Category Archives: CPAP Health and Cleaning

Learn about CPAP health and how to clean your CPAP machines, masks, and supplies.

Five Reasons Why CPAP Therapy Is Better Than Ever

AirCurveLike most fields of medicine, the study of sleep-disordered breathing is an ever-evolving field. We know much more about sleep disorders — including sleep apnea — than we did even ten years ago, and the the quality of treatment for these conditions has improved in lockstep. One of the major beneficiaries of this trend is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.

Since CPAP was invented in the early 1980’s, the industry has undergone a number of transformations. Through it all, we’ve seen steady improvements in the quality of equipment and the odds that patients will increase their compliance with the therapy. This is important: sleep apnea is a debilitating condition, and as more and more people are diagnosed with OSA every year, an effective solution for treating the disease becomes increasingly important.

Fortunately, CPAP is in better shape than ever. Seemingly every year, we see new improvements to masks, machines, or other equipment. To put it simply, there have never been more people invested in making CPAP both comfortable and functional. Read on for five reasons why there’s never been a better time to wear a CPAP machine.

1. Machine Comfort Features

Most premier machines — including the 60 series from Respironics as well as the AirSense and S9 lines from ResMed — come with several comfort features that either delay the onset of pressure until you’re fast asleep or reduce the amount of pressure upon exhalation. These features help you adjust to therapy by limiting some of the more unpleasant features inherent in CPAP.

2. Advancements in Humidification 

While CPAP humidifiers are nothing new, they are smaller and more effective than ever. Once much clunkier than the machines themselves, humidifiers are now small and transportable enough to fit on travel CPAP machines. As a bonus, patients who use their humidifier in conjunction with a heated breathing tube can experience all of the benefits of humidity without having to deal with rainout.

3. Lighter CPAP Masks

Naturally, CPAP masks will get lighter over time, and it’d be silly to think that we’ll never see anything lighter than the Pico or the AirFit. But both are extremely lightweight masks and each has been designed to seal effectively. In 1990, your CPAP mask may have looked like a football helmet; the AirFit’s and Pico’s of today, however, weigh less than a pound.

4. Hygienic CPAP

It’s never been easier to clean your equipment and ensure a sanitary therapy experience every single night. Water chambers and tubes are often robust enough to withstand the dishwasher, and masks are made from waterproof material that allows you to simply give it a scrub in the shower. Between that and items like the SoClean — which cleans your equipment with oxygen — it’s never been quicker or easier to clean your CPAP gear.

5. Aesthetic Improvements 

While this may not seem all that important, it’s worth mentioning just how much better CPAP equipment looks than it used to. Gone are the days of the Bane masks and ugly devices: the AirSense 10 (pictured above) looks more like an iPod docking station than a CPAP machine!

If you’re a CPAP patient, or if you’ve tried it before but found it ineffective, take heart from these five reasons why CPAP is better than ever. CPAP compliance has never been easier: if you’ve given up your CPAP therapy before, hopefully these developments will inspire you to give it one more shot.

Comfort and Cleaning Supplies

CPAP-Hose-Lift-Stand-Alone-respshopAt RespShop we have a number of comfort and cleaning supplies that can enhance the quality of your sleep apnea therapy. Some of our products can make it easier to fall asleep while our line of cleaning supplies can help you keep your therapy hygienic. Read on for a list of some of our most popular comfort and cleaning products.

Hose Lift

The hose lift (pictured up top) is one of our most popular comfort solutions. Meant to be placed behind the bed, the hose lift has a small strap placed on the top of the lift: you can thread your hose through the strap and once erected, the lift will allow you to comfortably lift your CPAP hose above your head. This is ideal placement for tossers and turners who don’t want to roll onto their hose at night.

Made of hollow aluminum, the hose lift is lightweight and portable. It folds up easily, and can fit into most suitcases, making it ideal for patients who travel frequently. The lift can be attached to suit any sized bed: if you like to hang your hose above your head, this is for you.

Tube Brush

Stainless_stem_CPAP_Tube_Cleaning_Brush-respshopHave you ever tried to clean your CPAP tubing but just can’t reach everything in the hose? If you have, our line of tube brushes might be perfect for you.

We carry two thin stainless steel CPAP tube brushes — one 3.5 feet, one 5 feet long. The brushes feature long bristles on the end of the brush, which can be pushed deep inside the tube to clean the hardest to clean spots. The bristles can be run through a dishwasher, making it one of the most convenient cleaning supplies you can use. Users who clean their equipment regularly love being able to clean their tubing quickly and thoroughly with the tube brush.

Nasal Soft CPAP Cushion

77915B28654B0BA5E7F1CE786AC412489A9A73E8-respshopThe Nasal Soft CPAP Cushion prevents skin irritation, nasal bridge soreness, and potential mask leaks. It comes with a padded cushion that is designed to rest between your nose and the CPAP mask cushion. The cushion is compatible with faces of all sizes and shapes and it works well with all full face and nasal CPAP masks. For patients who often wake up with stretch marks and facial blemishes from their CPAP mask, the nasal soft CPAP cushion can provide welcome relief.

Citrus Mask Cleanser

citrus-II-cpap-mask-cleaner-1-respshopIf you want to clean your mask and have it smell great too, consider using our Citrus Mask Cleanser. It comes in a spray bottle and can be used to clean your CPAP mask quickly and easily. Simply spray the cleanser and wipe with a paper towel or a soft cloth for a hygienic and great smelling mask. The spray bottle comes in two different sizes: 1.5 and eight ounces. The smaller size can be brought aboard a plane and is great for traveling.

These are just some of the comfort and cleaning supplies we carry at RespShop. If you’re looking for just the right item to augment your CPAP therapy, give this section a browse today!

Cleaning CPAP Machines

The SoClean can help sanitize your CPAP equipment.

The SoClean can help sanitize your CPAP equipment.Proper Ways of Cleaning CPAP Machines

Cleaning CPAP Machines daily is one of the most important things you can do. Not only does it extend the life of your equipment and save you money, but it greatly benefits your overall health. Sleep apnea is a serious health disorder, and getting treatment is not only important to healthy living, but it can affect your ability to perform at work, school, or any other important area of life. Treating sleeping disorders has become more relevant in the last decade, as the community starts to realize that sleep apnea is a serious condition, and CPAP machines are the primary way of treating both safely and effectively.

There are multiple steps to beginning CPAP treatment, getting a sleep test done, getting a prescription from your doctor, researching the best possible machine for your need, maybe trying out the different types of CPAP masks, whether its full face or nasal, and purchasing your set up and getting started. While many users have gone through these steps and are now undergoing treatment, what some don’t realize is the important of taking care of your equipment can not only save you money, it can really improve your therapy and your overall health.

We’re treating a health disorder that millions suffer from, and these machines and masks are touching your face and being breathed into every night that you use it. As with any type of medical equipment, sanitizing is extremely important to ensure that your mask and tube are thoroughly cleaned from any types of bacteria or facial oils. One of the biggest complains or concerns we get from customers is leaks from their CPAP mask, and while a lot of time that may have to do with proper fitting or the right type of mask, it can also be caused by your cushion or headgear breaking down. A CPAP mask is going to sit on your face throughout the night, and the oils from your skin can cause your cushion to break down faster than standard wear and tear if not properly cleaned.

So how do you clean a mask properly? First, warm water and a mild detergent every morning after use is the bare minimum, as a user myself, I recommend going beyond that, whether it’s with CPAP mask cleansing wipes or a CPAP mask spray. The video that we made for you below will give you a basic outline of how to use these products, but in general they’re pretty simple. The wipes are like any typical household wipe, albeit with much different products in them, and they can be used to clean your mask and should be disposed of. The spray on the other hand is sprayed directly onto the mask, and then you should wash it off with warm water.

Masks are just one part of cleaning CPAP equipment, possibly the most important piece to clean on your set up is the hardest to thoroughly do. The CPAP tube will build up bacteria over consistent use, and while washing it out with water and soap and hanging to air dry may work, it’s not guarantee to remove everything inside. This tube brush has been one of the most beneficial things I ever purchased for my set up. While I use the standard 6 foot tube, this brush is also available in a 5 foot length, and as you see in the video, you should clean out both sides to make sure you get all the way through the tube.

Finally we come to CPAP humidifiers, I use one with my machine, but not everybody does. For those who do, they know how comfortable they can be, but do they know that the water chamber can get filled with bacteria or minerals from tap water use? Replacing the water every morning after use is important, and cleaning it out (not in the dishwasher!!) will make sure that you scrub away any of the bad. While tap filter will work, distilled water is recommended as it is cleaner and safer, and will make improve the therapy you receive from your CPAP equipment.

Listen, I am realistic, it’s a chore to always be cleaning CPAP machines, but it’s one that is necessary, if not for the health, at least the money! I know I prefer saving 40 or 50 dollars every few weeks on cushion replacements by just taking a wipe and making sure I take proper care of my set up. We are all in this to treat our sleep disorders, and knowing that sleep apnea is a serious medical condition, we should strive hard to educate each other on how we work to clean our equipment. Leave me some comments to let me know what you guys think, and hopefully this was a good outline for some of the important basics to CPAP maintenance!

Cleaning Your CPAP Equipment

Sleep Apnea and Obesity

Recently, we discussed the link between diabetes and sleep apnea. Studies have shown that prolonged apneas can, over time, trigger the onset of Type-II Diabetes in some patients. Cursory research suggests that the connection may run even deeper, and that a patient’s weight could be intricately linked to their sleep apnea condition.

Scientists in Finland recently conducted a study that linked weight with sleep apnea, and worsening sleep apnea symptoms. The study found that patients who lost just 5 percent of their body weight saw significant improvement in their condition.

Lead researcher Dr. Henri Tuomilehto, a visiting professor at the University of Montreal, also noted that being just moderately overweight made people susceptible to sleep apnea: “Being overweight is considered the most important risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea,” Dr. Tuomilehto said, adding that “around 70 percent of all patients with obstructive sleep apnea are obese.”

When a person is obese, fatty tissue accumulates throughout their body. One spot particularly prone to getting a significant increase of fatty tissue is the neck, which is where diabetes and sleep apnea collide. The tissue growth at the neck can eventually narrow a person’s airway, making their neck more susceptible to obstruction during sleep.

While weight management should be part of any therapy that seeks to reduce complications from sleep apnea, a balanced diet and regular exercise aren’t enough to combat the disease. Regular use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask can further mitigate sleep apnea symptoms, even in people who are not obese or who are not in the process of losing weight.

For patients who are obese, a CPAP mask is even more crucial. CPAP machines and masks continuously pump air at a standard pressure, allowing patients to get the oxygen they need throughout the night. This infusion of air is especially important for people who may naturally have compromised airflow.

Ultimately, CPAP machines are a vital part of sleep apnea therapy for all patients with sleep apnea, and are particularly vital for obese patients, or for people who want to lose weight. Regular use of a CPAP mask, along with diet and exercise, can lead to fewer symptoms, a higher quality sleep, and a better life.

 

CPAP Replacement Schedule for Machines, Masks and Supplies

RC040604_WB_cpapKeeping up with your CPAP therapy doesn’t only apply to the period of sleep at night. It goes much further to ensure stable therapy, hygiene and overall risk prevention. Last March 25, 2013 on our blog, we focused on a cleaning regimen which takes less than one hour per day. Now we focus on a CPAP Replacement Schedule for replacing parts of your CPAP system for sanitation and eliminate health concerns associated with sleep apnea therapy.

Risks You Should be Concerned About

Replacing CPAP components may have you worried about the upfront cost to keep up with such tasks. Like all preventative maintenance, this is to ensure that the worst case scenarios don’t occur. Continuing to keep up with this process will ensure that the health risks and bacteria that builds up over time, will not affect your health. Remember sleep apnea is still a disease and just like all other diseases, it is imperative that the proper procedures are in place. The responsibility of this knowledge is on providers such as DME’s, sleep centers, doctors, physicians and us @ respshop.com. The greater responsibility is on you to make sure you keep up on your equipment replacement to make sure you don’t run into the health risks.

How do I know when?

New to 2014 Respshop has outlined the time frame necessary for CPAP equipment replacement and the deeper reasons why. Below we look at the typical time frames that should be followed, which then guides you to our FAQ for a more in-depth look at when and why.

When do I need to replace my CPAP machine?

Moving with the speed of technology CPAP machines change so often, to ensure the best therapy look to get a new machine every three to five years…read more at our faq

How often do the disposable filters need changing?

Protecting against allergens and dust particles the disposable filters of each machine will turn grey…read more at our faq

If my machine has a washable filter, when is it time for replacement?

Used as a pre-filter, cleanable filters are offered on some CPAP machines for a…read more at our faq

CPAP tubing washes easily, does it need to be renewed?

Your tubing is a key link to therapy as it transfers the air to the mask. Tubing can accumulate …read more at our faq

I use a humidifier, is the water tub replaceable?

The water container for CPAP humidifiers build minerals and film which can affect therapy…read more at our faq

My CPAP mask has lasted since I started, I need a new one?

CPAP masks collect bacteria directly from the user and can lead to…read more at our faq

The cushion on my mask doesn’t look dirty, when should I get a new one?

Cushions make contact directly to your skin, which some find lead to irritation and…read more at our faq

CPAP headgear seems like it should last forever, it doesn’t

CPAP mask headgear are mostly comprised of neoprene, elastic and Velcro which can…read more at our faq

If I use a chin strap, does this mean I need to exchange it?

Another piece of the CPAP puzzle, chin straps contact your skin, accumulating oils…read more at our faq

My Dr. hasn’t followed up on my data report lately, when should I schedule an appointment?

Follow up on CPAP Data Reports is a necessity, as they tell a bigger story and can improve your…read more at our faq