People who suffer from sleep apnea may seek many different remedies to alleviate their daytime discomforts and nighttime arousal. The best cure on the market for people suffering from this sleeping disorder is CPAP machines. These machines are connected to a sleep apnea mask that the sleeper must wear during the night. In many cases, these machines and masks are only available by prescription after an overnight stay at a sleep lab. These light and compact machines can then be purchased for home use and reimbursed by insurance companies or Medicare. It is important that the sleep apnea mask fits the mouth and nose of the sleeper appropriately, and the sleeper should know what a tight fit feels and sounds like, incase of malfunction, and comfortable breathing may take some getting used to. Nonetheless, with the right fit and a better understanding of how the sleep apnea masks work, the sleeper can expect a great night sleep.
These machines are generally available by prescription only. This is not necessarily due to the risk of abuse, but due to the risk of improper use. Generally, a patient will need to stay overnight in a sleep lab under careful observation by a doctor. The doctor is usually trained in sleep medicine, respiratory medicine, and sometimes otolaryngology. The doctor will then look at the test results and may have a follow up sleep study or test. The follow up test will be used to adjust the settings on the apparatus. Over the course of the second test, the doctor will adjust the CPAP machine pressure until the appropriate pressure for the individual sleeper is reached. In some cases, the machine can be purchased from the doctor or the doctor may know of a supplier. In other cases, the sleeper may want to purchase the machine and sleep apnea mask themselves. In this case, the patient is responsible for handling the insurance or Medicare reimbursement.
This piece of equipment is a small and lightweight box with a long hose and sleep apnea mask attached. The box is slightly thinner than a shoebox and slightly wider. The box is small enough to fit comfortably on a nightstand. The hose can be various lengths but connects the box to the sleep apnea mask. The hose is about as round as a paper towel holder and is clear or white plastic. The sleep apnea mask is at the other end of the hose, and is available in a variety of models. Typically, the mask is large enough to fit around the mouth and the nose of the sleeping person. The mask has an elastic head strap attached. Lining the perimeter of the mask is comfort-fit padding.
It is important to find the perfect fit when using the sleep apnea mask. Before the machine is on or connected, the patient should place the mask around their nose and mouth. The patient should then press firmly to ensure a tight seal. Then, the elastic head straps should be placed around the head and tightened for optimal fit. Much like a pair of swimming goggles, the fit should be tight and firm, but not too tight. Once the desired fit has been reached, the person wearing the mask should shake their head from side to side vigorously. If the fit is correct, the mask should stay firmly in place. Finally, the wearer should turn the machine on to finalize the fit. The CPAP machine will begin pressurizing air, and the wearer should breathe normally. At this point, the wearer should listen carefully for any sounds of air escaping the mouth and nose piece. For comparison, lift on the sleep apnea mask while it is on and listen to the sound. Then, fit the mask again and listen.
Sleeping with a sleep apnea mask may take an adjustment period, but having the perfect fit should alleviate some of the problems. Prospective buyers should consult with their doctors about the right fit and any problems that may occur with the CPAP machine and sleep apnea mask. The machine is designed to give the sleeper a good night sleep, and anything less than that should be handled accordingly.