Monthly Archives: July 2014

Distinguishing CPAP Machine Types

An Auto CPAP Machine

The 560 from Respironics is an Auto CPAP Machine.

At RespShop, we frequently get questions about the different types of CPAP machines we carry. Customers frequently ask ‘what is the difference between the CPAP machines category and the auto CPAP machines listing? or ‘can a travel machine be used regularly?’ and even ‘what are those BiPAP/VPAP machines?’ Today, we’d like to help clear up ambiguities between these machines and help you better figure out exactly what you need for your sleep apnea therapy.

First let’s talk about manual CPAP machines, which are listed as ‘CPAP Machines’ on RespShop. These devices operate at a fixed pressure setting and can be considered the most basic type of machine on the market. To operate, the patient simply turns on the machine, sets the pressure to their desired setting – generally, manual machines will have a fixed pressure range of between 4 and 20 cm H20 – and falls asleep. Many, but not all, manual machines have a ramp feature that allows your machine to climb toward your desired pressure incrementally, allowing you to slowly adapt to your specifications and drift off to sleep without a sudden rush of pressure. Our most popular manual machine is Respironics’s PR System One 60 Series REMStar Pro.

Auto machines, on the other hand, feature various algorithms that help deliver optimal pressure to you throughout the night. These machines have the ability to adjust pressure during exhalation for a smooth respiratory cycle and they respond to changes in your breathing patterns and apneas to ensure that the proper rate of pressure is delivered at all times. Like manual machines, these also come with ramp technology. ResMed’s S9 AutoSet is the most popular auto machine at RespShop.

Travel CPAP machines can be either manual or auto machines: what sets these apart from standard CPAP machines is not the pressure settings, but rather the portability of the device. Be sure to check out our video documenting the advantages and functions of travel machines on your Youtube channel if you want more information.

Finally, VPAP and BiPAP machines are strictly for patients with central sleep apnea, which is a more serious condition than obstructive sleep apnea. VPAP and BiPAP machines help the users breathe at night, and have higher pressure ranges than CPAP machines. VPAP machines should never be used interchangeably with CPAP equipment, as they are two entirely different machines designed to treat different conditions.

Hopefully this summary provided you a little more context and information about the type of CPAP machines we carry at RespShop. If you have any further questions about us or our products, please drop us a line below the video or at our email, sales@respshop.com.

CPAP Mask For Her

AirFit N10 for Her

AirFit N10 for Her

At RespShop, we offer a number of different CPAP mask options for our customers. One of our lines consists of masks designed specifically for women: this includes ResMed’s line of ‘for her’ masks and also women’s masks from Respironics and Fisher & Paykel.

Masks designed for women are built a little differently than standard CPAP masks. In an attempt to accommodate feminine facial structures, the cushions on the for her masks are smaller and angled slightly differently than traditional cushions. Some of these masks also come with slightly smaller headgear. All ‘for her’ masks come with pink-colored headgear, and many feature aesthetic pink trim on the outside of the mask’s frame as well.

ResMed makes ten different ‘for her’ masks, including multiple nasal masks, nasal cushion masks, and full face designs each. Respironics makes a nasal pillow mask for ladies while Fisher & Paykel’s Lady Zest is a full face CPAP mask. Let’s touch on a few of our popular for her masks.

Like all for her CPAP masks, the AirFit N10 For Her from ResMed features the same basic concept as the men’s mask. It comes with magnetic attachment clips, a dual-walled cushion, and a design that minimizes facial contact points. The only difference between the for her model and the original design is the smaller cushion and the pink trim on the headgear straps and the inside of the cushion.

The Lady Zest Q from Fisher & Paykel offers perhaps the best design from an artistic standpoint. Like the men’s mask, the Zest Q features Fisher & Paykel’s FlexiFit technology that helps the mask adjust to fit a variety of faces (though, of course, the Lady Zest Q is intended for patients with relatively small facial structures). What separates this model from the men’s mask is the flowery pink design on the inside and outside of the mask.

Finally, the Respironics GoLife for women is built with a flexible nasal pillow cushion that will accommodate your movement throughout the night witout damaging your seal. It features pink headgear straps, and the mask’s tube can be worn traditionally or attached above your head.

These are just three of the twelve for her CPAP masks we carry at RespShop. Take a look at our line today for the best – and best looking – fit for you.

Finally, just as a reminder, we’d like to mention that even though the masks are labeled ‘for her’, they are not inherently incompatible with men’s faces. Men with small faces and facial ones might find that the for her models actually fit better than standard masks. At the same time, some women may not like the shape of their for her cushions and may opt for a different sized mask. For patients who like the for her size but not the pink trim, many of ResMed’s masks that come with a for her option also include a similarly sized cushion in their traditional colors.

For more information, check out our video below:

CPAP Problems and Solutions: CPAP Filters

ResMed S9 Autoset

Be sure to replace filters in your CPAP machine often

Part four of my series on CPAP Problems and Solutions will be focusing on CPAP filters and how they affect your therapy and your health. You can read parts one, two, and three to learn more about the topics we have been focusing on, and leave us a comment if you have a particular issue you want us to talk about!

At RespShop, we always advise our customers to take care of their CPAP filters. By properly maintaining filters – and changing them once they’ve become old or dirty – patients can get the most out of their therapy while practicing good hygiene. Conversely, if filters aren’t changed often enough, they will become saturated and may no longer be able to dependably ward off bacteria and debris. Let’s take a longer look at how to properly use and treat your CPAP filters.

There are two types of CPAP filters: washable filters and disposable filters. Washable filters are, as the name implies, washable and reusable. Often made of a foam-like substance, these filters should be cleaned regularly, which will allow you to clean most of the debris and bacteria that seeps into your filter over time. If you take care of your reusable filter and wash it once or twice every week, there’s no reason they can’t last 6-12 months.

When you do wash your filters, there are a couple of ways to clean them. Some patients prefer to wash their filters in the dishwasher or a washing machine. For most disposable filters, this will work just fine: most filters that top manufacturers make are intended for dishwasher or washing machine use.

At RespShop, however, we recommend that you wash all of your supplies by hand, filters included. We always advise washing equipment with warm water, a soft cloth, and a non-abrasive soap. Dishwashers and washing machines can sometimes wash too aggressively, which may tear the filter or wear it down faster than it normally would.

Disposable filters should never be washed. They are made of fabric, and if the fabric gets wet, the filter will be ruined. The advantage to the disposable filter is the lack of maintenance: you won’t ever have to spend time washing a disposable filter, a feature many patients enjoy. The only negative to disposable filters is that they need to be replaced much more often. While reusable filters can last for up to a year with proper maintenance, disposable filters should be replaced every 3-6 weeks or at the first sign of discoloration.

For any filter, you’ll want to look for signs that it needs to be replaced. Any time your filter has obvious discoloration or substances that can’t be washed off, you probably need a new filter, regardless of how long you’ve been using your current one. Regularly changing them is important, as over time they become saturated with unwashable bacteria and lose their ability to block debris and dust from entering into your CPAP. Once your filter fails, dust and debris may flow into your tube and mask, which may disturb you or wake you up.

With regular maintenance, filters can help you get the most out of your therapy. Be sure to regularly replace your filters for best results.

CPAP Filters

 

CPAP Bacteria

CPAP Problems and Solutions: CPAP Bacteria

CPAP wipes help to keep your equipment hygienic.

CPAP wipes help to keep your equipment hygienic.

In parts one and two of my series on CPAP Problems and Solutions, we talked about mask leaks and some side effects that are common when using your CPAP machine. In this portion, I am going to talk about CPAP and your health, most importantly CPAP Bacteria build ups that can occur in both your humidifier and tube, that will eventually end up in your body and cause you to get sick from using your machine.

Most people using a CPAP are using it for one single purpose, to treat their sleep apnea, a serious sleeping disorder that when treated effectively, can boost energy and production during the day. Basically, our machines are designed to improve our overall health, so why would we not spend the few minutes a day it takes to clean them if the repercussions can be serious to our health beyond sleep apnea? Maintaining your CPAP equipment isn’t just important to your wallet (and let’s be honest, its real important, these machines, masks, all the accessories, it can add up quickly), but it can be important your health, helping prevent things like the common cold, flu, and other viruses that can occur from bacteria building up and being pumped directly into your body.

So how does CPPA bacteria build up? There are three common ways that can all be prevented by spending a few minutes each day cleaning your equipment. First and foremost, and probably the most strenuous to do (and I really use that term strenuous lightly because it’s a few minutes at most out of your morning) is in your CPAP tube. Let’s remember that you’re consistently breathing in and out of the tube that is attached to your mask, and if you use it, your humidifier. The air, and moisture traveling through this tube over time can allow bacteria to build up inside the tube, meaning when you use it you will be breathing in all of the bad. A lot of users think that washing their tube out daily with warm water will get out all of that build up, but honestly it’s not going to be as effective as you’ll want when thinking about your health. CPAP Tubing Brushes are designed to effectively remove 99 percent of that stuff in your tube with simple swipes up and down inside the tube.

Let’s talk about humidifiers, last post I spoke about how effective they are at improving your comfort by reducing things like dry throats and noses, and really 90 percent of CPAP users are probably using that humidifier nightly. How many of them are filling it with simple tap water? If I knew the percentage, I would tell you, but what I do know is that tap water in the humidifier, while it may work, is terrible for you and your machine. Tap water will allow things like minerals, and that bacteria we keep coming back to, to build up in your water chamber, forcing you to replace it more often, while also having negative impacts on your health. The solution? Distilled water, every night, poured out in the morning, and refilled again before use. But remember to clean out that water chamber with warm water and a mild soap, even if you use distilled water.

The last step to prevent CPAP bacteria buildups is at the thing that touches your mouth or nose the most, and that’s your mask. Clean daily, and I really mean daily, every morning, after using your mask. Warm water and mild soap? That’ll do the trick, but things like alcohol free wipes and sprays are more effective and designed to specifically work with the silicone or gel cushions on your CPAP mask. What’s more, cleaning these cushions, headgears, frames, will save you a whole lot of money in the long term as well, and improve your therapy by causing the parts to break down less frequently, reducing leaks.

All it really takes to improve your health while using your CPAP machine is to take good care of the machine and accessories. You save money, while also improving your health, it’s really a win win for all as we keep working to improve sleep apnea therapy. Part four will be coming soon, is there any topics you’d like to see me cover? Leave them as comments on the bottom or on our Twitter or Facebook page! Thanks for reading and hopefully you’re getting the information you need and deserve!

Cleaning your CPAP Equipment