With the increase in the ability to diagnose and treat obstructive sleep apnea a new group of issues have come into play for many people. It is time to take the family vacation or on a business trip and you wonder do you have to bring this machine with you? If you do what do you need to know to make traveling with it easier?
The first question of whether or not you need to bring it with you is relatively easy to answer. CPAP and BIPAP do not cure sleep apnea they treat it. Just like medication, you should not stop using it without a doctor’s order. As soon as you stop using it your symptoms will reappear. Keep in mind that the fatigue which may have brought you to the sleep lab may not come back quickly because you are no as sleep deprived as you were before you were treated. However, the issues of low oxygen levels and the fact that you stop breathing and your snoring will come back when you do not use your therapy. If you are sharing a room, this can be quite troublesome for yourself or your room mates.
When packing up your PAP machine there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The first is that it is important that you empty the humidifier. Many people forget this step and upon arriving at their destination they find a waterlogged machine. If the humidifier is separate from the machine you should still take it with you. Nasal congestion can be a problem when you travel and the humidifier will help to limit issues you might have with congestion and drying of the mouth and nose.
When you are flying it is essential that your machine be a carry on. The change in pressure in the baggage compartment is not healthy for your machine. With most airlines, because it is medical equipment, it will not count as your one carry on luggage. You should have no problem making it through security because they are quite familiar with CPAP machines. Just take it out of the carry on case like you would a computer. In some airlines if you are taking a long flight and you are traveling first class or business class there may be electrical plugs that you can plug your machine in and wear if you plan on sleeping.
If you are traveling to a high altitude some of the older CPAP machines have an adjustment that you can set to deal with the change in pressure. Other machines have internal sensors that will make this adjustment for you.
Camping with your machine may be one of the most interesting issues that you may to deal with. If the campground has electricity then this is not an issue. If you are going to be somewhere a little more rural and you camp on a regular basis you might want to look at a machine that has a back up battery pack for it.
It is always important to enjoy yourself when you are taking a vacation. If you do not sleep well then you may miss out on the enjoyment of your trip. With a small amount of planning using you CPAP will allow you and your family or friends to be well rested for the next day’s activities.
You have been diagnosed wit sleep apnea for the most part you are dependent on your doctor, lab technicians, the equipment company and your insurance for which machine you will have the ability to get. But if you know what machines are on the market and what they offer you can choose a machine that will help you while keeping your needs in mind
The first think you need to consider is cost. What really is the issue is not so much the cost of the machine, because they all run about the same price, but what you are willing to pay for and what you are willing to accept if you have insurance. Insurance companies have different ways of paying for durable medical equipment. Some treat as a regular part of insurance. So if you have a deductible of $500 and then they pay 80% for care once that deductible is reached then you know what your expense will be. This is not all insurances. You may have an insurance hat has a durable medical equipment rider. In this case it will have its own deductible that you will have to meet and then it will pay a percentage after it is met. The third type of program is an HMO program. Usually they have a specific copay of $50-$100. They also require the use of a specific durable medical equipment company and will limit what equipment can be used including machines, masks and if you get a home visit or if you receive the machine from a UPS box. If you are paying cash then you will have the most say over what type of machine you will receive. However if you have a big deductible and know it you might get a better deal paying cash and submitting the claim yourself then you would using your insurance.
Once you have determines what you are willing to spend and what your insurance will cover then next decision is to figure out what is the most important aspects of the machine for you. If you travel a lot it might be the size of the machine. If you like to camp it might be that you want a back up battery. If you know you have a great deal of problems with nasal congestion in might be a machine with the best humidification system. Whatever issues you face it is important to know them up front so when you are working with the therapist who is setting up you new machine they know what is important to you.
The other issue is something that many patients are not aware of but is vital to getting insurance to pay for the machine. Many insurances including Medicare require documented compliance of the use of the equipment. This is usually done one of three ways. A person comes to your house reads the hours of use on the machine. The second way is that the machine has a card that you either plug into your computer and download and send to the DME company or your physician. The third, and newest way, is that your machine will have a modem that will allow the DME company and your physician to follow you use remotely. The remote compliance also allows changes to your machine without someone having to come to your house.
Now that you know about what factors are involved with choosing a machine let discuss what some of the machines on the market have to offer.
As far as size on the average the newer machines weight between 2.5 and 3 pounds and are quite small. They have built in humidification systems, although some are better then others. The newest machines are also more aesthetically pleasing. Resmed's new machine the S9 has a sleep look and resembles a book shape sitting on the night stand. Most of the other machines are either shaped as a cube or shaped like and alarm clock. They all have a hose and a mask to attach the machine to the patient. If however you plan to travel the Everest has the ability for you to purchase a rechargable battery that fits over the bottom of the machine. This allows for a stacked cube shape that is still faily light weight.
The cost can be a big consideration for a person especially if they have a high deductible or no insurance. Some of the basic machines like the Everest, the Tango and some of the older models do not have as many of the newer comfort measures but they do allow for good basic therapy at an affordable price. For those with no insurance and limited income many of the DME companies work with the manufacturers to get discounts of no cost machines based on income.
If you have trouble with drying during the night then one of the machines with a heated wire tubing system such as the Resmed S9 or the Fisher Paykel machines will pprobably be your best choice. Fisher Paykel is the leader in this technology having initially created it to help with ventilation of neonatal patients who were being ventilated.
If you wish for the newest, quietest machines with the most comfortable software so that the machines allows the pressure to work with you both the Respironics PR series and the Resmed S series of machines have been upgrades to be the quietest on the market. They have also created software for their machines that will work to make these machines more like natural breathing then breathing on a machine. Both of these machines also have th eability to have a modem added for closer following of compliance and for changing of pressures without having to go visit the patient's house.
When choosing a CPAP machine you should always listen to you physician but with a little education you might be able to avoid some of the problems that many new patients have. Decide for yourself what issues are most important to be met and then discuss your options with a professional. Look at these machines and try them out at your local DME company before you make a final decision.
You have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea or OSA and then they hit you with a bunch of words you have never heard before. They start talking about machines and mask and humidity. You are told this is long term therapy. What they do not explain is what the machine does, what types of therapy are you eligible for and what will be the best type of therapy for you.
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CPAP therapy is the “gold standard” for treating obstructive sleep apnea, also called OSA. For some of the people who use CPAP it is very difficult to use every night. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest is a lack of education. With this in mind there are five things that you can try that may help you being more successful with your CPAP.
CPAP therapy is designed to help you live a healthier life. It is long term care for the person who is using it and for the person who sleeps with him or her. It reduces snoring, apnea, and airway resistance. It does take some getting used to but in the end the energy and better health you experience from using your CPAP on a regular basis will be worth it.
Technology has come a long was and studying sleep is no exception. We are now able to perform sleep studies in the home as well as the sleep lab. This is a great thing because it allows more people to be tested for sleep disorders then every before. The drawback is that there are limitations to what can be done in the home versus the lab.
In home sleep studies are generally modified unsupervised sleep studies. This means that the equipment is delivered to the patient and then they are responsible for applying it and taking it off. In some areas a technician will come out in the evening to apply the equipment and you will wear it the rest of the night, then you may have to take it off or the technician will come back in the morning and remove it. Generally these types of studies are limited in nature and only monitors certain parameters, oxygen level, heart rate, breathing, and whether you are awake or sleep and position. Because the study is limited it is designed strictly to diagnoses sleep apnea. Other conditions a person may have will not be diagnosed, such a periodic limb movement disorder and teeth grinding. This type of testing is also not good for patient with significant health issues such as congestive heart failure or COPD.
In lab testing has several differences. The first one is there is a technician there with you if any problems should arise. If one of the wires become dislodged it can be fixed right away. You do not need to have another study performed. The technician is also there to answer questions should you have any during the nights. The most important role of the technician, however, is that they can intervene if there is a significant health issue during the night. They can also do a special type of study called a split night, or combination study, which allows you to be diagnosed and treated for your sleep apnea on the same night. This way if you have severe sleep apnea you can be treated right away instead of waiting. You also are able to be evaluated for other conditions you may not know you had.
Treating sleep apnea after the home sleep study can occur in two different ways as well. You can be brought into the sleep lab for a titration study. During this test the technician finds a mask that works for you, educates you about CPAP and how it works and then finds the right pressure to eliminate most of the apneas and snoring. This test also allows the doctor to look for the other disorders such as periodic limb movements.
The an auto-titrating CPAP. This machine is set to allow a range in pressure that adjusts as you have events during the night. The technician will fit you for a mask and then leave the machine for you to use. The drawback is that there is no one there during that first night to assist you if there is an issue. The other issue is that unless you call your doctor or the company that delivered the machine they may not be able to correct any problems that happen until they download the information in the CPAP memory.
Overall home sleep studies do have a place in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea. They are very good for diagnosing the straight forward sleep apnea patient. If, however, there is any issues that need to be addressed right away or if a person needs some assistance this may not be the best choice. A full sleep study allows for the possibility for quicker treatment and intervention. There is also the ability to diagnose other conditions that might go unnoticed in the home setting. That and the personal care involved in testing help to create a successful long term care situation.other option for treatment is to have a homecare company deliver