Blogs > Sleeping with CPAP

Assistant News Editor Lee Dryden was diagnosed with sleep apnea and uses a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to assist with breathing while sleeping. From a layman’s point of view, he will discuss the benefits, issues, challenges and frustrations of sleeping while wearing a mask.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Maintenance man

  Warning: This is not the most scintillating of blog posts.
  Yet is it necessary if you are considering the CPAP route to treat sleep apnea.
  The machine is fairly simple to use and understand, yet there's more to it than just bringing it home and plugging it in.
  There is required maintenance to get the best possible performance and make the equipment last. Also, supplies need to be ordered regularly.
  As a reminder for those who aren't familiar with the machine, a mask is attached by a long flexible tube to a device that blows air. It also includes a water chamber/humidifier that requires distilled water.
  The letter from my doctor given to all new CPAP patients says it best, "Cleaning and maintaining your CPAP unit is your responsibility."
  In other words, don't rely on your spouse, mother or the CPAP fairy.
  Wash your mask every day. The water is to be changed daily, the humidifier needs to be washed at least weekly and the filters cleaned monthly and changed at least every six months. The filters are made of foam and about the size of a domino.
  The tubing should be cleaned once a week or so and can be hung in the shower to dry. As recommended by my health care supply company, I use baby shampoo for the mask and tubing while switching to hand soap for the water chamber and filters.
  Do I meet all these guidelines? Admittedly no, not always. But I clean them as often as possible as I notice a different taste in my mask when everything isn't clean. Yuck.
  Another responsibility is regularly ordering supplies (masks, filters, etc.) from the home health care company your doctor recommends. Your insurance company dictates how often items can be replaced.
  Maintenance is just another way that CPAP changes your life. It may seem daunting but it's do-able once you work it into your routine. The benefits are more than worth it.
  Thank you so much for reading this blog and enjoy the holiday season. More posts to come in 2012.


Blogger Raquel Rothe said...

Good post! It is information all new PAP users need to know and remember. Appreciate your honesty.

December 21, 2011 at 2:21 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for helping folks understand the importance of maintenance and replacement of supplies!

December 21, 2011 at 4:23 PM 

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