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Useful information for cpap user

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) arises when the upper airway is blocked or has collapsed during sleep, resulting in shallow breathing or breathing pauses.

 

When you attempt to breathe, any air that squeezes past the blockage can result in loud snoring. OSA can affect anyone, but it typically happens more often in people with upper airway abnormality and those who are overweight. It can also cause dire consequences to your long-term health due to fluctuations of blood pressure and oxygen level.

 

Untreated OSA may increase the risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and diabetes. In addition, fragmentation of sleep in consequence to OSA can lead to the tendency of having work-related or driving accidents.

 

What is Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP)?

 

In general terms, CPAP implies the constant use of air pressure to keep the upper airway open. It prevents the upper airway muscles from collapsing, which causes the blockage.

 

There are 3 main components to deliver the pressure, namely the pump (the machine that pressurizes the room air), the mask (delivers pressure to the airway- a good seal is mandatory), and the tubing (connects the pump and the mask).

 

Common Problems and Suggestions with CPAP Therapy

 

I am experiencing an unusual sensation during my CPAP therapy. Is this normal?

During the initial stage of using the mask, you may feel an unusual sensation when breathing out. It may feel as if there is too much pressure when you stop breathing. Do not be worried about this, because this sensation will wear off once you get used to it. it may take up to 4 weeks to adjust to the CPAP sleep therapy system. Try to relax when using the unit. Take slow deep breaths through your nose with your mouth closed.

 

Nasal Stuffiness

 

Nasal stuffiness and sneezing may occur during the first week of CPAP therapy, especially in colder weather. A good way to solve this problem is to warm up your bedroom at night or use a CPAP humidifier together with the machine. Alternatively. you can apply a substantial amount of Vaseline or white petroleum jelly in each nostril.

 

Eye Irritation and Dry Mouth

 

These may occur as a result of leakage from a nasal mask. A leak from it may irritate your eyes, and air leak through the mouth leads to a dry mouth. To overcome this problem, use a chin strap.

 

Nasal, Sinus, or Ear Pain

 

This may be a sinus infection or middle ear infection. Should this happen, discontinue the CPAP therapy and consult a doctor.

 

Humidifier

 

CPAP humidifiers are add-on options to make CPAP therapy a better experience for patients who are experiencing breathing and sleeping problems like sleep apnea. This helps them stick to the therapy more comfortable. A humidifier is effective in preventing nasal dryness and stuffiness as it creates an increase in air humidification or moisture.

 

Heated CPAP humidifier uses heat to add moisture to the rapidly moving air. The amount of heat can be adjusted according to the amount of pressure the patient needs. it has also been noticed that patients who use the heated CPAP humidifier have a higher compliance rate than those who use the non-heated CPAP humidifier.

 

Maintenance of CPAP Equipment

 

How do I maintain my CPAP mask?

The mask should be washed daily for both optimal performances and for comfort and cleanliness. Take note that every component of the CPAP mask should be washed, including cushions, forehead pads and frames. The headgear should be washed periodically as well. An ideal cleansing solution would be a mild anti-bacterial hand soap that smells good.

 

How do I clean my CPAP tubing?

 

It is rare for bacteria to grow inside the tubing. Hence, the tubing is often considerably clean. However, If you are using a humidifier, then the tube may become contaminated with organisms from the tap water. To avoid this from happening, use distilled water as an alternative to tap water.

 

How often should I clean my CPAP humidifier?

 

It is important that you maintain the cleanliness of the water chamber. Using distilled water is better than using tap water because the latter will cause a build-up of mineral deposits inside the chamber, making cleaning tedious. It is best that the humidifier is washed with hot water and soap every few days.

 

When in use, the humidifier should be placed below the bed level, to prevent the back-flow of water through the tubing and into the machine. The CPAP machine should be placed above the bed level.

 

What is the maintenance I need for my CPAP machine?

 

The machine can be maintained by changing its filter. How often the filter needs to be changed depends on your environment. If you are in a particularly dusty, smoky or humid environment, it is likely that you will have to change the CPAP machine filter more often than someone in a relatively cleaner environment.

 

Have a problem regarding CPAP?

 

Every customer is entitled to having 2 years of warranty of the CPAP equipment, starting from the day of purchase.

 

If you have problems pertaining to mask fitting, or if you require further clarifications on the clinical aspects of the use of the CPAP therapy, do contact us during office hours at 6265 5608.