We’re back with our third edition of the CPAP and sleep apnea mailbag. We’ve had tremendous questions the first two times we ran this feature, and as long as they keep rolling in, we’re happy to answer more. Remember, if you want your question answered in a future edition of our mailbag, just send ’em on in to our email address at firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject heading ‘mailbag.’
On to the questions!
1. I snore a lot: what are the chances I have sleep apnea? — Victor, Los Angeles.
Victor, it’s really tough to tell without a sleep study. Everybody snores to some extent, but sleep apnea is a specific, chronic condition where the snoring is both very loud and very frequent. It’s never a bad idea to speak with your physician about sleep apnea, or to take a sleep test, if you’re concerned. If you have friends and family that frequently tell you that you snore loudly — if you wake people with your snoring, or can be heard from another room, or if you’re choking at night — then I’d particularly encourage you to seek medical attention.
2. Is there any way to treat sleep apnea besides a CPAP machine? Abby, Twisp, WA.
There are no shortage of ways to treat sleep apnea! There are CPAP machines, nasal strips, jaw surgeries, chest implants, and several other means to combat the condition. For the most part, physicians and dentists recommend CPAP therapy for treating sleep apnea for two reasons: first, it’s a tried and proven method for successfully treating the condition; surgery sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. With proper and regular use, CPAP functions perfectly. Second, CPAP is much less obtrusive than many of the other methods. It’s much easier to wear a mask at night than to undergo chest surgery that may or may not alleviate the problem.
3. How can I tell what size mask I should buy? Bill, Blue Ash.
Bill, you can access mask sizing gauges on nearly every single CPAP mask we carry on their individual page. For example, for the AirFit N10, click here, and hit the tab ‘sizing gauge’ to print out a sizing guide and see what size works best for you.
4. Can I use a travel machine as a full time machine? Lamar, Shreveport, LA.
Great question Lamar. Yes, all of our travel machines are durable enough for full time use. Each also comes with a multi-year warranty — the length of the warranty depends on the particular brand — so even if it does incur non-use related damage, it can be replaced. Machines are simply designated as ‘travel machines’ because they’re small and lightweight; they can be used regularly just like a normal machine.
5. Do I have to use a humidifier? Rhonda, Calera, AL.
You do not. Humidifiers are simply a comfort feature that most people enjoy as a part of their therapy. They reduce some of the symptoms associated with CPAP — dry throat and dry mouth particularly — and we recommend that new patients use them, but they’re not essential.
Thanks for your questions this week folks! We’ll do it again real soon!