Coping with Change for CPAP Patients
Change can be a tough six-letter word to swallow. Throw CPAP into the alphabet soup, and you may be feeling overwhelmed. If you've just been diagnosed with sleep apnea (or if you just need a little boost) you should take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in coping with the frustrations of sleeping with a machine.
Remember You Are Not Alone
According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million people suffer sleep apnea in the United States, and the American Journal of Epidemiology estimates that nearly 26 percent of adults between the ages of 30 and 70 have sleep apnea. Men and women of all different ages and body types are feeling the same things you are. Children, too! It's thought that at least 1 in 10 children have at least some sort of sleep disorder.
Focus on the Positive
It's normal to feel anger, denial, and depression after a sleep apnea diagnosis. The reality of needing to hook yourself to a machine every night can feel very limiting. And, yes, it does feel like you have a cold, unforgiving octopus stuck to your face, but remember that that cold, unforgiving octopus is literally giving you life.
At its core, the purpose of a CPAP machine is to improve your quality of sleep. That, in turn, will improve your quality of life. You'll be more rested, have more energy, and be more mentally alert for starters. Severe sleep apnea can actually cause damage to parts of the brain that can affect general cognition and your mood. Using a CPAP machine can help reduce and reverse said damage. Studies have also shown that using a CPAP machine can help decrease blood pressure in patients diagnosed with hypertension and sleep apnea.
Many sleep apnea patients are also overweight. Using a machine and being well rested can give you more energy and focus throughout the day. Invest some of that energy into a workout plan! Not only will you lose weight and likely reduce the severity of your apnea events, but being active improves your life in myriad other ways as well.
And remember that your sleep apnea doesn't simply affect you, but your partner's quality of sleep as well. A CPAP machine may look unsexy, but a good night's sleep for both partners may work wonders for a relationship.
If something happens to your CPAP machine, you may be inclined to panic that you won't be able to sleep until the issue is resolved. Keep extra parts and spare masks on hand if you can, and have a backup battery in case of a power outage. This can help reduce anxiety in the face of an emergency situation.
Don't forget to pack a machine when you travel, too! Many patients choose to have a stay-at-home machine and a portable one. Newer machines are lightweight and travel easily, and most can be taken with you internationally with the proper outlet adapters. They can fit in your checked baggage, but like most breathing machines, have security clearance to be taken in carry-on bags. (Always double check with the airline.)
Get the Best Equipment for Your Needs
Talk with your doctor and your insurance provider about your options - CPAP or BiPAP? Manual or automatic? What kind of mask? RespShop has a selection of more than 1,300 products, fast shipping, and friendly customer service to make your shopping experience as easy as possible. Plus, our low prices on non-MAP regulated products make buying back-up equipment stress-free. We know this can be overwhelming - we're here to help!