Topic: CPAP

CPAP Compliance: What New Patients Need to Know

Sleep apnea can be a disruptive and even life-threatening condition. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to a plethora of health complications. When your body doesn’t get enough oxygen during sleep due to repeated airway blockages, it can cause long-term damage. People with untreated sleep apnea are at an increased risk for hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, chronic fatigue and mood disturbances. They’re also at higher risk for more severe outcomes like stroke or sudden cardiac death. Interrupted sleep often leads to daytime sleepiness, which can contribute to accidents on the road or at work, cognitive difficulties, and reduced quality of life.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy offers a lifeline for sleep apnea patients. It delivers a steady stream of air to keep the airway open during sleep. Patients often experience an immediate improvement in sleep quality, daytime alertness, and overall well-being. Over the long term, consistent PAP therapy can reduce many risks of untreated sleep apnea. 

The key is not just having the machine but using it consistently. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is one of the most effective treatments for Obstructive Sleep Apnea. However, for the treatment to be successful, CPAP compliance is crucial. But what exactly does CPAP compliance mean, and why is it so important? 

Understanding CPAP Compliance

CPAP compliance refers to the consistent and correct use of your CPAP machine. To make the therapy effective, patients must use the device at the prescribed settings every night. Both Medicare and most insurance plans have a compliance standard that patients must meet, especially during the initial phase of treatment.

To be considered compliant, here’s what you should do:

Regular Usage: Use your device for a minimum of 4 hours every night and ensure this happens for at least 70% of the nights every month.

Follow-up: Schedule and attend a follow-up appointment with your doctor between the 31st and 90th day of your treatment. During this visit, your physician will take a look at your CPAP use and ensure you benefit from the therapy.

Quick Tip! Most CPAP problems have solutions! If you’re struggling to use your CPAP machine consistently, communicate any issues to a sleep coach or your medical provider so they can be addressed!

Why Compliance Matters

With consistent use, you’ll avoid the recurrence of sleep apnea symptoms and could also avoid complications with your insurance coverage.

Insurance companies want to make sure you’re using the device and it’s effectively treating your sleep apnea before they’ll pay for the treatment or for additional supplies.

If you don’t meet your plan’s compliance guidelines, you might have to restart the entire process of treating your sleep apnea, or even pay for the device yourself. That means additional doctor’s visits, completing another sleep study, having your doctor prescribe PAP therapy all over again, and additional cost to you.

How Rotech’s SleepWELL™ Program Helps

Understanding and maintaining compliance can seem daunting. This is where Rotech’s SleepWELL™ Program comes into the picture. We guide you every step of the way, working with you and your physician to ensure you’re positioned for success.

State-of-the-Art Technology: With SleepWELL™, you’re assured of cutting-edge technology and equipment. Each CPAP machine from Rotech is equipped with a modem (cellular or Wi-Fi) that meticulously tracks and records your usage. This data can be conveniently downloaded and shared with your doctor, simplifying compliance documentation. Depending on your machine, an app may also be available to see your sleep data and receive instant feedback and coaching.

Customized Support: As a SleepWELL™ patient, you’ll receive tailored support from our specialists. The critical first 90 days of treatment are when most patients need assistance, and that’s when our Clinical Compliance Tracking Team will be most actively involved, monitoring your progress and helping you meet compliance standards.

CPAP compliance is more than a guideline or a bar for you to clear; it ensures effective sleep apnea treatment. With a robust support system like Rotech’s SleepWELL™ Program, you’re equipped with the best tools and a dedicated team ensuring you get the restful night’s sleep you deserve. Consistency is key, and with the right support, healthier sleep is no longer just a dream!

Traveling with your CPAP: the Ultimate Guide

Once you’re used to your CPAP, you don’t want to sleep without it — no matter where you might be. Going without your sleep apnea treatment will bring back the snoring, headaches, and daytime exhaustion that caused you to seek therapy for sleep apnea in the first place! Luckily, there are plenty of tips and tricks to help make your next trip as smooth as possible. Read on for everything you need to know about traveling with your CPAP machine.

How do I pack my CPAP for travel?

Carry your CPAP with you! Most CPAP devices come with a travel bag, which is the best way to pack your CPAP machine and equipment. When you pack up your CPAP, make sure you’ve thoroughly emptied and dried out your humidifier water chamber and included your power cord.

Do not check your CPAP as baggage or place it in your checked luggage. Not only can baggage handling be rough on a device, but if your luggage is lost, so is your CPAP! Cruise ships and domestic passenger trains also ask that you carry on your CPAP and keep it with you.

The Air Carrier Access Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in air travel. It applies to all flights by U.S. airlines and flights to or from the U.S. by foreign airlines. Your CPAP is an assistive device, which means you can bring it on an airplane and stow it in an overhead compartment or under the seat in front of you. Assistive devices do not count towards the airline’s baggage limit if the bag does not contain additional personal items. Learn more about air travel with an assistive device and your rights in Air Travel with an Assistive Device, from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Make sure your device is packed separately from your other baggage items, and the only things packed with it are necessary accessories. Some airlines (especially budget carriers that typically charge for carry-ons) may check to verify that your assistive device is the only thing in its bag.

Additionally, you’ll want to bring a copy of your prescription. Having your prescription with you can be vital if you get to your destination and something breaks or you need a crucial accessory. Being prepared with your prescription will help you be able to get any replacement CPAP equipment pieces.

How do I get through airport security with my CPAP?

All travelers are required to undergo screening at the TSA checkpoint. CPAPs, Bi-level or BiPAP machines, and APAPs must be removed from their carrying case and put through the X-ray machine. Your tubing, power cord, and masks can stay in the case. If you’d like, you can provide a clear plastic bag to put your CPAP device in for x-ray screening.

While most screening agents are very familiar with CPAPs, you still might find it convenient to add a tag that says MEDICAL DEVICE to your bag.

If a TSA agent requests to inspect your machine or swab it for explosives, you have the right to request that they change to new gloves. You may also ask inspectors to clean the surface they will use to inspect your CPAP.

Do I have to take out my CPAP if I have TSA Precheck?

Generally, travelers do not need to remove CPAPs from carry-on bags in TSA PreCheck lanes. However, checkpoint officers will provide guidance if they need to perform additional screening on your device.

If the agent asks you to remove your machine, you’ll need to send it through the scanner on its own. Additionally, if TSA PreCheck lines are unavailable, you must go through the standard security screening.

Do I have to tell the airline about your CPAP machine?

If you plan on using your CPAP on board, you most likely need to notify your airline at least 48 hours before your flight. There may also be seating restrictions based on FAA rules. In addition, in-seat electrical power is not always available on every aircraft or in every seat. You may need to bring external batteries with you to power your device. Check with your carrier well before your trip to find their specific regulations.

Can I cruise with my CPAP?

Yes! Cruise lines are very familiar with CPAP users. Major lines have disability departments that can assist you with whatever you need. Most cruise lines will provide you with an extension cord and distilled water. Many (including Royal CaribbeanCelebrityNorwegian, and Disney) allow you to request these accommodations when you book or before your departure date. Check with your cruise line to confirm their policies and procedures. Many cruisers like to bring a roll of gaffer tape (available from retailers like Amazon or Home Depot) to tape down their extension cord in their cabin and reduce the likelihood of tripping over it!

Can I travel with water for my CPAP humidifier?

You can bring water, but if you’re carrying it on with your CPAP device, it must be in a sealed container of 3.4 ounces or less and fit in a quart-sized baggie.

You should be able to purchase distilled water at most destinations. Suppose you’re not planning on driving or stopping at a grocery store or pharmacy. In that case, delivery services like Instacart, Shipt, Postmates, and Doordash will often deliver distilled water and anything else you need (fees and upcharges may vary). 

If you need additional water for your CPAP humidifier, you can also pack it in your checked luggage. Some larger resorts may also have distilled water available for purchase or use. Housekeeping departments often use it for irons and steamers — it never hurts to ask!

How do I clean my CPAP while traveling?

Even away from home, cleaning your CPAP mask and accessories is crucial. Keeping your mask and accessories clean is essential for effective sleep therapy!

If you have access to a bathroom at your destination, you’re good to go! Clean your equipment the same way you do at home, with warm water and mild, non-fragrant soap. If you have room, hang your tubing over a towel rack or shower rod to dry.

Many products are available to make CPAP equipment cleaning easier on the go. Wipes, sprays, and mask and accessory sanitizers can all help ensure your equipment is squeaky clean no matter where you are.

What other travel accessories do I need?

Make sure you pack your machine’s power cord, and you may also want an extension cord. Not all outlets are convenient, so this can help make sure you can sleep well — in regards to your CPAP — in any hotel room, rental home, or relative’s house. (We can’t guarantee the comfort of Aunt Mildred’s guest room bed, but at least you’ll be able to sleep healthfully!)

Traveling internationally? Your CPAP machine should have a label that tells you the acceptable power inputs. Check the voltage and the hertz at your destination to ensure they’re compatible with your machine! While most modern CPAP machines are dual voltage, you’ll still need a country-specific adapter.

It’s also a good idea to keep a CPAP battery like the Portable Outlet or another backup power on hand when you travel, whether for use in-flight or at your destination.

Bon Voyage!

Wherever your journeys bring you, we hope this guide helps you travel confidently with your CPAP!

Keeping your CPAP clean: What you need to know

Keeping your CPAP equipment clean is vital for staying healthy and getting the most out of your CPAP therapy. But it can be tough to figure out which piece of CPAP equipment needs cleaning, how to clean it, and how often! Here’s a guide to keeping your CPAP equipment in tip-top shape.

Every Day:

Nasal Mask, Full Face Mask, and Tubing

If you don’t clean your CPAP mask, then oils from your face can build up and degrade the materials in your mask. This can result in a less effective seal. A dirty mask can also cause skin irritation or even contribute to skin breakouts. You’ll need to clean both the cushion and frame each day.

  • Wash in warm water with mild detergent
  • Rinse thoroughly under cold running water
  • Shake off excess water
  • Allow to air dry on a paper towel.
  • Cover parts with another paper towel to help keep dust off

If you’re pressed for time, specially designed CPAP Mask wipes can help you safely and gently clean and maintain your mask without giving it a full daily wash. Keep in mind that they’re only for occasional use; you’ll still need to wash your mask regularly to keep it in optimal condition.

Some people find it convenient and less messy to clean their tubing in the shower or bath, then hang it over the bar to dry!

Every 3 Days:


Empty any extra water in your humidifier every morning, and refill it with clean, distilled water right before bed. Letting water sit in your humidifier all day can lead to bacteria or mold growth.

  • Wash in warm water with mild detergent
  • Rinse thoroughly under cold running water
  • Shake off excess water
  • Soak humidifier for 30 minutes in a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts water
  • Rinse thoroughly under cold running water
  • Shake off excess water
  • Allow to air dry on a paper towel and cover with another paper towel to keep dust off
  • Dispose of white vinegar and water

Every Week:

Headgear or chinstrap

  • Machine or hand wash in mild detergent if soiled
  • Lay flat and allow to air dry

Reusable filter

  • Wash in warm soapy water
  • Rinse well using cold running water
  • Gently squeeze out excess water
  • Let the filter dry completely before reinstalling

Keeping your CPAP equipment clean can seem overwhelming at first, but soon it’ll be a simple part of your regular morning routine! Remember, even clean and well-cared for CPAP equipment doesn’t last forever, so don’t forget to replace your supplies as needed!

Looking for additional CPAP cleaning supplies, like wipes or a CPAP mask and accessory sanitizer? See the selection at SHOPRotech!

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.