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Are You Having Problems Wearing Your CPAP? - Sunday, July 08, 2012

While it is very important to wear a CPAP unit every night, it is imperative that every CPAP or BiPAP patient understand the ways that they can solve the daily problems that they may face with the therapy. Always keep in mind that even though CPAP therapy is not the most comfortable mode of therapy (I know....I have been on one for over twenty years!) it is still correcting the problem that you are facing with sleep apnea. Even though you may not be feeling a benefit immediately or even over months, the problem at hand is being obliterated while you sleep. Sometimes the improvement in your energy level can be so gradual that you may not even notice that is has happened. Several of my patients have shared with me that they never noticed how much more energy they gained while using CPAP until they stopped using the unit for a few days. Once they put two and two together, they realized that they did feel better once they experienced the mental sleepiness that they were once again enduring after taking themselves off.

Always know that you do have the right to discontinue therapy at any time that you wish to. Patients always have the choice to do so. But, also remember that you went to your sleep lab for a reason. You felt tired. You had a sleep test. You found out that you had sleep apnea. You got treated with a CPAP. You didn't like having something on your face. You quit using it. You are still tired........get my point? I would strongly suggest that you continue working with your Respiratory Care Practitioner to find something that will work for you. Sometimes a different mask can make all the difference in the world. Sometimes nasal pillows will work perfectly. Sometimes nothing at hand will work.......really? If you have tried several masks (also known as interfaces) and nothing seems to work, try these pointers:

1. Are you sure that you are giving it a REAL chance?? Be patient. Take time to get used to it...not just ten minutes, but a whole night. Maybe even two or three.

2. Are you washing your mask every night? If your mask has facial oils on it, it will slip around and always cause a leak.

3. Are you keeping a good attitude? Getting frustrated has nothing except negative energy! Don't get mad at your DME (stands for Durable Medical Equipment) company or your RT (Respiratory Therapist). They are on YOUR side! Also keep in mind, they do not make the machines....they just help you with them. By the way, they also don't tell your insurance company what to bill you, they follow the directive of the insurance company when they figure out what you owe. I know it is painful to pay your healthcare bill, but please do...we can't keep our doors open if you don't!

4. Please don't listen to Uncle Fred!  Uncle Fred was that uncle who wants to tell you how to do things, because it worked for him. You feel like you are second best to him, because you are not wearing the only type of mask or machine  that makes life worth living. (He has been on CPAP for two years)......HIS!!! Huge chance exists that your Respiratory Therapist has a ton more education and experience in the field than Uncle Fred. Uncle Fred is responsible for 80% of my gray hairs. My kids claim the other 20% Stick with the expertise of your RT. They know what they are doing.

5. Are you keeping good communication with your home care company? This is the key. If you are having problems and you expect me to magically know them through extraterristrial communication, I can't help you. Call me. Talk with me. Respiratory Therapists are pretty amazing people. We have to have so many tools in our box that we have to have millions of boxes to carry them. Seriously, if you are having a problem in tolerating your CPAP, I have probably heard the specific problem daily. On my next blog, I will go over several of the many problems that my patients experience with their units. You will probably find that you are not alone!

 

Thanks for reading. I hope this column helps you work out some of the problems you may have been experiencing with your therapy. Feel free to give me a call at my office. In Spokane, the best number to reach me is 838-1228. Leave a message for me and I will call you back. Have a great Summer!

Michael Mowreader, RRT, LRCP, CEO

Inspired Solutions, Inc.

Located inside of Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, Providenc Holy Family and in the Valley at 930 N. Mullan Rd., Suite 1, Spokane Valley, WA 99206

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CPAP Therapy - Thursday, January 26, 2012

 Since this is the first post of our CPAP solutions blog, I feel it is important to cover exactly what OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) really is. 

 Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is the most common type of sleep apnea and is caused by obstruction of the upper airway. It is characterized by repetitive pauses in breathing during sleep, despite the effort to breathe, and is usually associated with a reduction in blood oxygen saturation. These pauses in breathing, called apneas (literally, "without breath"), typically last 20 to 40 seconds. (1)

Common signs of OSA include unexplained daytime sleepiness, restless sleep, and loud snoring (with periods of silence followed by gasps). Less common symptoms are morning headaches; insomnia; trouble concentrating; mood changes such as irritabilityanxiety and depression; forgetfulness; increased heart rate and/or blood pressure; decreased sex drive; unexplained weight gain; increased urination and/or nocturia; frequent heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease; and heavy night sweats. (1)

 

Sources:

(1)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obstructive_sleep_apnea

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