What is CPAP?
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. CPAP is considered the Gold Standard treatment for OSA and SDB. CPAP machines are devices that work like small compressors that deliver a constant flow of air to “splint” the throat open. In keeping the airway open, the OSA and SDB is controlled, and snoring is eliminated. Most CPAP devices have built-in humidification to prevent dryness. CPAP devices use regular room air – supplemental oxygen isn’t necessary for device function, therefore oxygen cylinders are not required for CPAP therapy. The CPAP device fits easily onto a bedside table or shelf, or on the floor next to the bed.
Today’s CPAP devices are quiet! They are rated at about 20 dB intensity (conversational speech is rated at 40 dB). The noise level of a CPAP device operating is comparable to that of a quiet fan running. In contrast, many “heroic” snorers will hit intensity levels of 60-70 dB, the same level as a dishwasher or vacuum running!
We realize that everyone is different. Every person using CPAP therapy requires equipment that suits their lifestyle, while taking into account their anatomic needs and comfort. The Snore Shop is proud to carry a wide selection of masks, devices and accessories from leading certified manufacturers for your care.
Auto CPAP devices deliver varying pressure in response to changes in breathing throughout the night. When the AutoCPAP device senses a restriction in airflow, it will deliver more pressure (or air) to “splint” the throat open by moving the soft tissues aside, therefore allowing breathing and preventing snoring.
The main difference among AutoCPAP devices from various manufacturers is how the air is delivered. Each manufacturer uses their own method of assessing and responding to the narrowing and collapsing of the airway. Some manufacturers have devices that respond rapidly to airway narrowing and collapse, thereby controlling the apneas and snoring very quickly; however, other devices respond more slowly to prevent sleep disruption caused by discomfort from the flow of air. The Snore Shop staff can help you determine which machine is right for you.
Most insurance companies will cover a replacement CPAP device every 5 years. If you are a long term CPAP user interested in upgrading to a newer device, discuss your needs with the Snore Shop staff.
The airflow from the CPAP device is delivered through a long tube connected to a mask sealed around the nose, and/or mouth. CPAP therapy is a lifelong commitment for most people, and using therapy nightly is more difficult when you have a mask that is uncomfortable. The Snore Shop staff will help facilitate proper mask selection and fitting.
There are various types of CPAP masks: nasal pillows, nasal, and full face masks, as well as oral or hybrid mask options available. We offer mask fittings with our clinical staff, and the option to trial a mask before purchase to ensure you have the best mask to fit your specific needs.
Because it is worn nightly, your CPAP mask will inevitably start to wear out. Mask manufacturers recommend replacement every 6-12 months. Most health insurance companies will allow regular mask replacement. Contact your insurance provider to determine coverage on your specific plan. The Snore Shop staff would be more than happy to help you with your mask replacement needs.
CPAP Maintenance and Downloads
Not only do we carry a wide selection of devices to suit the needs of our clients, we also follow through with ongoing maintenance and compliance checks. We recommend the following schedule for therapy:
- Semi annual CPAP data assessments
Assessment of compliance and efficacy data are an integral part of managing sleep apnea. This data allows the therapist and your other health providers to ensure good control of obstructive events. Changes can be made to your therapy settings in the event that your snoring or obstructive events are not being well managed, ensuring long term therapy success.
Make sure your CPAP data is assessed if there are changes in your overall health. An example of this is with weight loss. Reduced tissue bulk often means decreasing airway resistance, therefore decreased CPAP pressure requirements.
- Annual CPAP maintenance
Routine assessment of CPAP compliance and efficacy data, as well as an annual evaluation of the CPAP equipment: motor, humidifier, tubing and mask (interface) is recommended. Monitoring results and verifying the function of the equipment will ensure accurate and effective therapy long term.
Many devices now feature Wireless Data Transmission. This allows convenient day-to-day monitoring, and remote modification of CPAP settings, making CPAP management easy and convenient. Additionally, most CPAP devices offer an app that links your CPAP data to your smartphone, tablet or computer, allowing you to monitor your sleep therapy on the go. Ask the Snore Shop staff about these features for more information.