAP each time you sleep.
It will get easier, and become second nature to you if you stick with CPAP and surround yourself with support. CPAPtalk.com is a free sleep apnea patient forum we maintain. It is a great source of advice and support at any hour of the night or day.
The answer to this question depends on the person. Some people report experiencing less severe or cured sleep apnea after losing weight. Others report no change in their sleep apnea with weight lose. Most experience other benefits by losing weight healthily. Losing weight is good for your overall health when done properly.
You will need a CPAP machine, hose (tubing), power cord, filters, and a CPAP mask for effective CPAP therapy. Every CPAP machine comes with a power cord, filter, and a hose (tubing). CPAP masks are sold separately.
During your CPAP therapy you may find that your needs require additional elements. More advanced and comfortable setups also include humidifiers, machine software, CPAP mask strap pads, chinstraps, insulated hose coverings, and extra filters.
Yes. Federal law requires we have a valid prescription on file before we ship your mask, machine and/or humidifier.
We provide many easy ways to get your prescription:
Machines come with a six foot hose, power cord, at least one filter, and manuals. Most manufacturers include a carrying case which is designed specifically for their equipment. CPAP / BiPAP / APAP machines do not come with a delivery system or mask. CPAP Masks must be purchased separately.
To see the list of what specifically comes with each machine, you can browse for a machine. Then on the product page, click the "Specs" tab to see a full list of what comes with the machine.
All CPAP masks work with all machines.
Every product sold on CPAP.com is new and has never been used.
The only care a CPAP or BiPAP machine requires is to clean or change the filters at the air intake. This keeps the internal parts from accumulating dust. Fine paper filters should be changed out every 30 days, or when they appear soiled. Foam washable filters should be rinsed with clear running water once a week, allowed to air dry, and reinserted.
There are some other suggested actions to care for your machine:
An APAP (Automatic Positive Airway Pressure) machine automatically adjusts on a breath by breath basis to blow the minimum pressure needed to keep your airway open during sleep. This allows your machine to provide you with your ideal pressure nightly.
APAPs tend to be more advanced than CPAPs in that they normally offer more therapy tracking information and more comfort features. You can learn more about therapy tracking information in our Software section of the Learning Center.
Every APAP machine can be placed in a CPAP mode to blow one straight pressure like a CPAP. However, no CPAP can automatically adjust pressure like an APAP. An example of an APAP machine is the DeVilbiss IntelliPAP AutoAdjust that comes with built in Smart Code therapy tracking software.
Some CPAP users find it more pleasant to breathe with an APAP than with CPAP. The pressure delivered by an APAP machine automatically changes as needed to deliver the minimal pressure required to maintain the airway. The pressure delivered by a CPAP machine is set to a single pressure, the highest necessary to keep the airway open as determined during the sleep study. This is the case even when the higher pressure is needed only a fraction of the time.
A BiPAP machine (also referred to as BiLevel or VPAP) delivers two separate and distinct pressures. A higher pressure when the patient inhales and a lower pressure when the patient exhales. The machine alternates between the two pressures which are set per the doctor's order or prescription. A prescription for a CPAP machine may not be used to purchase a BiPAP machine.
An example of an BiLevel machine is the Philips Respironics PR System One BiPAP Auto with Bi-Flex.
Data capable machines track your therapy progress and performance over time. Therapy data can be used to spot issues and used to see how changes to your CPAP setup effects your overall treatment. You and your doctor can use the therapy information to make changes in your setup. Some changes might be altering the mask or fit or increasing or decreasing your pressure to see if your therapy performance improves to ensure you are getting effective treatment.
The data capable machines not only let you know how many hours the machine was used, like pure compliance tracking machines, but also tracks advanced information such as AHI, Leak Rate, and Average Pressure (if using an APAP).
Depending on the machine, the information can be reviewed or accessed
Compliance tracking machines only track the numbers of hours the machine is used. These machines do not track any advanced information such as AHI or leak rate.
Compliance machines are basic machines which the manufacturers made to be able to track usage hours. Compliance tracking machines are a manufacturer response to Medicare requirements that mandate DME (Durable Medical Equipment) providers show the Medicare patient used the equipment for the required minimum number of hours set by Medicare. DME providers cannot continue to be paid by Medicare without this information.
There is one billing code for all CPAP and APAP machines. Therefore a DME will be paid the same from Medicare or insurance whether they provide a patient with a more expensive machine that is data capable with more comfort features or a basic compliance tracking machine. Therefore, compliance tracking machines are the most common type of machine that is provided to patients through local DMEs.
There is software created to show the compliance information from the machine, however CPAP.com does not recommend purchasing this software. This data will only tell you how many hours you actually used the machine. It will not tell you how effective your therapy is.
CPAP machines which record full data (such as AHI and leak info):
The ramp button on a machine is a feature that allows for a gradual pressure build-up to your prescribed pressure. The feature is enjoyed by those with high pressures because they ease up to their pressure.
Exhalation relief is a comfort feature offered by two manufactures which reduces the air flow at the time of exhalation making the breathing process more natural.
Wondering which filters work for your machine? Or trying to find the right replacement power cord? To find what parts are compatible with your machine or to find what parts of your machine are replaceable you can:
Yes, all CPAPs use at least one filter that is usually a type of foam material and washable. Some CPAPs offer finer filtration with the addition of a disposable paper filter.
Cleaning and changing filters is the only maintenance required for a CPAP machine.
The filters are located at the back of the machine at the air intake. The image below shows the black foam filter at the back of the Everest 3 CPAP Machine.
If using both a foam and paper filter, the white paper filter is inserted into the filter area first. Some paper filters use the same material on both sides and either side can face into the machine. Other paper filters may have a plastic mesh side and a soft, fuzzy side. Insert the mesh side facing into the machine and the fuzzy side facing out of the machine as shown in the image below.
If the paper filter has a tab, fold it facing out of the machine for easy removal. The foam filter is inserted into the filter area after the paper filter is installed. The foam filter will catch the larger dirt particles first.
If you are using a two colored filter, the colored side faces out as shown in the image below.
There are five types of filters used with CPAP machines: reusable foam filters, disposable white fine filters, standard disposable filters for ResMed machines, hypoallergenic disposable filters for ResMed machines and bacteria filters.
Reusable Foam Filters. Reusable foam filters are placed at the air intake of the machine and are designed to catch larger particles. These filters can be lightly washed with a mild detergent to remove any particles that have collected. It is suggested to replaced a foam filter every 3 months or when the filter starts to break down. If a foam and disposable filter are used in a machine, the foam filter should be on the outside.
Disposable Filters. These filters cannot be washed. There are three types of disposable filters:
Washable foam filters should be cleaned as soon as they become discolored. Manufacturers recommend foam filters be rinsed weekly under clear running water and allowed to air dry before being reinstalled in the machine. If the machine is used in a very dusty environment, the foam filter may require more frequent cleaning.
Disposable filters are not intended to be cleaned but rather changed out, disposing of the used filter. Manufacturers recommend changing the disposable filter once a month, more frequently if used in a very dusty environment.
Reusable foam filters should be replaced when they deteriorate and begin to fall apart, much as a sponge does. The foam filter should be washed with a mild detergent monthly and should be replaced every 3 months or more if the foam is torn.
Disposable fine filters should be discarded as soon as they become discolored or at least every 30 days.
Standard Disposable Filters for ResMed machines should be discarded every month or more often if the machine is in a dusty environment.
Hypoallergenic Disposable Filters for ResMed machines should be discarded every month or more often if the machine is in a dusty environment.
If you live in a house with pets or smoke, you may need to replace the filters more often.
Humidification adds moisture to the CPAP air, reducing irritation to the nasal passages caused by the increased airflow.
CPAP air is an irritant - to one degree or another - to everyone. In some cases the irritation dries out the nasal passages and may cause bleeding. It may also cause swelling, excess mucous, congestion or sneezing. The irritation may create a very fertile ground for infections to begin. The irritation may be cumulative, building up over time. The only way to reduce the irritation is to add moisture.
Humidification is therefore a critical part of CPAP Therapy.
Many PAP users experience nasal congestion and dryness of the nose and throat during treatment. This can be especially problematic for new users who are adapting to treatment. Humidification adds moisture to the air helping to reduce the symptoms of dryness and congestion.
Nasal congestion also leads to mouth breathing, which perpetuates the problem of dryness. If this is an issue for you, try a heated humidifier.
Use distilled water to help keep the humidifier chamber clean and mineral deposit free. Tap water should not be used as it will leave hard white mineral deposits in the chamber as the water evaporates, or it may lead to mold growth. Cases of lung disease have been connected to using contaminated well water in a CPAP humidifier.* Source
If distilled water is not available where you live, use bottled water. It will be important to clean the chamber each morning, do not leave standing water the chamber between uses.
CPAP tubing and CPAP hose are interchangeable terms. CPAP hoses / tubing are used for two main purposes: to connect a CPAP or BiLevel machine or a humidifier to a mask, or to connect the machine to a humidifier.
Machine to Mask Hose. A hose is connected to the air outlet of either the machine or humidifier and it connects to the CPAP mask to deliver the airflow to the mask. In the past, the hose used to connect a machine to mask was a standard size. Today, there are a number of different hose options. There are three types of machine to mask hoses:
Your CPAP hose will last longer if it is detached every morning and hung to air dry.
Drying the hose each morning will also prevent bacteria from growing in the damp interior and help reduce the possibility of colds and other health issues. Remember, what is in the hose goes into the airway.
If you are not drying the hose daily, then be sure to replace the hose very frequently as negative health issues will result!
Hose care tips:
CPAP hoses can last a long time, sometimes up to a year if taken care of properly.
Signs of wear include dry, cracked places on the inside lining or on the rubber ends; "stretch marks" near the rubber ends; mineral deposits or mold from water left inside the hose; or a visible puncture or tear in the material.
A heated CPAP hose contains copper coils embedded in, or wrapped around, the hose. These coils are gently heated to conduct a constant temperature throughout the length of the hose. This enhances the comfort of the therapy and reduces or eliminates rainout caused by the water condensating as it travels through the hose to the mask.
Heated hoses are more expensive alternatives to cloth tubing insulation, but they prevent rainout in nearly all cases. The ComfortLine Heated Tubing Kit is a stand alone option that can be used with any machine to prevent rainout and increase delivered humidification.
Some manufacturers have developed heated hoses to work specifically with select machines in their product lines. The ClimateLine Tubing is used with S9 and H5i Climate Control System machines.
The following video shows how to install a ClimateLine hose on a S9 Series Machine with H5i Heated Humidifier:
The PR System One Heated Tube is used with PR System One 60 Series CPAP Machines.
The ThermoSmart Heated Hose is used with Fisher & Paykel 600 Series machines.
Rainout is the accumulation of water in a CPAP tube due to warm moist air cooling and condensating on its way from your CPAP machine to your CPAP mask.
The image below from Fisher & Paykel explains how rainout is formed. Warm moist air leaves the heated humidifier and travels down the CPAP tube. As the air travels down the tube the room temperature cools the tube and thereby cools the air traveling down the tube. As the air cools, it releases its moisture and condensation occurs, otherwise known as rainout.
Solutions to rainout include:
A hose cover is placed over the hose in order to insulate the hose and to make the hose more comfortable. The simplest and most cost effective way to insulate a CPAP hose is to wrap it in an insulating fabric. This enables the hose to remain flexible and adds little weight.
Companies such as Snugglehose provide a cost effective tubing insulation available in several colors and styles. Not only will the covers reduce or eliminate rainout, they also provide a more personal and less institutionalized appearance. An example of a Snugglehose is shown below.
We provide our customers with many tools to make informed decisions about their mask purchases. Options include:
Masks should be washed daily with warm water using a very gentle soap or baby shampoo, and left to air dry. Never use antibacterial soap as it will break down the silicone of the mask cushion. Avoid soaps that include lotion which can coat the mask and cause it to lose its seal. A safe cleaner is the Control III Disinfectant CPAP Cleaning Solution. Remember, going to bed with a clean face will improve your seal and protect the lifespan of your mask.
The best time to clean your mask is in the morning after use. This removes the oils left behind from your skin which can reduce the lifespan of your mask. We recommend using mask wipes to make daily morning cleaning easy. The mask wipes are made from materials that will not break down your mask.
Medicare allows for mask cushion replacement every three (3) months, and a complete mask system replacement every six (6) months. CPAP manufacturers and vendors suggest these replacement schedules as well.
In our experience, most mask cushions begin to deteriorate after about six months of use. The cushion eventually becomes too soft to hold a seal. The headgear straps lose elasticity and must be tightened more and more to get the same quality seal.
We strongly suggest replacing cushions and pillows as soon as they start to soften. Air leaks may reduce the effectiveness of CPAP therapy and headgear that is too tight may cause facial sores at pressure points. In most cases, replacement headgear is available if it is stretched out or the Velcro worn out.
To see what parts of your mask are replaceable refer to our Replacement Part Finder. Just search for your mask to see all of the replaceable parts.
For many masks there are parts that are replaceable such as the mask cushion, headgear, headgear clips and other parts. To find parts which are compatible with your mask, or to find which parts of your mask are replaceable, you can:
Sleeping on your side or stomach is preferable to sleeping on your back because sleeping on your back worsens all forms of sleep-disordered breathing. However, sleeping on your side or stomach can present problems with CPAP therapy. Both positions can put pressure on one side of your mask increasing your leak rate. Your options are to (1) try a mask that other side sleepers like (2) try bed pillows made for CPAP users.
Nasal delivery devices are the preferred mode of delivering CPAP air. They are smaller, lighter and usually more comfortable, with many styles and sizes to choose from.
When using a nasal device with a CPAP, it is imperative that the mouth remain closed for the pressure to be maintained and the therapy to be effective. Most people will automatically keep their mouth closed while on CPAP, but some are unable to do so, at least in the beginning of the therapy.
Use of a chinstrap is the first response to opening the mouth during sleep. It is worn in addition to the CPAP mask to hold the jaw up and help keep the mouth closed.
Even with the use of a chinstrap, some people are still able to breathe through their teeth and lips. If so, a full face mask is an option worth considering.
People who have a deviated septum or small nostrils, or suffer from seasonal allergies or chronic sinus issues, may breathe through the mouth rather than the nose. If you are a person who breathes through your mouth you may be able to wear most masks with a few adaptations. Add a chinstrap if using nasal pillows, nasal prongs or a nasal mask.
A full face mask or hybrid mask can be used without a chinstrap because the seal covers both the nose and mouth. A full face mask will allow you to breathe through your mouth or through your nose.
If you suffer from chronic sinus issues, a full face mask or an oral face mask are good options. Oral masks work best for mouth breathers with blocked nasal passages. You must use a heated humidifier with the oral mask. CPAP.com sells the Oracle HC452 Oral CPAP mask.
If you are a mouth breather who does not want to or cannot wear a chinstrap, please see our recommended masks for Mouth Breathers.
Air leaks from the mouth whenever the mouth is opened during CPAP therapy. This occurs for many reasons, but a very common one is due to nasal irritation from the CPAP airflow.
The correlation between the lack of humidification and mouth leaks is a topic being heavily researched. Studies are now being conducted on the hypothesis that a large amount of mouth leakage is caused by the following cycle:
Dry mouth is a sign that you are opening your mouth while you sleep. If you use a nasal mask, breathing through your mouth bypasses any humidification you may be using so increasing the heat will not be effective. Breathing through your mouth while using a nasal mask reduces the benefit of the CPAP therapy.
First be sure the mask is not leaking. If it is six to nine months old and leaking, try replacing it. If it is new and leaking, we can help you get a better size.
If your mask is new and NOT leaking, try a chinstrap to keep your jaw up and mouth from dropping open during sleep. If a chinstrap doesn't solve the problem, try masks recommended for mouth breathers.
If you use a full face mask and have a dry mouth, try adding a heated humidifier to add moisture.
Air leaks are caused by masks that are too big, too old, or just the wrong style.
Air leaking into the eyes is usually an indication that the mask is too big (long or wide) as are leaks at the base of the nose. Leaks may also occur under the nose due to facial hair.
As the silicone in the mask cushion ages, it deteriorates and becomes too soft to hold a seal. For many masks, the cushion may be removed and replaced to extend the life of the mask. View our Replacement Part Finder to see if a replacement cushion is available for your mask.
When a cushion has softened to the point where it will no longer hold a seal, you may be able to tighten it enough to stop the leaking when you go to sleep, but during the night the seal will loosen and leak.
Mask leaks may also be caused by the pillow pushing against the mask and changing the position and seal of the mask. There are special CPAP pillows which are are designed to minimize the contact of the CPAP mask with the pillow, even when you are sleeping on your side.
Air leaking from the mask at the bridge of the nose and over the eyes during sleep will cause the eyes to dry out. The most common reason for air leaking at the nose bridge is that the mask is too big or too long for the nose.
We would suggest you try our measurements for sizing your mask to be sure you have the best size. A mask that has an adjustment at the bridge may also be helpful in getting a good fit. Nasal pillow or nose cushion devices which do not rest on the nose are also an option.
It is not advisable to tighten the headgear to eliminate the air leak. Pressure from a mask that is too tight will cause bruises and even open sores if applied long enough.
People remove their mask during sleep because they are not getting enough air.
The CPAP pressure may be reduced if your mask is leaking. Your mask may be too big or too old. We would suggest you resize your mask to be sure you have the best size. If your mask fits you but is six to nine months old, it should be replaced. As the silicone in the mask cushion ages, it deteriorates and becomes too soft to hold a seal. For many masks, you can get a replacement cushion. See our Replacement Part Finder to see if your mask has a replaceable cushion.
If the CPAP air is being delivered effectively and without leaks, it may be that the pressure is set too low. Pressure settings may require change due to weight gain or loss and aging. You should speak to your doctor if you think your pressure may need to be adjusted.
The primary reason that nasal passages sometimes dry out from CPAP use is lack of adequate humidification.
CPAP air is an irritant - to one degree or another - to everyone. The irritation may cause the nasal passages to dry out and bleed, or the mucous membranes may try to protect the nasal passages by producing excess mucous and so congestion results. And the irritation can be cumulative; the problem may develop over time. Furthermore, dry, cracked or bleeding nasal passages are a breeding ground for infection.
Using a heated humidifier to add moisture to the CPAP air may reduce or eliminate the irritation. An unheated, passover humidifier may not offer enough additional moisture. If you are already using a heated humidifier, try turning it up to a higher setting. If that produces condensation in the six foot hose, you should try an insulating cover for the hose. You can also try using a nose lubricant to reduce the dryness.
A lot of new CPAP users report having an increase in sinus congestion after starting CPAP therapy. When treating your Obstructive Sleep Apnea, sinus congestion presents a roadblock to healthy breathing. CPAP air is an irritant - to one degree or another - to everyone. The irritation may cause the nasal passages to dry out and bleed, or the mucous membranes may try to protect the nasal passages by producing excess mucous and so congestion results.
The best option is to add a heated humidifier to add moisture to the CPAP air and reduce or eliminate the irritation. If you are already using a heated humidifier, try turning it up to a higher setting. If that produces condensation in the six foot hose, you should try an insulating cover for the hose. Other options are to:
CPAP does not normally cause headaches unless there is a sinus related problem or some pressure from the machine acting where it should not be.
Sinus systems are extensive, extending behind your ears. If part of the sinus cavities are blocked, during CPAP use a situation can be created which causes a pressure differential between the sinuses. These pressure differences can sometimes be felt as a headache even though they are caused by sinus blockages. These can be treated using over the counter medications to open the sinuses. CPAP heated humidifiers can also open and maintain sinus systems. If you do not use a heated humidifier, we strongly suggest using one. If this does not correct the problem, visit your ENT.
Most red marks on the face are caused by over tightening the CPAP mask. CPAP masks should only be tightened down enough to create a seal. To avoid over tightening your mask, you should work clockwise around the mask, making small adjustments to the headgear, until the mask is securely in place but not overly tight. You should avoid pulling too much on one side of the mask than then other.
By cleaning your mask cushion, nasal pillows, and nasal prongs on a daily basis, you ensure a better seal each time you put on your mask. If you know you have a mask that fits, and are cleaning it daily, and still have red marks, consider using mask straps pads which are soft covering for the headgear straps.
Sores, redness and bumps around your nose can be caused by one of three main reasons: facial oils are building up under the mask material; the mask is overly tight; or the mask material is causing an allergic reaction.
A breakout can occur from the facial oils building up under the mask at night. You can help minimize this by washing your face before putting on the mask at night and by cleaning the facial oils off the mask every morning. If you are still experiencing a breakout, you might consider Nasal Pillow masks which have less material that comes in contact with the skin.
Sores at the bridge of the nose or below the nose are usually due to tightening the headgear straps too much. The pressure will create soreness, then a bruise, and may eventually create an open sore if left untreated. Your mask should seal when worn comfortably. If you have to over tighten your mask to get a good seal, consider switching to another mask type. To avoid over tightening your mask, you should work clockwise around the mask, making small adjustments to the headgear, until the headgear is securely in place but not overly tight. You should avoid pulling too much on one side of the mask than then other.
Most masks are made of silicone, which is an inert substance. But silicone is manufactured in chemicals to which some people are allergic. The chemicals normally degrade and disperse over time, but may cause a reaction when first used. The solution is to remove surface chemicals before using the mask. Washing the mask will reduce or eliminate the problem. This process can be accelerated by long soaks in warm soapy water. This method can be used with all types of masks, and should also be applied to mask replacement parts. While soaking the mask will help remove the surface chemicals, it my reduce the life of the silicone.
Sores at the bridge of the nose or below the nose are usually due to tightening the headgear straps too much. The pressure will create soreness, then a bruise, and may eventually create an open sore if left untreated.
Headgear is usually tightened too much to reduce or eliminate air leaks. A small degree of this may be necessary, but too much is an indication that the mask is too large, too old or just the wrong style.
If your mask is six to nine months old and the silicone is becoming too soft to hold a seal, try replacing it. Find the right replacement cushion for your mask using our Replacement Part Finder.
It is usually necessary to stop wearing a mask to allow these sores to heal. Nasal pillows are an option in the meantime.
Yes, you can travel by air with CPAP equipment. Sleep therapy should be used every night and your equipment should be taken along when traveling. The following information is intended as a general guideline and does not reflect any particular airline's policy. Check with your airline carrier to verify their policies regarding CPAP / BiLevel equipment.
An adapter may be required to plug a US power cord into a wall outlet in a foreign country. CPAP.com sells an assortment pack of World Traveler Power Adapter Plugs, which allow CPAP machines to plug into different types of wall sockets found in different countries.
All the models CPAP.com sell contain power converters that enable the machine to operate on any AC current from 100 to 240 volts without any adjustment.
CPAP therapy should be used every night. Your CPAP or BiPAP machine and equipment should go with you on trips. There are some tips to help with your travel:
Your CPAP does NOT count against your carry on limits. Allow for an additional 10-20 minutes in security, not likely but it happens. If airport personnel ask about the CPAP, let them know politely that it is a medical device (a CPAP unit). Most of them understand what it is and that it is an exception to the normal rules. We provide a luggage tag for CPAP systems: http://www.cpap.com/productpage/medical-identification-luggage-tag-cpap-equipment.html
You can use your CPAP on board, just use batteries or make sure you're seated by a power outlet. You can call or reserve one of these seats online with most airlines.
Be sure to bring spare parts and a back up mask. If you're in a bind, CPAP.com delivers all over the US and to most international destinations.
To prepare for your international travel, be sure to:
When a credit card is used to pay for a CPAP.com order, our credit card processor Stripe.com will send over a request to your issuing bank for either a $0 or $1 authorization. The amount is based on what your bank permits.
This process is done to verify that the issued card can be authorized. Regardless of whether or not the authorization is declined, the authorization request is immediately reversed. Depending on your bank and card issuer, you may see that $0 or $1 authorization appear on your listed transactions. Take note, that this is not a charge and it will be removed from your statement in anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks depending on your bank's policy.
For more information, please visit the Stripe.com FAQ on this topic.
In years gone by, the answer to this question would have been "yes", but today not all hoses are the same and some machines use different hose types. All CPAP hoses / tubings serve the same function: directing the air stream from the machine to the mask.
Historically, a standard CPAP hose is six feet long, has an internal diameter of 19mm and a connector cuff with an internal diameter of 22mm. Today some hoses are 6 feet long, others are 4 foot long, 8 foot long and 10 foot long. Some hoses have an internal diameter of 19mm (standard) and others have an internal diameter of 15mm (thin or slim style). To use a slim 15mm hose, the machine must have a menu option setting to accept the narrower diameter of a 15mm hose and still deliver the prescribed pressure to the mask to ensure effective therapy.
All hoses have a 22mm connection cuff and fit on all CPAP masks.The connection ports on all CPAP, APAP and BiLevel machines, humidifiers, and masks are a standard size, so a standard CPAP hose will fit on all. Some of the very small machines use a hose adapter between the machine and the 22mm cuff of the hose.
Some manufacturers offer a heated hose option designed to work only with their machines. To read more about heated hoses see the "What is a heated CPAP hose?" article included in this FAQ section.
A few auto-titrating CPAPs and BiLevels require a pressure line senor to detect breathing patterns and pressure needs. The sensor may be in the form of an adapter with narrow tubing attached or the narrow tubing is threaded inside the six foot hose. In both cases, one end of the narrow tubing is plugged into the machine. Those machines will not operate without the pressure line sensor.