It can be hard to know what’s causing symptoms like fatigue, restless nights, and chronically sore throats, but getting a sleep apnea diagnosis is one way to start seeking relief. One treatment option for sleep disorders many people benefit from is using a CPAP machine at night. Knowing where to shop for one, finding a comfortable model for your lifestyle and sleep habits, and using the machine effectively are all keys to getting a better night’s sleep.
Getting Started on CPAP Therapy
Once you’ve got a sleep apnea diagnosis, you’ll get a prescription that allows you to purchase a CPAP machine. This prescription will include some instructions and setting details, such as the pressure your device should be set to. Once you’ve got a prescription, you can ask your doctor for a recommendation for manufacturer and supplier, or start shopping around on your own.
Buying a CPAP Machine
When looking for a CPAP provider near you, it’s often helpful to visit the supplier in person to ask their sleep specialist any questions you have about getting started with CPAP machines. This also provides you access to trying on different masks to find the right fit for a comfortable sleep cycle.
Questions you can ask include:
- What types of masks do they have available
- Your normal sleep habits, such as position and length
- Whether they work with your insurance
- What warranties or ongoing services they can provide and their associated costs
- Lifestyle changes to anticipate (better sleep often leads to better mood, more energy, etc.)
You may have other, more specific questions, and a reliable CPAP provider will be able to answer any and all of them.
CPAP Features and Options
Perhaps the most important decision you’ll make is about your preferred style and fit of CPAP mask. There are multiple types of masks, including:
- Nasal pillow masks
- Nasal masks
- Full face masks
Your doctor might prescribe a specific type for you, otherwise, you’ll pick your own. They’ll also likely prescribe a type of machine based on your needs. The types of PAP (positive airway pressure) machines include:
- Single pressure (CPAP)
- Auto-adjusting pressure (APAP)
- Dual air pressure (Bilevel)
In addition to these fundamental choices or instructions, you will have custom features for your machine that might make one more functional or desirable for you over another. These extra features include:
- Smart data tracking – some CPAP machines pair with smartphone apps to track sleep quality, maintenance needs, abnormal pressure changes, and more.
- Gradual pressure increases – for people who are sensitive to the highest pressure setting, you can often find machines that gradually increase the pressure while you drift off to sleep, reaching their preset pressure when you’re not conscious of it.
- Portability – for frequent travelers, small-sized CPAP machines can be a convenient way to ensure you get good sleep when you’re not at home.
- Humidification – Prevent excess dryness with a device that allows you to set a humidification level for your CPAP.
CPAP Machine Maintenance and Advice
Your prescribing doctor should be the final authority on any issues you have when starting to use a CPAP machine, but the specifications of the numerous types of machines out there mean they may not know how your specific machine works and how it should be maintained. For that, you should keep the user manual handy or ask your supplier about any mechanical issues that might come up.
Sleep Apnea Treatments in Denver and Lone Tree, CO
Having trouble sleeping? It could be due to sleep apnea or other sleep disorders that our board-certified physicians can help diagnose and treat at AOO | ENT Specialists of the Rockies. We stay up to date on the latest device types and recall statuses of PAP machines accessible to our patients and can always provide medical expertise no matter where you got your initial diagnosis. To learn more about sleep disorders or CPAP machines, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with us today.