Learn more about CPAP equipment to ease your sleep apnea symptoms.
Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 18 million Americans, which can cause not only serious daytime exhaustion but also generalized and chronic health problems. If you are not yet being being treated by a sleep specialist at Pacific Sleep Program in Portland for sleep apnea, then you’ll want to know about the common misconceptions surrounding your condition and this treatment.
1. All CPAP machines and mask interfaces are created equal
THE FACTS: For those who’ve just recently been diagnosed, your sleep apnea treatment will begin the minute you get your CPAP equipment. However, not all CPAP machines are the same, and it’s important to find the right machine for your comfort and needs. The more comfortable you feel with your therapy, the more effective it will be. Ask your physician at Pacific Sleep Program about the different kinds of CPAP machines and mask interfaces available.
The analogy we often use is that getting a CPAP machine is like getting glasses. For glasses to work, you need the right prescription and the right frames. Similarly, for CPAP, a person needs the right pressure setting prescription and the right mask interface. If you are struggling with CPAP, it may be that either the pressure or the mask is not right for you. We are happy to work with you at our Portland and Astoria office locations to get the combination that is right for you.
2. You don’t have to use your CPAP machine every night
THE FACTS: If you want to get the most from your CPAP machine we encourage you to use it every day. This is also the best way to get used to your sleep apnea therapy. Since there is a transition when first getting used to your new therapy, most patients do not use it all night in the beginning. This is normal - we encourage you to put it on every night and wear it as long as you feel comfortable, but not to the point of any frustration. In the beginning, this may only be a few hours but you should expect to be able to increase that nightly over time. If you are having problems with tolerating the CPAP on most nights, this may be a pressure setting prescription problem or a mask fitting problem. We encourage you to contact us so we can help you troubleshoot and get your treatment back on the right track.
3. If I lose weight I won’t have to use CPAP anymore
THE FACTS : While losing weight can certainly help reduce your sleep apnea symptoms and get you on the road to a better night’s sleep, this doesn’t mean you should stop using your CPAP machine every night. Continue to use your therapy during your weight loss, and once you’ve reached optimal weight, ask your sleep specialist to reevaluate the severity of your condition to adjust your therapy accordingly. For many people, weight reduction may result in lower pressure settings, milder sleep apnea (which may result in different treatment options) or elimination of sleep apnea altogether.
Have more questions about your CPAP therapy? The board certified sleep medicine physicians at Pacific Sleep Program is always here to answer any of your questions or address your concerns. We are one of the largest sleep medicine clinics in Oregon, with locations in both Portland and Astoria. Call us anytime!