Sleep apnea is a common condition worldwide, including in the United States, with an estimated 22 million Americans living with moderate to severe sleep apnea.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says sleep apnea occurs when your upper airway becomes repeatedly blocked as you sleep. This airway blockage reduces or completely stops airflow. This blockage is known as obstructive sleep apnea.
The signs and symptoms of sleep apnea may be familiar to you as you may recognize them from a blood one. Symptoms like snoring or gasping during sleep, reduced or absent breathing, and sleepiness during the day can indicate this sleep disorder that, if gone unchecked, can lead to many significant health problems.
Some of the health issues from untreated sleep apnea include chronic kidney disease, glucose intolerance, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
When undiagnosed or untreated, you can suffer more than just unrestful sleep. As you get older, the risk of health complications from sleep apnea increases.
Treatment is Available for Sleep Apnea
There are several types of treatment available, in addition to losing weight and improving your lifestyle. Machines like a CPAP machine, dental devices, and even surgery can treat sleep apnea successfully.
CPAP machines give you a constant flow of pressurized air through a mask to help keep your airway open. Following a sleep study, your doctor will decide the amount of air pressure you will require to accomplish this goal.
What should you know about these medical devices if your doctor has prescribed a CPAP machine? How much do these machines cost, what accessories will you need, and what is the optimal sleeping position?
Since obstructive sleep apnea afflicts millions of people worldwide, several technological advancements have been designed in recent years. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is the most common solution. Knowing what you should do before getting a CPAP machine will ease your mind of any anxiety you may have.
Get a Prescription
Several CPAP machines have varying specifications available depending on variables, such as the quantity of oxygen in the bloodstream. Your physician or sleep specialist will request that you do a sleep study to verify your individual needs and write a prescription. Additionally, your doctor can direct you to an equipment provider familiar with CPAP devices.
Shop and Try on Masks
The mask that you wear when using a CPAP system comes in various styles. Some models have a chin strap to keep your jaw locked firmly. Others employ nasal pillows, which fit snugly within each nostril. Additionally, some allow for the placement of an oxygen tube if your doctor has ordered oxygen.
Analyze your selections and choose one that satisfies your requirements and makes you feel better. Also, confirm that it fits nicely enough to prevent air leakage but not too tightly.
Numerous patients have skin discomfort following the initiation of CPAP therapy. Measuring your face and trying out masks helps eliminate a mask from fitting poorly, so do that before you shop for one. Also, masks with fewer straps or less contact with the face can ease discomfort.
Understand the Special Features
Specific machines have additional features, such as heated humidifiers. Humidifiers can assist in alleviating nasal congestion and other adverse CPAP effects. Furthermore, these devices have a ramp mechanism that gradually increases the air pressure allowing you to adjust to the CPAP during the initial stages of use.
Practice Sleeping Positions
The plastic tubes used to join the mask to the CPAP machine come in many forms. Your sleeping position determines which one is ideal for you. Usually, the best position for CPAP users is on their side, but sometimes that isn't feasible. Consult your physician or equipment provider on whether you sleep on your side, back, or belly.
Contact Insurance Provider
Your health insurance will typically cover CPAP therapy if you have sleep apnea. Most health insurance plans will allow patients to purchase a CPAP machine immediately once treatment is prescribed or offer reimbursement for purchases from online dealers.
Other insurance companies will pay for a three-month trial, and you will spend only a percentage of the machine's cost. Another sleep study may be ordered, or your CPAP machine itself will provide information for your doctor to review to determine if the device is working correctly. After a follow-up appointment with the doctor and they notice that CPAP has helped you, you may be eligible for further coverage.
Your doctor's office will often pre-qualify you for a CPAP following the results of your sleep study.
Getting all the information beforehand lets you know what's in store for CPAP treatment. Plus, knowing what you should do before getting a CPAP machine helps reduce the problems most people experience within their first weeks of therapy.
About the Author
Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.
Contributor since September 25th, 2020
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