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By oxymed23338999, Apr 14 2016 03:37PM

A shower or bath is a great way to start your day. But a refreshing dip and a good hygiene routine is just as important for your CPAP as it is for you.

Proper upkeep of your CPAP machine can help ensure the device functions properly. “It is vitally important to keep everything as clean as possible, as hoses/tubing and masks can be a prime breeding ground for bacteria and mold,” said Phoebe Ochman, director of Communications for Sleep Apnea Treatment Centers of America.

The thorough cleaning of your CPAP machine can be divided into daily and weekly cleaning, she said.

Daily Cleaning

Get in the habit of wiping down your mask (including areas that come in contact with your skin) using a damp towel with mild detergent and warm water. This will remove any oils, dead skin cells and sweat on the mask that can affect the quality of the seal. Gently rinse with a clean towel and let the mask air-dry.

You can also use pre-moistened towels designed specifically for cleaning CPAP masks, which are available at many sleep centers.

If your unit has a humidifier, empty any leftover water instead of letting in sit in the unit all day. Refill the humidifier with clean, distilled water right before bedtime for optimal use, Ochman said.

If you’ve been sick, it’s smart to wash your mask, tubing, humidifier and filter daily until your cold, flu or virus symptoms are gone. That can help reduce the amount of time you spend under the weather.

Weekly Cleaning

Your mask and tubing need a full bath once a week to keep it free of dust, bacteria and germs.

Clean the CPAP tubing, nasal mask and headgear in a bathroom sink filled with warm water and a few drops of ammonia-free, mild dish detergent. “Swirl all parts around for about five minutes, rinse well and let air dry during the day,” Ochman said. Hang the tubing over the shower rod, on a towel rack or in the laundry room to ensure all the water drips out.

The mask and headgear can be air-dried on a towel or hung on a hook or hanger.

“You should also wipe down your CPAP machine with a damp cloth,” Ochman noted. The towel shouldn’t be too damp or wet, as water could get into the machine.

Clean the filter by removing it and rinsing it in warm tap water. “Squeeze it under the water and squeeze to make sure there is no dust. Then blot down the filter with a towel,” she said.

But don’t wash your machine’s white filter, if one is present—those are disposable and should be replaced once a month, Ochman said. “Just like your house filters, if the white filter is dirty, it should be replaced sooner than once a month.”

If your CPAP has a humidifier, that also needs to be cleaned weekly.

Empty any remaining water and then wash the water chamber in the sink with warm soapy water. Rinse well and drain out as much of the water as possible. Let the chamber air-dry before placing it back into the CPAP unit.

“Every other week you should disinfect the humidifier,” Ochman said. Do that by soaking it in a solution of one part vinegar to five parts water for 30 minutes, thoroughly rinsing and then placing in your dishwasher’s top rack for washing. And keep it clean by using only distilled water to prevent mineral deposits that can build up and cause damage to your machine.

With a little upkeep, your CPAP can continue to help you breathe better for a long time. Just a few minutes a day can help keep your CPAP running efficiently for years to come.

By oxymed23338999, Apr 6 2016 08:33PM

A chronic sleep disorder might be to blame for a significant number of workplace injuries. 

Estimates suggest up to a quarter of adults between ages 30 and 70 are affected by sleep apnea, which causes intermittent pauses in breathing that disrupt sleep and decrease sleep quality.

People with untreated sleep apnea were twice as likely to get hurt at workcompared to those without the condition, according to a recent study conducted in Canada. What’s more, sleep apnea sufferers were three times more likely to suffer injuries that were potentially fatigue-related.

“People with sleep apnea have decreased cognitive function, vigilance, attention, and motor function,” said study author Dr. Najib T. Ayas, an associate professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia. “And we know from previous studies that individuals with untreated sleep apnea are at increased risk of motor vehicle crashes.”

The study looked at a group of 1,236 patients referred to the University of British Columbia Hospital Sleep Disorder Laboratory to be evaluated for sleep apnea. The researchers compared the injury claims of 994 patients who were ultimately diagnosed with sleep apnea to the claims of 242 patients who did not have the condition. Claims were only included for injuries that resulted in at least one day of absence from work.

Nearly 10 percent of people with sleep apnea had filed a claim reporting an injury, while only 5.4 percent of those without sleep apnea did the same.

And when looking at what’s called “vigilance-related injuries” — meaning those associated with distractions, such as falls and motor vehicle crashes related to drowsy driving — 4.5 percent of those with sleep apnea filed a claim reporting an injury compared with 1.7 percent of those without sleep apnea.

Why This Data Is More Reliable Than Past Reports

Though other studies have shown there is a connection between sleep apnea and increased rates of work-related injuries, this study is one of the largest to document the relationship, Ayas said.

Plus, the researchers used reported injuries and objective measures to analyze rates of untreated sleep apnea (cases were diagnosed using polysomnography, the lab test that measures patients’ overnight sleep data), versus relying on suspected cases of sleep apnea or self-reports of injuries, making these findings more reliable.

Ayas said the researchers are continuing with a follow-up study to see if treatment mitigates the higher injury rate or if rates of work injuries continue to be higher in people who are treating sleep apnea compared with people without it.

These findings may also have implications for screening for sleep apnea in the workplace, though no specific policy recommendations are made in the paper. For now, Ayas suggests snorers and others with sleep apnea symptoms ask their doctors about whether they may have the condition.

“People who have symptoms of sleep apnea — i.e. being tired during the day and loud snoring at night — should get checked out for it, and understand they probably are at increased risk for having occupational injuries as well,” Ayas said.

By oxymed23338999, Apr 1 2016 11:39PM

By Reyna Gobel

new study reveals that patients who see a videotape of their sleep apnea may lead them to use their CPAP machines more.

The question everyone wants to know is, What makes videotaping in a sleep lab different and better than videotaping one’s spouse at home?

According to the lead author of the study, Dr. Mark Aloia, Senior Director of Global Clinical Research for Philips Respironics and associate professor of medicine at National Jewish Health, it wasn’t just the visual that encouraged patients to use their CPAP machines more. The videos were edited down to a few minutes and were one element in a 30-minute educational session that also included physiological data from the patients’ CPAP machines. The information combined was more powerful in showing patients they actually gasped for air in an apnic episode.

Having your spouse videotape your sleep poses its own issues: Besides the fact you must consent to being videotaped, a recording made at home lacks context. A sleep behavior specialist or nurse knows more about the physiology and psychology of what’s happening during an apnic episode than your spouse would. Plus, a medical specialist can discuss with you the different ways that using your CPAP machine longer can help you sleep better.

The study consisted of 24 sleep apnea patients: 12 people who were shown a video of someone else’s sleep apnea and 12 individuals who were shown a video of their own sleep apnea. The 12 individuals who viewed themselves used the CPAP machine for two more hours per night three months after watching the video.

The study’s findings were interesting enough that Dr. Aloia plans to conduct a larger study of 300 sleep apnea patients.

By oxymed23338999, Mar 31 2016 02:12PM

Many Americans will be feeling sleepy in the days after Daylight Saving Time starts. But some people with sleep apnea wake up feeling exhausted every morning.

More than 12 million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that has been linked to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, traffic crashes, work accidents and depression, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

People with the condition have numerous breathing pauses during sleep, lasting from a few seconds to a few minutes. The most common type, obstructive sleep apnea, is caused by an airway blockage -- typically soft tissue in the back of the throat collapsing, the agency said in a news release.

Men are almost twice as likely as women to have sleep apnea. Other risk factors include being overweight, being over 40, smoking, having a family history of the disorder, and having a nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies or sinus problems.

Sleep apnea can also affect children, with the most common cause being enlarged tonsils and adenoids.

Losing weight and avoiding alcohol or medicines that make you sleepy, which can make it harder to breathe, can be beneficial, according to the FDA.

The most common treatment is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which delivers steady air pressure to keep airways open during sleep. If CPAP is ineffective, a device called the Inspire Upper Airway System can be used. It is surgically implanted below the collarbone and uses electrical pulses to stimulate the tongue muscles and keep airways open.

Another option is an oral appliance worn during sleep. It fits like a sports mouth guard and supports the jaw in a forward position to help keep the upper airway open, the FDA explained.

No drugs have been approved to treat sleep apnea, said Dr. Ronald Farkas, a neuroscientist in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Doctors sometimes prescribe drugs to help people with daytime sleepiness caused by sleep apnea, but these medications do not treat sleep apnea.

If you have sleep apnea and are taking other medications, you need to tell your doctor about them, he advised.

"A number of drugs can actually make sleep apnea worse, including many for insomnia, anxiety or severe pain," Farkas said the news release.

March 14, 2016

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

By oxymed23338999, Mar 30 2016 03:29PM

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is widely regarded as the best treatment available for obstructive sleep apnea. When properly set and consistently used, it is highly effective, though early on tolerance and compliance can be an issue. It may be easy to tell when a CPAP machine is working, but what are signs that it is not working anymore? Consider some of the major indications that your CPAP machine and equipment may need to either be adjusted or replaced.

Here are some of the more typical scenarios:

“My CPAP just isn’t working.”

If the machine simply does not turn on, it clearly is not working properly. When plugged in, most CPAP machines can be turned on with the push of a button. If placed on a particular setting, some machines will even start working when you breathe into your connected mask a few times.

If the CPAP simply stays off or does not generate any airflow, the device should be brought to your equipment provider for evaluation. It may indicate that the device needs to be repaired or replaced, especially if it stopped working after being dropped.

Though this is the most obvious sign that the CPAP is broken, there can be other signs that something is amiss. If your heated humidifier tank does not need to be refilled more than once every 2 to 3 days, this may suggest that the temperature and humidity settings need to be adjusted. If the water never goes down, the humidifier may not be working at all. Some evaporation will occur as the air passes over the water, but it will typically be at a much slower rate if the heating element isn’t working.

If the air feels uncomfortably cool, this may be further evidence of its dysfunction. In addition, if you have heated tubing and water is condensing inside of it, this may suggest that the humidity setting is too high or that the tubing is either not connected properly or just isn’t working.

“I still snore or have apnea when using my CPAP.”

Snoring should never occur with an adequate CPAP pressure.

If CPAP is set properly, the constant flow of air will keep the airway from collapsing and will also eliminate the vibration of tissue that causes snoring. If you are snoring with your CPAP mask on, and mask leak is not the issue, the pressure likely needs to be increased to be fully effective. In addition, witnessed pauses in breathing or episodes where you wake up gasping or choking when using the treatment are signs that the pressure is improperly set. The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) indicates the number of breathing disruptions that occur per hour of sleep. If the AHI is greater than 5, as can sometimes be provided on the CPAP display in the morning, the pressure should be increased. If you experience these difficulties, you should speak with your sleep doctor about having the pressure adjusted.

“I feel worse again despite still using my CPAP.”

Some people notice a significant improvement with the use of CPAP in a matter of days or weeks. This may be experienced as more refreshing sleep, decreased daytime sleepiness, or improvements in concentration, short-term memory, or mood. Over the long-term, other conditions associated with untreated sleep apnea may improve such as high blood pressure, heart failure, or diabetes. If the symptoms that prompted your evaluation for sleep apnea return, this could suggest that the CPAP is not working optimally. The most common complaint would be the return of excessive daytime sleepiness, often manifest by prolonged or frequent daytime naps. This could be due to unrecognized mask leak or even an inadequate treatment pressure. Weight gain, alcohol use near bedtime, and aging may all lead to the need to increase CPAP pressures. Therefore, if you find that your symptoms have recurred, check in with your sleep doctor to see if things can be improved by adjusting your setting.

“I am not sure how long I have had my CPAP.”

Unfortunately, CPAP machines do not last forever. If your machine starts to make a funny noise, doesn’t seem to generate the same pressure as before, or is otherwise being temperamental, it may simply be time to replace the device. In general, most insurance companies will pay to replace the CPAP machine every 5 years. These devices do have some degree of built-in obsolescence, meaning that they will gradually begin to fail and require replacement with a new device. Therefore, if your CPAP is old enough and it is not working well, it may simply be time to replace it.

If you believe that your CPAP machine is not working properly, don't suffer in silence. Call OxyMed and get your treatment back on track.

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