Sleep Better Now
Patients With Sleep Apnea Sleep Better Now With CPAP & BiPAP Equipment
For more than 20 years, the CEO and founder of Americare Respiratory Services has had the privilege of helping patients with their respiratory needs.
As a trained respiratory therapist, he spent many years in a hospital setting helping patients overcome their respiratory challenges. The leading cause of hospital deaths is infection – usually caused by hospital staff, patients, and visitors not washing their hands. Respiratory supplies are changed every 48 hours to help prevent respiratory infections.
When he went into home healthcare, he saw that most patients were not changing their CPAP supplies. Many were not aware that insurance companies would pay for these new supplies. Patients were often very thankful; some had never received a new CPAP mask or supplies. Thus, the Americare Respiratory Services Care Plus Program was born.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is when you periodically – and regularly – stop breathing while sleeping. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, sleep apnea affects more than 12 million Americans. There are three types of sleep apnea: central, mixed, and obstructive. The most common is obstructive sleep apnea, caused by an obstruction or collapse of the airway during sleep. For example, the tongue, palate, or epiglottis can relax during sleep and obstruct the airway. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to tell the muscles to breathe. Mixed sleep apnea is a mixture of both central and obstructive sleep apneas. Untreated sleep apnea can cause congestive heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure, headaches, weight gain, and motor vehicle accidents. Since most people are not familiar with the symptoms of sleep apnea, it is most often overlooked and goes undiagnosed.
Recognize Sleep Apnea Signs & Symptoms
A sleep test (including a home sleep study) is the most common tool used to diagnose sleep apnea. During a laboratory sleep test, usually half the night will be spent diagnosing whether a patient has sleep apnea and the other half is spent using CPAP equipment to document any improvement in sleep and measure the effectiveness of the CPAP.
The most common survey for symptoms is the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. This doesn’t result in diagnosis but is simply a guideline to indicate to your physician whether you may have sleep apnea and may require a sleep study. If you suspect that you or a loved one may suffer from sleep apnea, try answering the Sleep Symptom Checker questions.
CPAP and BiPAP to the Rescue!
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most common treatment for patients who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. The amount of pressure being delivered with a CPAP machine is usually determined by your sleep study and varies for each person. This equipment is only available with a prescription from your physician.
The biggest problem associated with CPAP is the patient’s inability to tolerate air pressure, the type of CPAP mask used, or poor CPAP mask fitting. Over time, many patients get used to the pressure from the CPAP. Using the “ramp” feature of many machines is an excellent way to alleviate any discomfort associated with the initial use of a CPAP. Patients can use this feature any time they are having difficulty tolerating the pressure from their CPAP. The ramp feature dramatically reduces the pressure and within 30-45 minutes, the pressure slowly builds up until optimal pressure has been reached again. The patient will usually fall asleep during this period and does not notice the increased air pressure.
Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) is designed for patients who are prescribed high pressure or have trouble tolerating the pressure associated with their CPAP. BiPAP features two different pressures: inspiratory (inhalation) and expiratory (exhalation). The expiratory pressure is dramatically reduced, so patients can better tolerate the airflow. Although BiPAPs are much more expensive than CPAPs, most insurance companies will pay for it with the proper documentation.
Choosing the Right Equipment is Key
There are many varieties of CPAP and BiPAP machines to treat sleep apnea. Selecting the right equipment to handle your personal pressure settings along with a comfortable mask and the right filters and cushions can be quite confusing. Therefore, it is important that you select a company that provides you with quality CPAP or BiPAP machines and supplies – as well as the personal service you need to ensure your particular needs are met.
Only the very best durable medical equipment companies are awarded the Gold Seal of Approval by the Joint Commission, so that is also something to look for when selecting your company. Lastly, select a company that specializes in sleep apnea equipment and service for your best chance at achieving your goal to sleep better now!
To see if you qualify to receive CPAP supplies at little or no cost, call Americare Respiratory Services at (866) 344-2774.