Monthly Archives: June 2014

CPAP Problems and Solutions: CPAP Side Effects

CPAP Problems and Solutions Series: CPAP Side Effects

Part 2 of my series on CPAP problems and solutions is going to focus on uncomfortable side effects of your CPAP therapy, focusing mostly on sore throats and dry nasal passages, and how we at Respshop recommend you solve these potential problems! Just a quick reminder, the first part of my series focused on CPAP mask leaks, and so far the responses have been great, so hopefully this post about CPAP side effects can help you find the solutions to waking up with a dry, itchy, or painful feeling in your throat or nose.

One of the most common CPAP side effects is a dry nasal passage for users who use nasal or nasal pillow masks that push the air directly into the nose rather than into the throat as with sleep apnea patients who use full face CPAP masks. There is one simple solution for solving this problem that will most likely help 95 percent of patients, and that’s to use a humidifier with your machine. Humidifiers are comfort features that are not required for therapy, but are favorites amongst most of our customers because they heat the air before pushing it through the tube, warming it up before pushing it through the tube, and helping to negate a dry nasal passage. Humidifiers tend to have different humidity levels that they can be set at depending upon your machine, the H5i from ResMed for example has multiple levels of humidity to allow you to pick the setting that works best for your comfort.

humidifier-1

Humidifiers work best in extreme climates that are either dry, dusty, or cold. Newer models of machines such as the Respironics 560 Auto also have heated tubing features that will help aid with relieving your CPAP side effect symptoms. Heated tubing works hand in hand with humidifiers, and is available on our most popular machines, including the ResMed S9 series, the Respironics 60 Series, and the Fisher and Paykel Icon Auto machine. Heated tubing will make sure that the air coming from your CPAP machines humidifier will stay at a set temperature throughout the tube, ensuring that your preferred level of heat is delivered when it reaches your CPAP mask. Heated tubing also helps reduce excess moisture in the tube, which can also lead to a dry nose, this side effect is known as rainout.

A dry nose is not the only common CPAP side effect amongst our customers, as a dry or sore throat can be just as common and potentially more annoying. If you are wearing a nasal or nasal pillow mask and find that you are waking up with an itchy or painful throat after use, you might be a mouth breather and should look into CPAP masks for mouth breathers. We have written a blog about that before! Switching to a full face mask may help relieve your symptoms.

As with the nasal passage, if you are wearing a full face mask and still experiencing a sore throat, a humidifier is probably the right choice for you as well. CPAP humidifiers and the heated tubing will deliver the same benefit to users wearing full face CPAP masks as it would for those wearing the standard nasal versions.

You might be sitting here reading this post and realizing you’re already using a humidifier and heated tubing and still experiencing these symptoms, so what is the next stuff? Most of our machines that we sell, whether it’s an S9 or a 60 series have multiple levels of humidification, and its potentially important for you to up those humidification levels if you are still suffering from some of these CPAP side effects. Depending on the ambient temperature in your room, the weather can have great effects on your therapy, and you should adjust your humidity levels accordingly as the temperatures change during seasons.

Finally, for best results with a humidifier, please always use distilled water. While normal tap water will work, it can also cause bacteria build up to enter into your tube, and have greater effects on your overall health than a sore throat!

This is the second part in my CPAP problems and solutions series, and next week we will cover a new topic, if you have any topics you’d like to see covered, please get in touch at our comment section or message us on Facebook or twitter, as we are always looking to hear from sleep apnea suffers trying to learn more, tag it as CPAP Side Effects (or mention it, kind of a long tag!) to let us know where you’re coming from so w

CPAP Side Effects and Solutions

CPAP Mask Leaks

CPAP Mask Leaks

Avoid CPAP mask leaks for better therapy.

Avoid CPAP mask leaks for better therapy.

Over the next few weeks I am going to do some blogs on common CPAP problems and their solutions, and I am going to start with a blog about CPAP Mask Leaks and the common issues that can cause this problem, and offer up some of the potential solutions. I am going to call this my CPAP Problems and Solutions series, and each will be followed with hopefully a helpful video. I originally was going to write one large post, but then I realized that there are multitudes of potential problems with CPAP therapy that can be solved very easily, and I figured the best way to make this user friendly was to break it down into sub sections. Anyway, now that I have rambled, let’s introduce you to CPAP Mask Leaks and their potential solutions! (Quick side note, if what is ailing you isn’t covered, please get in touch with our customer service department and let them know about your exact problem so that we can guide you in the right direction.)

First things first with any CPAP mask or machine is to make sure that you clean your equipment regularly. The oils from your face can cause mask cushions to break down more quickly than traditional wear and tear, and if a cushion is starting to deteriorate, you’ll notice an increased amount of leaks from your mask. CPAP mask leaks not only bother your partner due to the increased noise, but they also have a large impact on the overall therapy you are receiving as less air will be getting into your airway passage. If you are starting to notice leaks, whether you’re experiencing a louder mask due to more pressure being blown out, or paying regular attention to your CPAP therapy data, you should replace your mask cushions. In general cushions start to break down every two to three months, dependent upon how well you take care of your mask.

Mask leaks don’t just occur because of a worn down cushion. CPAP users may be using the wrong sized cushion with their mask and should look into replacing their medium with a small or large. Most of the masks we sell have replacement cushions available, and sizing with CPAP masks is the hardest part of making a purchase. If you choose a medium and realize only later it’s too big or too small, you can usually replace the cushion without having to purchase a whole new mask. Your mask should never be uncomfortable on your head to the point where it is extremely tight and leaving marks just to get a good seal, if this is the case, look into purchasing a different cushion size.

Not all of the problems with CPAP Masks have to do with the actual mask itself, sometimes your machine can be set at a pressure setting that is too high and causing your mask to blow off your face. If your mask is fitting perfectly, and comfortably, a very key element (hey if a mask isn’t comfortable, you probably won’t wear it!), before you turn on your machine, and yet being blown off your face during use, it is probable that either your pressure is too high, or your CPAP machine is malfunctioning. It is important to regularly consult your prescribing physician to make sure that you are both monitoring your data and to make adjustments as needed to your pressure.

Finally, if neither of those options are what’s ailing you, then look into purchasing RemZzz CPAP Mask Liners. A comfort feature that works with nasal and full face masks, RemZzz’s act as a barrier between your skin and mask cushion, and not only improve comfort, but they can also help with the seal by filling in any unwanted cracks, and happen to be a much cheaper option then always purchasing new masks!

Hopefully the answer to your CPAP Mask Leaks problem was found within this blog post, but if it was not, please get in touch with our customer service department at 866-936-3754 so that we can make sure your therapy device is working at its peak during use, working hand in hand to help treat your sleeping disorder!

CPAP Problems and Solutions

Traveling with a CPAP

Travel CPAP machines are lighter and easier to carry while you're on the road.

Travel CPAP machines are lighter and easier to carry while you’re on the road.

Traveling with a CPAP Machine

CPAP therapy is intended to help everyone who suffers from sleep apnea, whether they be a homebody, occasional traveler or frantic adventurer. Even so, sleep apnea patients who do find themselves frequently on the go have a different set of concerns, wants and needs when compared with more stationary patients. Highly mobile patients generally require smaller, more compact machines; they typically need batteries with wide compatibility; and they benefit from integrated humidification systems.

Below are two general tips which should be of use to every sleep apnea patient who travels frequently. Next is a series of tips which pertain specifically to taking your CPAP machine and other equipment when flying on an airplane. Lastly, three machines which are particularly “travel friendly” are examined to give mobile patients a sense of what’s currently available on the market.

All Purpose Tips for Traveling with a CPAP Machine

(1) Check your CPAP battery power level – only if your machine has a battery

Whether you’re getting ready to embark on a camping trip, business excursion or family vacation, you should always check the power level on your CPAP machine so you have a sense of how long it can function before it needs to be recharged.

(2) Prepare for the extra weight

CPAP machines and their associated accessories come in a wide range of sizes and weights. Although the CPAP machines designed specifically for travel are noted for their lightness, other machines will be significantly less convenient to carry around. If you’re taking an extended trip which requires that you regularly change cities and hotels, it’s important that you prepare for the additional stress that your CPAP equipment will bring about. Lugging around your CPAP machine from city to city could become tedious quickly, so it’s important that you prepare yourself accordingly.

Flying with Your CPAP System

(1) Always carry on your equipment

It’s strongly recommended that you carry on your CPAP equipment as opposed to checking it. Carrying on your CPAP equipment will give you greater control over the safety of your items: you won’t have to worry about your equipment becoming lost as occasionally happens when things are checked. What’s more, your CPAP equipment is much less likely to suffer damage if it’s carried on rather than checked. Before carrying on, however, make sure that you pack all of your equipment in a bag with something soft to cushion it throughout travel. Most CPAP items are relatively fragile – including the carrying case for your machine – and so it’s best to be extra cautious.

(2) Be conscious of your power compatibility

Flyers, particularly those flying overseas, need to be aware of the compatibility of their battery. Some batteries may function perfectly well anywhere in the United States, but might require an adapter to work internationally. You don’t want to be stuck without the means to charge your machine!

(3) Alert the airline beforehand

Before you travel on an airplane with your CPAP machine and accessories, it’s vitally important that you alert the airline that you’ll be bringing it along. Alerting the airline will enable your airline to make any necessary accommodations prior to your flight. Moreover, before flying you should acquire a sticker which should be placed on the bag containing your equipment so that others are aware of the contents.

Top Travel CPAP Machines

If you travel for business or pleasure frequently you have no reason to fret or panic: there are a variety of CPAP machines available which have been constructed specifically to meet your demands.

At just 10 ounces – with humidifier! – the Z1 Portable Travel CPAP is presently the lightest machine on the market. It comes with Z-Breathe pressure relief technology and can be equipped with an integrated battery system (known as PowerShell).

The EZEX Pressure Relief Portable CPAP Machine by Transcend is another travel friendly device which frequent flyers should take notice of. The EZEX by Transcend weighs just 15 ounces and comes with universal power adapters so patients will be able to power the machine in international settings. Transcend machines also have single and multi night battery options.

Finally, the XT Line from APEX Medical are palm sized CPAP machines that make traveling with a CPAP easy. Machines in the XT Series are likewise very light in weight – just 1.76 pounds – and comes with an inbuilt power supply adds to its portability. The XT comes with a carrying case which makes it easier to bring along on flights; users who intend to travel internationally will need to procure a power outlet adapter to keep the device charged.

Popular Travel CPAP Machines

Choosing a CPAP Mask

There are three common CPAP mask options: full face, nasal, and nasal pillow.

There are three common CPAP mask options: full face, nasal, and nasal pillow.

Choosing a CPAP mask can be difficult for CPAP users, and we’re going to help your navigate through the hundreds of masks by breaking down the three main categories to help you find the perfect choice for your therapy set up.

There are three different types of CPAP masks, and they’re each significantly different in the way that they deliver your therapy. Every person is going to be different in their needs, which is why this post will hopefully give you the positives and negatives of each mask, so that when you make your choice, you know that you have the perfect mask for your sleep apnea.

Let’s start by talking about the three different varieties of CPAP masks that we sell at Respshop. The most popular type of CPAP masks are the nasal masks, which completely cover the nose. Nasal masks tend to be the most popular mask for CPAP therapy, but that does not mean they are meant for everybody. Nasal masks will cover your nose, and if they are fitting right, will completely seal the nasal passage and deliver consistent therapy throughout the night. Nasal masks are intended to be designed for users who breathe through their nose throughout the night. Nasal masks tend to be in the middle when it comes to size and weight, not as light as nasal pillows, nor as heavy or bulky as full face CPAP masks. Those who don’t like nasal masks tend to complain about pressure on the bridge of the nose. If you believe that you need a nasal mask for your therapy but are hesitant due to these concerns, products such as the gecko nasal pad can help.

For CPAP users who breathe out of their nasal passage but cannot get used to the nasal pad sealing around their nose, nasal pillow masks may be the perfect choice. Nasal pillows are the lightest CPAP masks available on the market, and tend to be less restrictive. Most nasal pillows offer the widest range of vision when being used as they have less parts than their counterparts, which can also mean less time cleaning your mask. Users who don’t like nasal pillows tend to need a mask that is more secure and do not enjoy the prongs being in the nose rather than having a cushion that seals around it.

Choosing a CPAP mask isn’t just about comfort, it’s also about needs. We have a post on CPAP Masks for Mouth Breathers where we talk about specific types of masks. Take a read if that’s something you’re struggling with. In it you’ll notice we focus on full face CPAP masks, which cover both the nose and mouth, and are going to be the choice for anybody who breathes out of their mouth during sleep. Full face masks will seal around both areas of your face, and will make sure that if you do breathe out of your mouth during CPAP use, your therapy won’t be negatively affected. Full face masks are not necessary for those who only breathe out of their nose, but some users may find them more comfortable than nasal masks. Like nasal masks, users may struggle with the mask touching the bridge of your nose or the cheeks, and products like the RemZzz mask liner can be helpful in relieving any sore spots.

If you’re ever concerned with choosing a CPAP mask, get in touch with our customer service department and tell them about your needs and concerns. Hopefully we can get you set up with the right mask for you, so that when it comes time to use your CPAP machine, you’re comfortable and your therapy is effective as we work to help you deal with your sleep apnea.

Choosing a CPAP Mask