CPAP Rocks; CPAP Blows!

When CPAP works you feel great, well rested and more able to live life. But when it doesn’t you just want to throw the mask away and give up your dream of ever getting a great nights sleep.

Did you know that only 2 out of 5 people use their CPAP machine.

You are not alone.

If this is you, you’ve come to the right website. If you’re struggling with:

  • dry like a desert mouth
  • nose bleeds
  • acne from around your mask
  • red facial marks and open sores
  • dry eyes and nose.

Read on. I’m here to help. I have great advice on how you can make CPAP work for you.

So let’s get back to basics.

What is Sleep Apnea?

In a nutshell sleep apnea is when you stop breathing while you are asleep.

What Types of Sleep Apnea?

There are three types:

  • Obstructive
    •  As you sleep at night the soft tissue at the back of your throat relaxes and plugs up your airway. This covers about 80% of people that have sleep apnea. Read more at Wikipedia
  • Central
    •  This type of sleep apnea is caused by your brain not sending the signals to your body to breath. Read more.
  • Mixed
    • With mixed you have both obstructed airways and your brain doesn’t trigger a breathing response. Wikipedia.

 How can you tell if you have Sleep Apnea?

The most accurate way is to go for a sleep exam. Don’t worry you don’t have to study for it; just turn up in your pajamas and a teddy bear.

They hook you up with a bunch of wires and monitor your sleep counting how often you snore and stop breathing. They measure your brain activity and the amount of oxygen in your blood.

The severity of your problem is the amount of times you have ‘breathing events.’ Each event is when you stop breathing for more than 10 seconds.

Severity Events per hour
Normal <5
Mild 5-15
Moderate 15-30
Severe >30

Every event makes you ‘wake up’. So if you wake up 30 times and hour it’s no wonder you wake up tired.

If I Snore Do I have Sleep Apnea?

Some people who snore don’t have sleep apnea; some people who don’t snore have sleep apnea.

There are other things to check for:

  • you stop breathing: almost gasping for air;
  • You’re very tired all day;
  • you wake up thinking you didn’t sleep at all.

If you have any of these symptoms you should speak to your doctor.

Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous: it’s Just Snoring?

Sit down in a chair and hold your breathe. Hold it for 10 seconds. Quick breath and hold it again for another 10 seconds. If you will get dizzy, you pulse will quicken; your heart starts to pound in your chest; you feel sick. Gasp some air in. Do this every 2 minutes.

That’s what sleep apnea does to your body.

You’re starving your body of oxygen.

You’re strangling yourself.

Do that 30 times an hour and you’re body will suffer.

Sleep Apnea leads to:

  • severe headaches
  • depression
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • heat attack
  • strokes
  • and death.

That some pretty serious stuff: it’s vital that you sort this out.

You life depends on it.

What are the Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea?

There are 7 options:

  • Life Style changes
  • Sleeping changes
  • CPAP Treatment
  • Neuro-stimulations
  • Medications
  • Oral Appliances
  • Surgery

Treatment is normally a combination of the options: cut out alcohol, lose weight and use a CPAP machine.

 

The CPAP Solution

What is CPAP?

CPAP is an acronym for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.

Quite the mouthful eh? All it really means is something that will keep blowing air down your throat to keep it open.

OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) is when something in your throat blocks the airway. This is called a Stint. The air pressures blows the splint and makes it so you can breath.

The CPAP Solution is made up of four parts:

CPAP Machine

This unit takes the air from the room, filters out the dust and stuff and forces the air into…

Humidifier

… the humidifier. This takes the dry air from the machine and makes it ‘wetter.’ This helps stop any dryness causing your nose to dry out.

There are two humidifier:

  • heated : the water is heated and the air socks up the water;
  • passover: like heated but the water isn’t heated. (heated water holds more liquid so it’s the preferred solution.)

The air from the humidifier goes into the …

Hose

… the hose.

The hose is responsible to transferring the warm air from the humidifier to the mask.

When the warm air touches the sides of the cool air then condensation occurs. This is called rain-out. This can fill up the hose and block the air.

You can get a heated hose or a host cover to stop rain-out. You can also buy lengths more than 6 feet or lightweight hoses.

And now, the moist air is forced up the host into the …

Mask

… mask. This is the most important part of the CPAP solution.

For CPAP to work the mask must have an air tight seal. Without it the air will leak out losing all the pressure needed to keep your airway open.

The right mask for you depends on the way you breath, your sleeping position and the amount of pressure you need to keep your airway open.

  • Nasal : the mask covers just your nose;
  • Nasal Pillow: this mask has soft prongs that enter your nose and a padded surface that rests against your nostrils creating a air tight fit;
  • Oral: this mask covers your mouth only;
  • Full Face: the full face mask covers both your nose and mouth
  • Hybrid: a fancy name for a mask that is both a mouth and nasal pillow mask.

CPAP will only work if all components are working correctly. There are a lot of things that can go wrong:

  • Dry nose :
    • the air has dried out your nose making you more likely to get infections. A Humidifier will help.
  • Dry Mouth:
    • your mouth is open when you breath. A chin strap is needed.
  • Dry Eyes:
    • the mask has a leak cause air to get blown into your face. You need to fix the mask leak.
  • Condensation in Nose or Mask:
    • this happens when the warmer moist air from you machine comes in contact with the colder air hose or mask. To fix this you need a hose cover or heated hose. Read more about these accessories.
  • Noise:
    • the machines will make noise and they vary from a mild whisper to a humming fridge. You need to put your machine lower down. I put mine on the floor but because it was dusty I had to clean/change my filter almost weekly.
  • Leaks:
    • there’s nothing the whistling your mask makes when it leaks. It keeps you awake and you lose all of the benefits. You may need  a new mask or can use a mask liner.
  • Ugliness:
    • who wants to sleep next to Darth Vader (and sound like him). The mask and the hose isn’t attractive. Well its better to look ugly. But your partner will appreciate being able to sleep without being woken up by your snoring. You will also have extra energy and maybe nookie. In fact it’s been proven that CPAP improves a man’s sexual prowess.
  • The Mask Falls Off:
    • Many times I woke up without my mask on and can’t remember taking it off. This normally happens because you’re not getting enough air. You should see your doctor about adjusting the pressure.
  • Bloating and Farting:
    • nothing beats a CPAP fart: it’s loud and very long. You’ll be the envy of every teenage boy. But is very uncomfortable. The best cure is use GasX.
  • Peeing a lot:
    • If you pee a lot during the night taking the mask on and off, stopping the leaks is absolutely exhausting. In that case you should get a quick release hose.
  • Sinus Infection/Congestion:
    • sinus infections can be cause by dry nose, dirty air (need a new filter) or unclean machine. You should clean your mask and hose daily. This is a pain and you should use SoClean2 sanitizer. With this machine you simply put the mask in it and the machine will steam clean your humidifier, mask and hose.

CPAP Compliance

With all these potential problems its a winder that any uses their machine for more than a few weeks.

Compliance (i.e. using it regularly) is a real problem. Some medicare providers want to see proof that you’re using your CPAP machine. If that’s the case you’ll need a data tracking machine.

It’s been shown that if you use your machine every night for 28 nights you’ll reap the benefits and you’ll carry on using it.

You will get a great night’s sleep, feel rested, less depressed and live an improve life.

Summary

Keep reading and I’ll give you hints and tips help you get the best out of CPAP and make it work for you.