Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Get the Most out of CPAP Therapy

Sleep Apnea Patients - Get the Most out of CPAP Therapy
By Sue Sarko

If you’ve been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, chances are you use a CPAP, (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine during the night. It is estimated that about 4 million people use CPAP therapy in the United States today, and as many as 35 million Sleep Apnea cases remain undiagnosed.

CPAP therapy is the most common method for treating obstructive sleep apnea. It works by gently blowing air through the airway at a pressure high enough to keep the airway open. It is regarded as the most effective method for treating obstructive sleep apnea, however, using a CPAP can present certain challenges for the patient.

The Sleep Apnea Association gives patients a C- on compliance. Considering the serious nature of the disorder, this is a dangerously low grade. While several factors contribute to low compliance rates, mask discomfort is one of the larger issues. Masks tend to press against the face causing pressure and discomfort. The constant flow of air from the machine can result in dry, cracked skin. CPAP users also complain that they feel restricted to a certain sleeping position and that the hose gets in the way during the night.

Your first step should be to consult with a practitioner about the right type of mask. There are many varieties available. Also, be certain that your air pressure levels are set appropriately and that you are using the right type of CPAP machine.

Once you’ve got the right equipment in place, you might consider looking into the various sleep apnea aids that can help patients deal with comfort issues and improve compliance rates.

A sleep apnea pillow, for example can go a long way toward relieving mask pressure against the face, and can also help reduce mask leaks. Hose covers made of soft materials that glide more easily over sheets are available as well. Skin creams applied prior to bedtime each night help keep skin moist and healthy and certain pillows are designed to allow freedom of movement during the night.

Many DME (durable medical equipment) stores carry CPAP accessories such as sleep apnea pillows and aids, or you can check your local bedding and pillow stores. We're proud to offer a new and improved version of our CPAP Multi-Mask Sleep Aid Pillow - See it here!.