Author: inksplashdesigns

Lower your blood pressure – in your sleep!

It’s known as the silent killer: High blood pressure. It may not show symptoms, but it can increase the risk of heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and more. Nearly half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, or hypertension. Only about 1 in 4 has their condition under control (CDC). 

Evidence shows a strong association between Obstructive Sleep Apnea and chronic hypertension. OSA makes patients more likely to develop hypertension, but people who have hypertension are also more likely to have sleep apnea. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP, is the primary treatment for OSA. 

Using your CPAP as prescribed has many benefits, including better sleep quality, reduced symptoms like daytime sleepiness, and improvement in quality of life. Research has shown that there’s an extra benefit to staying compliant with CPAP therapy: lower blood pressure.

Researchers have found that CPAP use results in a significant improvement in blood pressure. In one study, researchers monitored 55 patients with both OSA and hypertension for 24 months. Researchers recorded how much the patients used their CPAP. Patients wore a device to monitor and record their blood pressure. At the end of the study, patients who used their CPAP as they should had a considerable reduction in their diastolic blood pressure! 

Benefits of CPAP Therapy

CPAP can bring significant benefits to those with sleep apnea, including reducing the risk for illnesses associated with OSA like hypertension and stroke. There’s a catch, though: CPAP only brings those benefits when used regularly.  A 2017 study showed that even three months of compliant CPAP therapy showed a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic pressures. Patients who weren’t fully compliant with therapy saw no significant changes. Successful treatment of sleep apnea had additional cardiovascular benefits. Even patients who originally experienced reduced blood pressure saw those benefits reverse after a week without CPAP therapy. 

If you are having problems using your CPAP as prescribed, there is help available! Talk to your sleep physician or contact your Rotech location for more information.

After Your Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

You want me to wear what?!

What’s it like to get a sleep apnea diagnosis? Beforehand, you’re exhausted all of the time. Your lack of energy means it takes everything you have just to stay awake. Even when you get the opportunity to sleep late, it still feels like you never catch up. The sleepiness does not go away!

After sleep testing, you walk away with a sleep apnea diagnosis. Then you say, “okay, great. Now just get me whatever I need to get good sleep and have a normal, productive day for a change.”

The good news: there’s a fix for all your problems! A high-tech air pump is going to live on your nightstand. It’s going to blow a ridiculous amount of air into your nose and mouth, and this air comes through what looks suspiciously like a space mask and a tangled web of tubing.

Good night? Sweet dreams? Yeah, right!

Two seconds into wearing the mask and having the air blow your cheeks beyond the realm of possibilities, you’re done. There’s no way this solution is going to work for you. It’s just not worth the trouble.

Here’s the thing: it is worth the trouble. Before you know it, you’ll be sleeping soundly and waking with the energy you once had. Sleep Apnea means that your body is not getting the deep sleep you need to really feel rested. When your body tries to get into a deeper sleep, your airways relax – which causes a more significant blockage of oxygen to your body. Your body will naturally force you to wake up and take deep breaths of air.  

You might not fully awaken and may not even realize this is happening! This process prevents you from going into a deeper sleep because your body prioritizes oxygen over rest. Regardless of how many hours you spend in bed, you stay tired because you never get the deep sleep your body truly needs!

The tests you had showed the precise amount of pressure it takes to keep your airway open. When your airway stays open, your body maintains a healthy oxygen level, and you get to sleep. Real sleep. Deep sleep. The kind of sleep where you wake up rested in the morning and have the energy to get through your day.

Yes, CPAP therapy can be uncomfortable at first. You won’t become accustomed to all of this new equipment overnight, but in time, you will. Even a few hours a night is a start – a few hours of deep sleep you weren’t getting before. If you continue to have trouble, call your Rotech location and ask for help!

Hang in there, and keep trying – the short- and long-term benefits of a good night’s sleep are worth it.

10 tricks to getting used to your new CPAP

Getting used to your new CPAP can be a challenge. Strapping a mask to your face with air blowing into your nose isn’t exactly a natural way to sleep! Some patients take to wearing their CPAP device easily, but many more go through a period of acclimation, or adjustment, while using the device. 

CPAP use can be challenging and may require some adjustments to your system. Here are 10 helpful tips to help you adjust to regular CPAP use.

  1. Lower the stakes:  don’t try to get used to your setup when you’re already tired and ready for bed. First, try wearing your CPAP for short periods during the day while you watch TV or read to get used to how it feels.
  2.  Having nasal problems or mouth leaks? Try a heated humidifier. Not only can it decrease those issues, it can increase CPAP compliance
  3. Keep going: We know that early persistence pays off. Research has shown that if you’re using your CPAP regularly after the first week, then you’ll most likely still be using it after 1 year.
  4. Keep it clean: clean your mask, tubing, and headgear regularly and remember to change them on the schedule established by your insurance provider. Typically, every three months for tubing and mask and every six months for the headgear
  5. Feeling the pressure? Many devices have a ramp feature that allows you to start treatment at a lower pressure. As you fall asleep, the pressure will gradually increase to your normal pressure. Many newer devices have a feature that also reduces resistance when you exhale.
  6. Prevent the pull: Is your tubing pulling on your mask? Try looping it over your headboard to reduce the sensation.
  7. Dry, stuffy nose? A nasal saline spray may reduce mild nasal dryness. If congestion continues, talk to your physician. A nasal decongestant or steroid spray may help, but shouldn’t be used without your provider’s guidance.
  8. Make sure your mask is just right: A properly adjusted mask should sit parallel to the face when viewed from the side, not tilted in or out. Overtightening your mask can actually increase leaks and will cause soreness, so make sure yours is snug but not tight to your face.
  9. Keep those filters clean: regularly clean and replace your CPAP’s filters. They help remove dust, pollen, mold, and other airborne particles that cause irritation and allergy symptoms.
  10. Remember, it’s worth it: Using your CPAP will reduce or alleviate the nagging symptoms caused by sleep apnea. Studies have shown that benefits of consistent CPAP use include:
    • Increased daytime attentiveness and energy level
    • Fewer morning headaches
    • Reduced irritability
    • Improved memory
    • Less waking during the night to go to the bathroom
    • Increased ability to exercise
    • Increased effectiveness at home or work
    • Improved overall quality of life

Improve your CPAP therapy: 5 expert tips

Once you’ve got a routine down, CPAP therapy can be pretty easy. But can you improve your CPAP therapy with some minor tweaks? CPAP therapy benefits millions of people who suffer from Sleep Apnea. For some, it’s a difficult adjustment. For others, it quickly becomes second nature. Regardless, CPAP therapy can reduce snoring and eliminate most apneas. As a result, you get the healthy, restorative sleep your body needs!

Whether you’re new to CPAP therapy or have been on a CPAP for years, it never hurts to get some new tricks. Here are a few simple but essential tips to help maintain or improve your CPAP therapy:

  1. Clean your mask! It only takes a few minutes, but cleaning your CPAP mask in the morning when you wake up removes oils that transfer from your face to your mask. 
  2. Clean your tubing! Simply hold the tubing in a u-shape and pour in some warm soapy water. Then, lift and lower each end to get the soapy water moving around the tube’s entire length, thoroughly cleaning the inside.
  3. Use those filters! Don’t use a CPAP machine without the filters. Filters play a crucial role in maintaining the life of your CPAP machine. Most devices have two kinds of filters: foam and ultra-fine. Use them both! Having clean filters means that whenever you take a breath, you’ll be receiving good clean air. 
  4. Order your supplies at the frequency recommended by your insurance guidelines. This will help you get the best therapy possible! While your supplies might look okay after a lot of use, after time, the materials start breaking down — and not always in ways visible to the naked eye. When your supplies begin to break down, your therapy will not be as effective. 
  5. Take charge of your therapy. If it feels like your CPAP therapy isn’t working, or isn’t working like it used to, do something about it! Do your supplies need to be replaced? Have your physical needs changed? 

Tiny tweaks to improve your CPAP therapy can make sure you’re getting the most out of it. Remember, you can always call Sleep Central for advice. We’re here to help you get the most out of your CPAP therapy!

Drowsy Driving and your CPAP: Asleep at the Wheel

What do the Chernobyl nuclear accident, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and nearly 100,000 police-reported car crashes every year have in common? Sleep deprivation and fatigue. Drowsy driving and sleepiness are common causes of both traffic crashes and workplace accidents. The cost of people not getting enough sleep is billions of dollars a year. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control has declared insufficient sleep to be a public health problem. 

Sleepiness associated with untreated obstructive sleep apnea is a common cause of drowsy driving. A recent study found that 2-3% of drivers are habitually sleepy while driving. In another survey, 4% of respondents reported falling asleep while driving during the previous month. It’s common for sleep apnea patients to report fatigue — or even falling asleep — while driving. 

One study published by the American Thoracic Society journal explored whether patients with sleep apnea were at increased risk for drowsy driving. They found that habitually sleepy drivers were over 13 times more likely to have an accident. People involved in car crashes were 8.5 times more likely to have moderate to severe sleep apnea.

Studies also show that drowsy driving is an all-too-common problem in commercial drivers. This can come from two factors: sleep deprivation from long hours and the challenges of sleeping on the road, and an increased incidence of sleep apnea compared with the general population. Commercial drivers with sleep apnea may have to provide evidence of treatment to retain their license.

A landmark trial highlighted this issue. In this case, a truck driver pleaded guilty to two cases of vehicular homicide. The driver had a sleep apnea diagnosis but refused to use his CPAP machine as prescribed. The crash took two lives and the driver was sentenced to six months in jail.

The message is clear: follow your physician’s prescription for treatment if you have sleep apnea. Reduce daytime sleepiness by using your CPAP as prescribed. Healthy sleep will help you be better-rested and safer on the road.

Why should you replace your CPAP supplies?

Why should you replace your CPAP supplies? When was the last time you replaced your toothbrush? What about your contact lens case? You regularly replace items like these so they function properly, aren’t covered in bacteria, and can help keep you healthy.

Your CPAP supplies are no different! A frayed and worn toothbrush no longer effectively cleans your teeth and gums. Masks, headgear, and other disposable supplies also have a limited lifespan and should be replaced on schedule. Regular replacement of your CPAP supplies is essential for optimal comfort and proper operation of your CPAP or BiPAP device. Even with routine cleaning, normal usage results in the breakdown of these supplies and may lead to a number of problems.

For example, normal facial oils can cause the soft mask seal to deteriorate. This can cause irritating leaks that might make your CPAP therapy less effective. In response to these leaks, people will often tighten the straps, which can lead to irritation, soreness, and redness of the nose and upper lip. Leaks into the eyes can also be irritating. Routine replacement of the mask and seals will help to minimize this problem. 

Another reason to replace your CPAP supplies is preventing infection. Regular replacement of disposable supplies, along with proper cleaning according to your provider’s instructions, will help to minimize the potential for germ growth in the tubing and mask. 

Finally, changing the filters on your machine is important for the proper operation of your CPAP device. Operating your device with dirty filters causes it to run warm and puts extra stress on the machine, causing it to wear out faster. 

In order to prevent such problems, your insurer has established a replacement schedule for your supplies. We will ship supplies for you to replace according to the schedule established by your insurance company.