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    CPAP Machines

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    Common CPAP Machine Questions


    What is a CPAP Machine? What is CPAP Used For?

    CPAP machines are a way to treat Sleep Apnea, one of many sleep disorders impacting millions of Americans. CPAP is an acronym that stands for "Continuous Positive Airway Pressure" and is regarded by experts as being the best way to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

    Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder where a person's upper airway relaxes during sleep, and in this relaxed state partially or completely blocks the airway. These blockages can cause the individual to wake up as the body fights to breathe, and can cause snoring. If this process happens hundreds of times a night, not only does one not sleep well, but they also have increased chances of higher blood pressure, and are at greater risk for heart attack or stroke.

    To begin treatment, a patient would see a Sleep Specialist or other medical professional. In most cases, they would order a sleep study as a diagnostic tool. The sleep study would check blood oxygen levels, breathing, and cardiac metrics among other things. The results of the sleep study help determine what type of treatment the doctor will pursue. In most cases, it means wearing the CPAP pressure machine. Popular brands of CPAP devices include ResMed, Philips Respironics, Fisher & Paykel, HDM, 3B Medical, and DeVilbiss.

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    How Do CPAPs Work?

    CPAP machines have an internal motor which provides air pressure at a programmed pressure setting, helping keep the airway open throughout the night, making it easier to get an adequate amount of oxygen to the lungs. It can mean better sleep, and your tissues aren't deprived of the oxygen that they need to keep you healthy. CPAP devices are mostly quiet (under 30 decibels) and some are very small and lightweight - created with busy lives in mind.

    A CPAP machine only works with the help of a CPAP mask. A CPAP mask allows the therapy air to maintain pressure as it enters the airway, and is how the equipment is able to work.

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    What are the Benefits of Using a CPAP?

    Many CPAP users find that using a CPAP device is a restorative and life-changing treatment. Provided you commit to the treatment, you will see many benefits including:

    • Longer, More Restful Sleep
    • Improved Energy
    • Less Drowsiness During the Day
    • Reduced High Blood Pressure
    • Reduced Risk of Heart Attack
    • Reduced Risk of Stroke
    • Improved Cardiac Function
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    What are the Differences Between CPAPs, BiPAPs and APAPs?

    CPAP machines have 3 different types to pick from, intending to fulfill 3 different needs:

    • CPAPs: Only provides air at one set pressure ranging from 4 - 20
    • APAPs: APAP machines provides air at a variable pressure settings on a breath-by-breath basis ranging from 4 - 20
    • BiPAPs: BiPAP machines (also known as BiLevels) BiPAP machines provide different pressures for inhalation and exhalation ranging from 4 - 25, and can automatically adjust on Auto BiPAPs

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    What Are the Best CPAPs?

    That's a really good question, and if you look at current buying trends, the best CPAP machines right now are actually Automatic Positive Airway Pressure machines! Automatic Positive Airway Pressure is an acronym (like most terms associated with CPAP), and is typically referred to as an APAP. Like we mentioned earlier, Auto PAP machines gently compress air at a variable pressure on a breath-by-breath basis. This makes them so much more versatile than CPAP machines, and it's a large reason why these products are preferred by most patients. Some customers are also interested in travel devices. Travel devices are almost always APAP machines. As the popularity of travel machines increases, we expect we will only see further growth of this category.

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    Where to Get a CPAP?

    CPAP therapy equipment is regulated as Class II Medical Devices and is available from CPAP shops called Durable Medical Equipment providers. CPAP machines are also available at online DMEs, like CPAP.com. In order to get one, you need to get a prescription from your physician. Usually, a doctor would conduct a test known as a sleep study to look at your heart rate, breathing, and blood oxygen levels. Sleep studies are typically done at home or overnight in a Sleep Lab. Home Sleep Tests are growing in popularity and use an electronic device that records your activity. In the morning, you would mail it back to the Sleep Lab and wait for your results. When the results come in, your doctor will know if a CPAP is right for you.

    When you get a CPAP from a health care provider, one thing to watch out for is how much you'll get billed for the equipment. Depending on how your coverage is written, there could still be a charge even if you've met your deductible. The price can also be more than the cash price when you get a machine through your insurance company. Insurance companies also get reimbursed the same whether you get a great machine or an average one, so there's little incentive to give you the best machine.

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    Is CPAP Therapy Loud?

    Most of the time, CPAPs are not as noisy as you might think. Even though the device motors are a distant cousin of vacuum motors, manufacturers have gone to great lengths to make machines quiet. Many CPAPs check in at 30 decibels or less, which is considered whisper-quiet. When paired with a quiet CPAP mask, and a good fit, it can decrease the overall noise output to a range that will allow you to comfortably sleep.

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    What's it Like to Sleep With CPAP?

    Sleeping with a CPAP can feel a little unusual at first, but you will adjust quickly to the increased pressure, and soon you won't notice the change in pressure. If you notice air escaping from the side of the mask or air blowing on your face, many masks can be easily adjusted to minimize the discomfort. Many CPAP users use humidification with a small tank of water which helps to reduce the dry mouth or nose sensation that can happen when using CPAP therapy, making it more comfortable for most users. Once you start using your machine as you go to bed, you'll begin to notice changes that will improve your everyday life. You may find any annoyances with your therapy are easily outweighed by the benefits.

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    What are the Side Effects of Using a CPAP?

    Here are some of the most common side effects of CPAP therapy:

    • Claustrophobia
    • Nasal Congestion
    • Dry Mouth

    It's also worth mentioning that serious side effects are rare when using CPAP therapy. For patients that stick with their treatment, the benefits of CPAP therapy far outweigh the side effects.

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    How Much Does a CPAP Cost?

    On average, CPAPs are usually the least expensive. APAPs are a little more expensive and BiPAPs are the most expensive.

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