Category Archives: CPAP Supplies

An overview of the supplies and accessory vital to proper sleep apnea therapy.

CPAP FAQ

rp_apex-medical-xt-prime-travel-cpap-machine.jpgThanks to popular demand, we’re back with another set of our famous CPAP FAQ’s. We get calls and emails from customers all the time, and we like to share the common questions and complaints we hear back from CPAP patients on our blog. CPAP works best when patients have as much information as possible, and with that in mind, we’re sharing some of the more common questions we’ve received in recent weeks.

What is your lightest nasal CPAP mask? 

We have two new masks that are basically the same weight. The AirFit N10 and AirFit N10 for Her from ResMed weigh less than a pound each, and then the Pico from Respironics is even lighter than that. Light masks are ideal for patients, especially people who dislike having any weight on their face while they’re trying to fall asleep.

I’ve breathed through my mouth at night my whole life: do I need a full face mask?

You might, but probably not. Most people mistakenly believe that they can’t breathe through their nose at night, but in many cases, the only reason they couldn’t do so was because they had untreated sleep apnea! Even if you’ve always opened your mouth, you can still probably breathe through your nose with a CPAP mask on. Be sure to ask your physician if you’ll be able to do so, as nasal and nasal pillow masks tend to be more comfortable than full face masks.

Would you ever recommend a full face mask? 

In some circumstances. As we mentioned above, there are some people who simply can’ t breathe through their nose, or can’t breathe through their nose well. For those people, the full face mask is the only option for effective therapy. Additionally, if you wear facial hair you’ll have better luck maintaining a quality seal than if you use a nasal or nasal pillow.

What’s a VPAP?

A VPAP is ResMed’s version of Respironics’s BiPAP; it’s just a bi-level machine.

What’s a bi-level machine? 

A bi-level is a slightly different type of machine than a traditional CPAP. CPAP stands for ‘continuous positive airway pressure,’ and the term describes a machine that blows positive airway pressure during inhalation.

A bi-level device adds pressure for both inhalation and exhalation. It’s a slightly different function and these machines are primarily intended for patients with central sleep apnea, as opposed to the more common obstructive sleep apnea (although patients with severe sleep apnea may be prescribed a bi-level in some cases). In general, the machines are not interchangeable and there is little crossover between people who need a CPAP and patients who require a bi-level.

Do I need a humidifier? 

No, the humidifier is strictly a comfort feature. Most patients prefer to use humidifiers, as they make inhalation smoother and can reduce some of the undesirable affects of CPAP therapy, but they are not necessary. Our CPAP expert Todd Ramsey put together this useful video about humidifiers, if you want more information.

If I have a heated humidifier, do I need a heated breathing tube? 

Great question. No, you don’t, but most patients prefer to use them for two reasons. First, it helps keep the air from the humidifier warm as it travels up the tube. More importantly though, the heated tube helps eliminate rainout, which occurs when condensed water in the tube seeps into the mask. Here’s Todd again talking about rainout:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOhMdEXlUok/

We want to thank all of our customers for their good questions this week. If there’s anything you’d like to know, please get in touch with us. We’re available on social media, as well as at our email — sales@respshop.com — or over the phone, at 866-936-3754.

Controlling CPAP Rainout

One of the biggest struggles for CPAP users, both new and experienced, is reducing the water in their tube while undergoing therapy. In the industry, excess condensation in your tube is known as rainout, and not only can it be bothersome to your tube (reducing the life span of your tube, requiring more frequent replacements from the build up inside), it also has a negative effect on users who are trying to improve their comfort while wearing their masks. We’ve talked multiple times in this blog about how important wearing your CPAP daily is, including talking about the potential long term effects on your overall health in recent blog posts. One of the things we want to strive for with our blogs, and the video y you’ll see attached, is helping make sure that you’re as comfortable as possible while using your CPAP machine.

First, I want to talk a little bit about rainout and what it can do to the user so you know what we’re talking about when we use it throughout this post. Rainout is excess moisture entering your CPAP mask from your tube if you’re using a humidifier, and can be the primary cause of dry throats and nasal passages. CPAP therapy is supposed to be comfortable, and while wearing a mask can take some time to get used to, if you’re struggling with rainout just using the machine daily won’t help improve the problems. Waking up with a sore throat or dry nose daily is not only uncomfortable, it can cause you to not want to use your machine on a regular basis. 36995-ResMed-Climate-Line-Tubing-1-respshop-disthing

Rainout can occur from a multitude of reasons, most notably the ambient temperatures in your room which can be too cold and cause condensation to build up, or being attached to a humidifier where your air is filtering over water first and entering your tube. If you’re using traditional CPAP tubing that comes with a machine, and by traditional I mean that your tube is not heated, the temperature of your room can cause the tube to be too cold as the air is flowing. This will make it impossible for the temperature to stay a consistent temperature as it goes from your humidifier to your mask.

There are several options to make sure that your tube is a proper temperature to reduce the rain out as it goes into your mask. The most common and available option on most of the CPAP machines we sell is a heated tube. The top manufacturers such as ResMed, Respironics, Fisher and Paykel, and DeVilbiss all have heated tube options for their machines. Heated tubes tend to have different temperature settings and will ensure that the air flowing from your humidifier into your mask will stay the same temperature throughout. I should note that heated tubing is only available, and frankly only necessary if you are using a humidifier, as rainout is usually not a concern if you are undergoing therapy without humidification.

If you do not want to use a heated tube, both Respironics and ResMed have options available in the form of sleeves that will rest over your CPAP tube and help keep the temperature at a comfortable level. Unlike the heated tubes, you cannot control the temperature this way and your tube will be whatever temperature it can with the sleeve on due to the ambient temperature of the room.

Finally, for users who are using a machine that does not offer a sleeve (currently just ResMed and Respironics have available options) or a heated tube option, which several of our travel machines do not have the capability at the moment. Our resident CPAP expert, RRT Todd Ramsey mentions that it is possible for users to put their tube under their blanket while using their machine, helping to heat up the tube and reduce the condensation build up. The cheapest option available is best if your machine sits very close to your bed such as on a night stand, where you can cover the majority of the tube.

All three options will help reduce rainout for CPAP users, improving therapy comfort for users. Rainout has long been one of the biggest concern of users, as nobody wants to wake up with a sore, dry, or itchy throat while wearing their mask. Top manufacturers are always striving to help improve therapy by offering options such as heated tubes and sleeves. But getting creative at home is still an option for any CPAP user. Find the most comfortable way for you and if you have any other way of improving your therapy, leave a comment here and we can share it with other readers!

The video below was shot by our CPAP expert, RRT Todd Ramsey and will talk further about rainout and prevention.

Using A Heated Humidifier

Humidifiers are a great way to enhance your CPAP therapy.

Humidifiers are a great way to enhance your CPAP therapy.

At RespShop we encourage our customers to use a heated humidifier with their CPAP machines. Heated humidification helps people respirate easier and also alleviates some of the more unpleasant side effects commonly associated with sleep apnea therapy. Most of our patients enjoy using a humidifier, and we believe that heated humidification benefits everybody with a CPAP or bi-level device.

Benefits

The main benefit of the humidifier is that it mitigates the symptoms that sleep apnea therapy patients commonly experience. One of the worst side effects is dry mouth and dry nose: for many users, the inflow of air from the machine can dry out the inside of the nasal passage or mouth (depending on the type of mask). Heated humidification helps treat dry mouth and dry nose because the air is warmed by water molecules that help to moisten the inflow of air. This prevents drying, which will in turn help you feel better when you wake up after using your CPAP.

Many patients also enjoy breathing the warmer air. Breathing unheated air can make your throat feel scratchy; the warmer air is easier to breathe and helps you respirate naturally. Many patients with sleep apnea have found that they can fall asleep a little bit easier when they use a humidifier.

Using A Humidifier

In most cases, using a heated humidifier is straightforward. Nearly every CPAP machine can be purchased with a heated humidifier, and if you happened to get your machine without one, you can always get the humidifier later. Humidifiers for ResMed, Respironics, DeVilbiss, and APEX machines can be attached externally, and can usually just be snapped onto or adjacent to your machine.

From there, using and maintaining your humidifier should be simple. You’ll need to clean your humidifier every day — we recommend using warm water, a non-abrasive soap, and a soft cloth for the chamber — and if possible you should fill it with distilled water. Tap water can damage the interior of the chamber over time so you should use distilled water to avoid the build up of mineral deposits.

Internal Humidifiers

A handful of CPAP machines feature internal heated humidifiers. The ICON from Fisher & Paykel was one of the first machines to use an internal humidifier. More recently, the new line of AirSense machines from ResMed comes with an integrated heating system. Unlike with S9 machines — where you can add water without removing the chamber — you’ll have to pull out the chamber to fill it with water. This internal humidifier is found on all AirSense devices. Finally, the Z1 travel machine from HDM boasts an internally-located air re-distribution center that re-ventilates previously respirated oxygen, allowing it to work as a humidifier without the water.

Heated Tubing

To get the most out of your heated humidifier, you might also consider using a heated tube. Heated tubes help keep the air from the humidifier warm as it travels through your hose to your mask. Respironics and ResMed both make heated tubes compatible with their lines of CPAP machines and generic heated tubes are available as well.

A Word About CPAP filters

CF2107HAOne of the accessory items that all CPAP patients need to take care of is their filter. Machine filters are vital for ensuring hygienic sleep apnea therapy and patients need to ensure that their filters are clean and working at all times.

Unfortunately, filters don’t just take care of themselves. They need to be monitored, maintained, and in some cases cleaned. Patients thus have many questions about CPAP filters: what kind of filter should I use? How often do I need to replace my filters? Do I always have to wash my filter? We’ll tackle each of these questions — and more — below.

Different Filter Types

There are two different types of filter that are compatible with your CPAP machine. First, there’s the disposable filter. Disposable filters are, as the name implies, filters that you use and dispose of. These filters will decompose in water and should never be washed. Some patients enjoy using them, as they require less maintenance than washable filters.

Washable filters, on the other hand, require a bit more maintenance. They have a longer lifespan than disposable filters but they must be washed regularly. It’s important to wash a reusable filter properly too: they should be hand washed with warm water, a non-abrasive soap, and either your hand or a soft cloth. If you try to wash them in a dishwasher or washing machine, you run the risk of damaging your filter: they simply aren’t durable enough to withstand that kind of washing regularly.

So, which is better? It largely depends on your needs. You’ll need to replace your disposable filter more often, which will cost more money. Washable filters will require more maintenance, but will last much longer. Both work equally well, so it really just depends whether you prefer to change your filters more often or spend a little extra time washing reusable filters.

Replacing Filters

Naturally, CPAP patients want to know how often they should change their filters for optimal performance. The answer, unsatisfying as it may seem, is ‘it depends.’

Disposable filters will need to be replaced much more often than washable filters. As soon as a disposable filter shows signs of discoloration or dust saturation, you should replace it. Normally this happens every few weeks, but the exact amount of time is determined by environmental factors around you. If you keep your bedroom squeaky clean at all times, you might be able to use your filter for a month or more. On the other hand, if your room has dust or pet dander, or if you smoke or use a fireplace, you may need to change your filter within ten days or so.

The same is roughly true for reusable filters, although these will have a longer life all else being equal. Disposable filters should be washed at the first sign of discoloration and to be safe, it isn’t a bad idea to wash them every day or every few days. You’ll be able to use these filters for several weeks, if not months, and will only need to change it when you cannot remove the discoloration during cleaning.

Of course, if you notice that debris is ending up in your mask, that’s a sure sign that you need to change your filter immediately, regardless of how recently you changed it.

Hypoallergenic Filters

For the S9 machine, ResMed made a hypoallergenic filter, which is really just a fancy way of saying ‘thick and double sided filter.’ These filters are more durable and will last longer than standard filters. They can and should be washed regularly, but they are less flimsy than other filters and provide additional protection from debris.

Contact Us

As always, if you have any questions about filters or any other CPAP supplies, we encourage you to reach out to us. We’re available on social media, over email at sales@respshop.com and over the phone at 866-936-3754. We look forward to hearing from you!

CPAP Headgear

Looking for new CPAP headgear for your CPAP mask? Respshop is the one stop shop for everything C-PAP, whether it’s a new breathing machine, CPAP head gear, accessories for your Comfort Classic CPAP Mask, Respshop is the best online store for all of your sleep aids. With discounts on all of our sleep apnea equipment for your health, we are the place to go when you are looking for cheap hose and filters, amongst the many types of equipment we carry!

Find a better price on that Respironics CPAP Mask? We’ll match it! Our customer service has years of experience with CPAP equipment and the CPAP industry, and we can help you find the mask or machine you’re looking for, whether it’s a ResMed S9, or just a replacement headgear for your favorite mask, we want to be the place you buy all of your equipment, which means we will do whatever it takes to ensure that you are set up with the most comfortable and effective therapy possible, all at the lowest prices. We carry equipment from all of the best manufacturers in the industry, such as Respironics, ResMed, Fisher and Paykel, DeVilbiss, APEX, and others.

Getting treatment for your sleep apnea is one of the most important steps you can take if you are struggling with sleeping disorders, as sleep apnea can have negative effects on your appearance and health. Respshop has been a premier retailer in the industry for years. Looking for that CPAP nasal mask? Maybe you are a long time user of full face masks and need to replace an accessory or cushion, we carry it all, and we guarantee that our prices cannot be beat, and if they are, we’ll match any price that you find, so start browsing our selection and make Respshop your one stop shop for everything continuous positive airway pressure related!