Will I need CPAP every night?
Yes, CPAP is not a cure for Sleep Apnoea; it is designed to treat what is considered a serious condition. If you stop using your CPAP device, the symptoms of Sleep Apnoea will return.
Will I ever be able to stop using CPAP?
Most people will need to use CPAP for the rest of their life. Your Sleep Physician has probably recommended some lifestyle changes (Such as those relating to Weight loss, increased exercise and the avoidance of drugs like alcohol or sedatives).
Will the pressure on my CPAP Machine ever change?
You may find that over time your pressure will require adjustment. Lifestyle changes (such as weight loss or weight gain) can alter you pressure requirements. Sometimes disease progression or prescribed medication can change your pressure needs. Should your symptoms change or snoring return, consult your Sleep Physician immediately. As a general rule you should see your sleep physician every 2 years for follow up. This in combination with your machine downloads will ensure that you are managing your Sleep Apnoea effectively.
Will CPAP help me lose weight?
Sleep Apnoea causes hormonal changes that make weight loss difficult. With Long term usage CPAP reverses these changes and you will find normal weight loss methods more effective. By eliminating the common symptoms of Sleep Apnoea (Sleepiness, high blood pressure, lethargy) you should feel more energised to maintain advised lifestyle changes.
What other changes should I expect?
You should notice an improvement in your symptoms such as less irritability, sleepiness, better memory and concentration. Many of the diseases now associated with sleep apnoea (hypertension, depression, stroke, sexual dysfunction) are resistant to normal treatments without the use of CPAP. Now that you are on CPAP, you may find that you respond better to the treatments given for other health related issues. It is important that you tell your Doctors that you have started using CPAP. DO NOT alter any of your medications without first consulting your Doctor.
How long will it take me to get used to CPAP?
For most people it will take 2-3 weeks to adjust to using their CPAP. For some people this can take a lot longer. The key to your success is to persist and to seek help as soon as you have any problems. Usually the problems are common and can be rectified.
What do I do if cold air through the mask is waking me up?
There are a number of ways you can fix this problem:
• Make sure the back of your CPAP machine is not facing an open window.
• Place the tubing under your bedding. Your body heat will increase the temperature of the air passing through the tubing.
• Heat your bedroom.
• Add heated humidification to your CPAP.
I sleep with my mouth open. Is this a problem using CPAP?
If you open your mouth while using CPAP, the air will blow out of your mouth instead of splinting your airway open and as a result you will not be getting the full benefit from your CPAP therapy. Waking with a dry mouth is an indication this is happening. For most people a chinstrap will solve this problem otherwise the next option is to try a full face mask.
What do I do if a sore develops on my face?
There are two main reasons that sores can develop. Firstly the mask is pressing tool hard on one area of your face. This can often be at the bridge of the nose or just under the nose. Wear the mask as loosely as you can without causing a leak. Also pay attention to the straps to ensure that they are evenly adjusted. Using a mirror can also help you fit your mask in the correct position. For some people, the normal oil drainage of the skin is blocked where the mask contacts the skin. If you wash your face with a simple soap before bed and apply moisturiser in the morning, this often solves the problem. DO NOT use creams on your face at night before using your CPAP as this usually results in air leakage issues at the mask.
Do I use my CPAP if my nose is blocked from a cold?
Try to unblock your nose using decongestants and nasal sprays. If these don’t work, then a few days off CPAP may be required to overcome the nasal congestion. It is important that as soon as possible you return to your CPAP therapy before symptoms of Sleep Apnoea return.
Do I need to take my CPAP with me to Hospital?
Yes, your hospital may not be able to provide this equipment and to not use your prescribed CPAP may affect your recovery. It is important that you tell your hospital doctors, particularly an anaesthetist, that you use CPAP. If you are admitted as an emergency patient, arrange for your CPAP to be delivered as soon as possible.
Can I travel overseas with my CPAP?
Most CPAP machines accept international power supplies. Never use a transformer, as power surges may damage you machine.
How often should I replace my CPAP Mask, Tubing, Chamber and Filters
• CPAP Mask cushion/pillow every 3-6 months:
We recommend replacing your mask cushion every 3-6 months.
This is because over time the cushions or pillows lose their seal and eventually breakdown. To increase the life of your CPAP cushion/pillow, daily cleaning using a mild detergent or CPAP soap is highly recommended.
• CPAP headgear every 6-9 months:
We recommend replacing your headgear every 6-9months because the headgear is stretched every which way when used. Over time, the material is stretched therefore prompting the user to over tighten the straps to keep it in place which can cause more leaks in your CPAP therapy. Repeatedly washing the headgear also affects its elasticity and can wear out the velcro and also the adhesives used to keep the velcro in place.
Tubing, chambers, and filters are considered consumables and should be replaced periodically. We suggest the following timeframes for replacement:
• Tubing: Every 12-18 months
Proper usage, maintenance and storage are required to increase the life of a CPAP machine tubing. When detaching the tubing from the machine, you should pull the rubber end and not the actual tubing to protect the cusp from wearing out. Mineral deposits from the water will eventually build up on the tubing thereby compromising the delivery and quality of air. CPAP machine tubing should be replaced at least once a year.
• Chambers: Every 6-12 months
It is also possible for mineral deposit to build up in the humidifier chamber. When this happens, the mineral deposits can be a source of bacteria, and can irritate the patient’s sinuses. Washing the humidifier with distilled water after every use will definitely increase its life. It is best to change the humidifier every 6 to 12 months, depending on usage.
• Disposable/Fine Filters: Every month or two, depending on the level of dirt and dust accumulation and your surrounding environment. These filters catch fine particles from the circulating air in the CPAP. The fine filters of a CPAP machine cannot be washed. They can only be replaced. For proper maintenance, replacement should be at least once every month.
• Reusable Filters: After 6 months.
Unlike the fine filters, the reusable filters can be washed and reused. However, it is highly recommended to replace the reusable filters every 6 months. This is necessary to maintain clean and high quality of air.
What if I am away from a power point?
Most people with Sleep Apnoea can go a few nights without their machine with minimal effect. Check with your doctor that this is ok for you. If you choose to not use your CPAP, your symptoms will return, so many people prefer to use battery power. Most machines will run on a 12 volt battery and power cords are available to connect your machine to a rechargeable battery or a car/truck cigarette lighter. Rechargeable battery packs are also available for certain CPAP machines.
Is there a support group for Sleep Apnoea?
There is a group called Sleep disorders Australia (SDA). This organisation is run by people with sleep apnoea and provides support, information and a regular newsletter. Their Victorian office can be contacted on 03 9878 7145
How do I contact Australian private health insurance companies?
Health insurance providers may frequently update their coverage options during the year. Since each person's Private Health coverage varies, we recommend reaching out to your Private Health Fund directly. This will help you ascertain the rebates that are accessible to you and whether any waiting periods apply.