CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)
CPAP stands for "continuous positive airway pressure." CPAP is a treatment that delivers slightly pressurized air during the breathing cycle. It is a small electric pump which delivers pressurized air through a mask over your nose. CPAP prevents your airway from closing while you sleep. This makes breathing easier for persons with obstructive sleep apnea and other respiratory problems. Our sleep medicine specialists will work with you to find a CPAP pump that is appropriate for your sleeping habits. Below are some frequently asked questions about CPAPs.
Are there any other treatments for sleep apnea besides CPAP?
Yes. Please ask your physician for more information about other available treatments.
What do the numbers on a CPAP machine mean?
CPAP pressure is measured in centimeters of water.
Does my insurance company or Medicare cover a second sleep study as well as the costs of CPAP?
Medicare and most insurance companies cover the second sleep study and CPAP, subject to your benefit coverage and deductibles. Ask your insurance carrier for more information.
How do I obtain a CPAP machine?
Durable medical equipment (DME) vendors, such as Freeman Health Essentials, dispense CPAP machines. Our staff will be glad to assist you in determining which vendor is right for you. Medicare and most insurance companies often pay for CPAP machine rentals until it is clear that the treatment is right for you. At that point, the insurance company will purchase it for you and apply all the rental fees towards the purchase price.
Can I buy a CPAP machine from a vendor on the Internet?
Yes, however please know that most insurance companies will not reimburse you for a CPAP machine purchased from a vendor on the Internet. If you know what you want and are paying cash, this might be your best option.
Are there different types of masks?
Masks come in all shapes and sizes. The most common kinds of mask are:
- Nasal mask: covers your nose only. The nasal mask is the most common mask.
- Full face mask: covers both your nose and mouth. A full face mask may help if you have air leaks using a nasal mask or if you breathe through the mouth while sleeping.
How do people with claustrophobia deal with CPAP?
Our staff will work with you to help you adjust to a mask. Additionally, there are masks that work better for claustrophobic patients. Please discuss your concerns with your physician.
How do I know which CPAP machine and mask are right for me?
Your physician and your DME vendor will assist you in choosing a CPAP and mask.
Do I have to wear the mask all night, every night?
You will get most of the benefit of CPAP if you wear it four hours or more, approximately 75% of the time that you’re sleeping.
What are the common side effects from CPAP?
Discomfort from the mask or the sensation of difficulty exhaling against pressure are the main side effects of CPAP. Your mask can be refitted, and most patients get used to breathing against the pressure. Nasal congestion or dryness, as well as mouth dryness are other side effects that your physician can usually treat. All CPAP machines include a humidifier to help with the dryness associated with CPAP.
Are CPAP machines noisy?
Most CPAP machines are quiet. Bed partners usually prefer the "white noise" from CPAP to the loud noise associated with snoring.
What happens if I don't wear the mask for a few nights?
Unless you have severe heart or lung disease, there is no harm going without CPAP for a night. Many patients like the way it makes them feel so much that they would not dare go a night without using it.
Can I travel with a CPAP?
CPAP machines are portable and can be carried onto a plane. A travel case for the device and accessories often comes with your machine or can be purchased. Ask your physician for a letter of medical necessity to carry with your CPAP machine. Sleep apnea and CPAP are common that these devices are often easily recognized as harmless by airport security personnel. Airport x-ray screening does not harm CPAP machines.
How often do I get a new mask?
Although most insurance companies will pay for a replacement mask as often as every three months, that is usually not necessary. The replacement schedule depends on your specific mask.
How often do I have to wash the equipment?
Regular cleaning is important to make sure your CPAP device stays clean and works correctly. Ask your home equipment supplier for details about how and when to clean your device and accessories.
How often should I see my physician?
Most insurance companies require a follow-up appointment within 6 weeks of starting CPAP. Regular office visits will allow you to express concerns and ask questions. Because it can take time to get used to using CPAP, regular visits will allow your physician to determine whether you’re doing well with the mask.
Should I bring my CPAP with me to appointments?
Please bring your machine with you to each appointment so that it can be tested and adjusted.
Do I have to undergo any more sleep studies?
We typically do not repeat sleep studies unless there has been a significant change in your weight, it has been more than five years since your last study or you are doing poorly with your CPAP machine.