Category Archives: Sleep Apnea

Posts pertaining to sleep apnea, the condition that necessitates continuous positive airway pressure therapy.

Top Ten Reasons to Start Using CPAP Machine

Getting used to CPAP therapy isn’t easy for most people with sleep apnea. However, it’s better for your health in the long run. Here are 10 great reasons to start using your CPAP machine every night.

  1. Better Sleep: Once you’re used to it, you’ll find that wearing your CPAP mask to bed helps you wake up feeling more refreshed than ever.
  2. Healthier Heart: Using your CPAP machine helps to keep your blood pressure from spiking, which is healthier for your heart.
  3. Portable Devices: It used to be difficult to keep up with your CPAP therapy while traveling. But now, it’s easy to find portable CPAP machines so you can stick with your newly improved sleep routine.
  4. Happier Spouse: CPAP therapy usually eliminates the snoring associated with sleep apnea. While it might not have disturbed your sleep, you can bet that less snoring will make your partner much happier.
  5. Enhanced Libido: Speaking of happier partners, improved sexual function and satisfaction are tied to the deeper sleep you’ll get by sticking with your therapy routine.
  6. Reduced Health Concerns: When you don’t use your CPAP machine, you could be increasing your risk of developing serious conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and memory loss.
  7. More Mask Options: Today, there are more types of CPAP masks available, so if you don’t like the one you have, you can try something new to see if it’s a better fit.
  8. Diabetes Control: Many people with type 2 diabetes also suffer from sleep apnea, but consistent CPAP therapy has been linked to reduced insulin resistance and more stable blood glucose levels.
  9. Avoiding Surgery: If you prefer not to have surgery to treat your sleep apnea, it’s best to use your CPAP machine regularly.
  10. Improved Safety: Excessive daytime sleepiness could result in accidents while driving or working, so it’s safer to use CPAP therapy for better sleep.

Being consistent with your CPAP therapy is key for better overall health and happiness. If you’re having trouble sticking to your CPAP routine, consider trying a new type of mask or talking to your doctor about your options.

5 Signs You Might Have Sleep Apnea

Millions of people currently struggle with sleep apnea. But what may be worse is that thousands more don’t know they have it. If you’re concerned about whether you have this sleep disorder, read about the five top signs that you may have sleep apnea below.

1. Loud Snoring
One of the main symptoms of sleep apnea is chronic and loud snoring, sometimes with gasps or choking occurring in between. In some cases, you might even experience short episodes of breathing cessation that you sleep through or which wake you up. Ask a spouse or family member if you snore; many people never hear themselves snore, so they don’t realize it’s an issue.

2. Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
If you find yourself falling asleep during the day at inopportune moments, it’s cause for concern. Also called hypersomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness can lead to a significant lack of energy during the day as well as an increased chance of mood swings, depression and irritability. If it feels like a struggle to stay awake while at work, sitting at the dinner table or even driving, be sure to talk to your doctor.

3. Attention Issues
Due to the sleep interruptions caused by sleep apnea, the condition is often associated with attention difficulties. It might seem hard to concentrate or learn new things, and your memory might seem hazier than usual. If this sounds familiar, sleep apnea could be the culprit.

4. Morning Dry Mouth or Sore Throat
People with untreated sleep apnea often wake up with a sore throat or dry mouth. Though it could be caused by other conditions, don’t rule out sleep apnea as a possibility.

5. Morning Headaches
Headaches are also common in the morning for those with sleep apnea. If this is a fairly regular issue for you, see a doctor.

Do you have any of these five symptoms? If so, talk to your doctor about being tested for sleep apnea.

CPAP and Sleep Apnea Mailbag

Transcend II Travel CPAP Machine

Transcend II Travel CPAP Machine

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 sales@respshop.com, 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!

 

CPAP and Sleep Apnea Mailbag, Part II

rp_transcend-travel-cpap-ii.jpgWe’re back with the second edition of the RespShop CPAP therapy and sleep apnea mailbag. Our first post in the series was such a hit that we’ve decided to do these bi-weekly — and possibly a little more often than that if they prove popular enough. We received some great questions this week, the answers of which you’ll find below. Remember, if you want to have your question answered in the mailbag, just submit it to sales@respshop.com, and put ‘mailbag’ in the subject line. Let’s dive in!

Question 1: What is the functional difference between an auto machine and any other device? – Brett, Norfolk, VA

Great question Brett. The big difference between auto machines and traditional CPAP devices is all about the pressure. A normal CPAP — also called a fixed pressure machine — operates at one pressure level only. You turn on your machine, and it will pump pressure at the prescribed setting all night long (though using the ramp feature can delay the onset of pressure when you first fall asleep). Auto machines will adjust pressure depending on your needs throughout the night: it will operate at the lowest pressure possible until it detects the onset of an apnea, at which point it will quickly increase pressure to your prescribed level, until the apnea is taken care of. Many patients, particularly new CPAP users, find that the auto’s reduced pressure capabilities are a helpful comfort feature.

Question 2: What is a hypoallergenic filter? – Sandra, Guadalajara, Mexico

A hypoallergenic filter is just a more durable type of disposable filter. Most disposable filters are thin and only have one layer and level of protection: the hypoallergenic filter has two, which enables to last about twice as long as a typical filter. Like with any filter, it should still be disposed of once it shows visible signs of discoloration. These are not washable and at this point, they are only compatible with ResMed machines. Hope that helps!

Question 3: Can you tell me whether I can take my CPAP on an airplane? – Boone, Boone, WV

Not only can you take it on the plane, but you should carry it with you! Federal regulations allow you to carry medical equipment on a plane without it counting against your limit of carry on items. Due to the turbulent nature of planes, and the less than fragile method of bag packing and unloading you’ll find among airport staffers, we strongly encourage you to protect your equipment and bring it in the cabin with you.

Question 4: I hear that nasal masks are the most recommended type of mask, but I can’t breathe out of my nose at night. Should I still use one? – Rhonel, Baltimore, MD

Fantastic question Rhonel. If you truly cannot breathe out of your nose at night, you’ll need to use a full face CPAP mask to derive any benefit from therapy. However, most new CPAP patients only discover that they can breathe through their nose at night once they start using CPAP. If you took a sleep test, ask your sleep physician about your nasal breathing capability: if you can breathe through your nose, I’d recommend using a nasal mask. If not, or if you’re uncomfortable leaving that to chance, the full face mask will work splendidly as well.

Question 5: Does RespShop offer a scholarship to college students? – Lisa, Elmwood, NE

We sure do! For high school seniors and college graduate and undergraduate students, we offer five scholarships: you can read more about our scholarship criteria here.

From Out of Breath to Full of Life

Gary R. was our scholarship winner. This is his essay “From Out of Breath to Full of Life.”

About a year and two months ago during the winter of 2013, my family received heartbreaking news that my father’s health and essentially his time to live was decreasing with each passing day and breath he took.  After battling many occasions of shortness of breath for about the past ten years, whether it was a result of hiking while on vacation or walking up a single flight of stairs, we all knew that something was wrong with his health.  My father lives a healthy lifestyle and as an ex-firefighter, it was difficult to imagine that this extreme shortness of breath was a result of purely being unfit.  After many continued years of struggling with this condition and having it misdiagnosed as asthma, an inhaler was prescribed to him but had no positive effect on his health and well-being.  Finally, in November of 2013, my father was accurately diagnosed with severe pulmonary arterial hypertension.

I remember exactly where I was standing at college on the November day when I got the vague but worrisome text message to call home about my father’s health.   My parents explained the condition and stated that obstructive sleep apnea may be a significant factor in contributing to his pulmonary hypertension disease.  Still in somewhat of a state of shock and feeling of helplessness, my father explained that he was to immediately begin using oxygen therapy at night through the aid of a CPAP machine complemented by other oral and inhaled medications.  My father’s response to the CPAP machine and medication was not immediately observable with respect to the lab test results, but his well-being and everyday outlook increased significantly.  Pinpointing exactly what was responsible for this shortage of breath and lack of energy while knowing there are devices which can improve the quality of his life was an inspiring and encouraging  step towards recovery.

Several months passed and my father began to see significant increases but this time both in well-being alongside the lab results.  The CPAP machine considerably helped him overcome his sleep apnea and was extremely effective in reenergizing him and helping him live a normal life.  With his blood pressure decreased to healthy levels and long lost energy finally restored from him being able sleeping well, it appeared as though my father had almost aged in reverse.  He gained the ability to live those parts of his life which had escaped him while the disease hovered over him and limited his ability.  The improvement in nearly every aspect of his life is directly due to the CPAP machine and medication over the course of a year.  It is emotional to think about the drastic change which occurred in his life over the past ten years.

I distinctly remember a hike in Yosemite about eight years ago where a simple hike up a hill left him breathless and unable to continue on.  At the time, we were concerned but figured asthma was to blame for the shortness of breath.  In summer of 2013, he was camping in northern California at higher elevation when he couldn’t sleep more than 10 minutes without feeling “like he was going to die because I could not get any air.”  The fact that he now has recovered greatly and can take a portable CPAP machine with him anywhere he chooses means he can live his life to the fullest.  It is truly a miracle that my father has almost fully recovered from this sleep disorder and disease when, for the past couple years, we thought it would never be possible.