Those that suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) are effectively treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).
A CPAP machine is to be used while sleeping to help avoid respiratory disturbances. In most cases, you set your CPAP machine to a pressure prescribed by your doctor once the results from your sleep study come back.
New auto-adjusting machine are available that do not have a preset pressure and will adjust themselves as necessary to maintain an open airway. It is important to know your machine and how it works.
Mild cases of OSA can be treated with weight loss (though, it is often suggested that anyone —mild or severe— surfing from OSA lose weight), steering clear of alcohol consumption before bed, and avoiding back and stomach sleeping.
Here are a few things you need to know about your CPAP machine:
Keep it Clean, Clean, CLEAN
It is very easy for CPAPs to accumulate bacteria and mold because of its moist environment. Using an unclean CPAP is unsanitary and can cause sinus problems and many other health issues. Cleaning your mask and tube every day and your humidifier chamber and headgear weekly should help you avoid any problems. Be sure to replace necessary parts, like mask parts, tubes, and filters as often as required. Keep extra parts on hand for easy switches.
Troubleshoot the Tube
Many times CPAP users will think their mask isn’t compatible with their tube or machine because the mask will not fit. More often than not, this is because a piece of your old mask is still attached to your tube. Verify your tube has a rubber connection on either side, there shouldn’t be a hard plastic part attached. If there is a hard plastic piece, pull firmly to pop it out. Try fitting your mask on now, your replacement mask should fit perfectly.
Replace Your Seal
If your mask isn’t sealing like it once did, make sure you replace it! Seals wear down quickly and can cause disruptive leaks, so many people will just keep tightening their headgear. This only causes discomfort. Replacing your seal will keep you comfortable and sleeping and breathing normally.
Always Use Distilled Water
Make sure you always use distilled water in your CPAP. Tap water can cause white deposits to gather in your CPAP humidifier chamber or the chamber to rust out. The minerals in the tap water are to blame for the shortened life of a CPAP machine. If you must use tap water, only use it for a few days (at most) until you are able to use distilled water again. If can, use filtered bottled water over tap water.
Graduating to a Minimal Mask
Once people are treated for sleep apnea, you can relearn to use your nose —not your mouth— while sleeping again. Full faced masks are typically used for those using a CPAP at first, but can they can usually graduate to a more minimal mask as treatment moves forward. CPAP users say that full faced masks can be bulky and uncomfortable, so switching to a sleeker mask is ideal.