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About Sleep Apnea CPAP Machines and Accessories 


If you have been diagnosed with moderate to severe sleep apnea, the most effective treatment option for you is to use a CPAP machine every night while you sleep. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, and a CPAP machine is basically the only truly effective treatment for those with sleep apnea, especially more severe forms of the sleeping disorder.



A CPAP machine is a small unit that sits next to your bed and delivers a constant stream of air pressure to the lungs, via a special CPAP mask which is placed over the nose, or both the mouth and nose, depending on the cause of your airway obstruction. 

This constant flow of air is designed to force air past the airway obstruction into the lungs, allowing sleep apnea sufferers to continue breathing throughout the night and to ensure that the oxygen concentration level in their blood does not drop. The mask must fit tightly over your nose and possibly your mouth, without any gaps in order to ensure that the air pressure is allowed to force its way past the obstructions and into the lungs.

If your doctor determines that the use of a CPAP machine is the only way to treat your sleep apnea, then it will be necessary to use the machine every night for the rest of your life. However, this is much preferred to the alternative of your health slowly deteriorating due to a lack of sleep caused by sleep apnea and also lowered blood oxygen concentration levels.

Sleep apnea CPAP works for all individuals who are suffering from the disorder, regardless of the position that they sleep in. 

sleep apnea cpapHowever, if you sleep on your stomach, you will need to change your sleeping habits, as the mask can be somewhat bulky and requires that you sleep either on your side or your back in order for it to remain in place throughout the night.

Common Sleep Apnea CPAP Complaints

The most common complaint heard about sleep apnea CPAP is that the entire unit can be quite uncomfortable to use, and it takes many people quite a long time to ever get used to using the machine. 

When you first start using CPAP, you may find that it makes it very hard for you to fall asleep, but you should eventually become more accustomed to using the machine and eventually you will be able to fall asleep fairly easily. 

sleep apnea cpapYou will also want to make sure that you purchase comfortable headgear that will keep the mask in place throughout the night. Also, if you feel the mask causes sore spots around your nose, you may also want to consider using a CPAP Nasal Cushion to help relieve any discomfort.

Another common complaint about sleep apnea CPAP is the noise that the machine continuously makes, and some people report that their partners complain that it is like sleeping next to Darth Vader. However, there is really nothing that can be done to alleviate this complaint, although more modern sleep apnea machines have been designed which are much quieter than they were in the past.

 

In addition to the CPAP machine, you will also need to purchase a CPAP mask, headgear, and tubing to connect the mask to the machine. It is also recommended that you purchase a specially designed CPAP pillow which is designed to keep your head properly elevated while also allowing room for the CPAP mask and tubing.

 
Where to Buy a CPAP Machine and Equipment

Generally speaking, when your doctor diagnoses you as having sleep apnea and recommends the use of CPAP to treat your sleeping disorder, they will then connect you with a home health company which can help supply you with the machine and all necessary equipment. 

The home health company will most likely deliver the machine and its components to your home and instruct you on how to properly use the machine, as well as how to properly fit the mask and connect all of the components. 

Still, if you are unsatisfied with the machine or any of the components, then you can find replacement parts and different masks on most online shopping sites such as Amazon. Also, the home health company will most likely not provide you with a CPAP pillow, so it will be necessary to purchase this on your own if you find that it is necessary. 

You could also decide that you want to purchase everything yourself, in which case you have a ton of options for the components. However, your options for the actual machine itself will be much more limited. Still, there are a few good ones available online. 

REMstar Pro M

sleep apnea cpapThe REMstar Pro M is a small, fully featured CPAP machine that offers excellent options and features. Measuring 7.5 x 5 inches and only 3.125 inches high, the unit is small, and looks more like a bedside clock radio than a CPAP machine. 

It’s also light enough to pack when travelling, weighing in at just 2.2 pounds. The power brick can be separated from the main unit, making it easy to pack when transporting the unit or for travelling. The unit has a black brushed finish which is scratch resistant and looks great.

The REMstar Pro M also has an optional humidification unit, making the unit more comfortable to use throughout the night. 

It analyzes the temperature and environmental conditions, and automatically adjusts to best suit the conditions. The water chamber is easy to use, and has been designed to ensure that no water ever enters the unit, even if the CPAP machine accidently tips over in the night.

The Pro M series also has SmartCard capabilities, giving it advanced clinical reporting. Another feature is its lighted controls, making the display easy to read at night. However, whether you like this feature or not depends on whether you prefer total darkness at night, as some have commented the lights are very bright. It’s also been reported to be noisier than some other CPAP units.

The REMstar Pro M machine includes the exclusive C-Flex Technology. This detects your need for more or less pressure automatically when you exhale, and adjusts for your needs. Many have commented that this makes the machine easier to use for the entire night and makes exhalation much easier than on other devices, which maintain high pressure on exhalation. 

The device also features technology called a 'ramp start up'. Rather than starting at the full pressure right from the get go each night, you can set your machine to start lower, and then gradually increase the air flow pressure until your prescription level is reached. This can make falling asleep much easier. If you wake in the night, a push of a button can set the ramp start up mode to run again.

The REMstar unit comes with complete patient monitoring as standard, which allows you and your physician to track usage and progress with the machine. 

You can even download your data using the included SD card. The smart card has enough capacity to store six months of 3 usage sessions a day, or 7 days of in-depth analysis! It records the date and time, hours of use, usage patterns, AHI, leak, snore, and FOSQ.

The unit includes the smart card module, six feet of flexible tubing, a carry case featuring a padded shoulder strap, power supply, re-usable and disposable filters, a manual and a user guide.

A valid prescription is required to purchase the CPAP machine. The machine comes with a two year manufacturer’s warranty. With the optional humidifier unit, The REMstar Pro M retails for approximately $600-700 new, however second hand units are also readily available.

Other Treatment Alternatives to CPAP

Basically, if you have been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, there are almost no other treatment options available and you will need to use CPAP every night for the rest of your life in order to overcome your sleeping disorder. 

If you suffer from moderate sleep apnea, you may want to try over the counter sleep apnea devices such as mouth guards or chin straps, or you could also undergo several different surgical procedures designed to treat sleep apnea with surgery.


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