Sleep apnea affects more than 20 million Americans every year. It’s a very serious sleep condition that can cause a person to stop breathing at various points throughout the course of a night.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), in particular, is one of the most dangerous types of sleep apnea. If left untreated, it can lead to a person being forced to deal with high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, chronic heart disease, and even stroke.
CPAP machines are designed to help those suffering from sleep apnea. They keep a person’s airways clear while they sleep, thus allowing them to breathe normally during the night.
If you suspect you might have sleep apnea, you should speak with your doctor about it. They will need to provide you with a prescription before you can obtain a CPAP machine.
Here is how the process will play out.
Taking Part in a Sleep Study
There are a lot of signs that will let you know that you likely have sleep apnea. Here are some of the signs you should look out for:
- Snoring almost every night
- Daytime fatigue
- Headaches just about every morning
- Memory loss
- Lack of sexual desire
If you notice these signs, you should make an appointment with your doctor so that you can discuss sleep apnea. If they have reason to believe sleep apnea might be an issue for you, they’ll arrange to have a sleep study done on you.
During a sleep study, you’ll be hooked up to a bunch of machines so that a sleep specialist can monitor your breathing, your heart rate, and more while you sleep. This will help them determine whether or not you have sleep apnea.
If it turns out that you do, in fact, have sleep apnea, your doctor will figure out if a CPAP machine would be the best solution for treating it.
Obtaining a CPAP Machine Prescription
If your doctor decides that you’re going to need to start using a CPAP machine to treat sleep apnea, they’ll put together a prescription for you. CPAP machines are considered Class II Medical Devices under federal law, which means you need to have a prescription to get one.
You’ll also need a prescription to get a CPAP machine for several other reasons. Here are a few of those reasons:
- Your health insurance company will not pick up the tab for all or part of your CPAP machine without a prescription
- Your CPAP machine will need to be equipped with certain pressure settings that will be listed on your prescription
- You may need a specific type of CPAP machine to manage the symptoms of your sleep apnea
Your CPAP machine prescription will need to include a variety of information on it. It should have:
- Your full name
- Your doctor’s name, contact information, and signature
- Your official sleep apnea diagnosis
- The duration of the prescription (most CPAP machine prescriptions last for the lifetime of a person)
- The type of CPAP machine that you need
- The type of accessories, including CPAP masks, that you’ll need to use your CPAP machine
As you can see, there is a lot of information that will be included on your CPAP machine prescription. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions early and often so that you’re on the same page with them.
Picking Out a CPAP Machine
After you’ve obtained a prescription for a CPAP machine, it’ll be time for you to find the one that you want to buy. The sooner you can pick one out for yourself, the sooner you can start using it and sleeping better at night.
Your doctor might be able to tell you a great place to purchase a CPAP machine. But you also have the option of looking around on your own to find a company that sells high-quality CPAP machines.
Try to find a company that offers a wide variety of CPAP machines and CPAP accessories. The company should have a wealth of experience in the industry as well and should be able to provide you with positive reviews from past customers.
Maintaining a CPAP Machine
You and your CPAP machine are going to spend a ton of time together once you welcome it into your home. You’re going to sleep with your CPAP mask on your face just about every night.
This means that you’re going to need to go above and beyond to maintain both your CPAP machine and your CPAP mask so that they’re clean at all times. By taking good care of a CPAP machine and CPAP accessories, you can extend the life of them.
Take a look at a few tips for maintaining your CPAP machine and CPAP mask:
- Remove the humidification chamber from your CPAP machine every day and wash it with warm water and soap
- Soak the humidification chamber in a mixture of white vinegar and water for about 20 minutes once every week
- Always use either distilled water or sterile water in your CPAP machine as tap water may cause damage to the components inside of it
- Replace the humidification chamber in your CPAP machine at least once every six months
- Wash your face every night before putting your CPAP mask on
- Rinse your CPAP mask with warm water and soap every morning to get it clean
- Soak your CPAP mask in a mixture of white vinegar and water for about 20 minutes once every week
- Follow your CPAP mask manufacturer’s instructions with regards to replacing it
By taking these steps, you’ll ensure your CPAP machine and CPAP mask do their jobs each and every night. You won’t have to worry about sleep apnea symptoms anymore when you use them properly.
Talk to Your Doctor About Sleep Apnea Today
Do you believe that sleep apnea might be taking a toll on you? Instead of ignoring the problem, sit down with your doctor to discuss your options.
Your doctor can schedule a sleep study for you and give you a prescription for a CPAP machine if you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea. Your CPAP machine could very well change your life forever.
Find out some of the other things you should speak with your doctor about regarding your health by reading through the articles on our blog.