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Respiratory

FAQ

Here are some helpful answers to frequently asked questions about C-PAP therapy. If you have other health care questions, please ask a DynQuest Medical expert.

Q: Will I always have to use a CPAP unit?

A: Your CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) unit is not a cure, but therapy. As long as your condition remains unchanged, the CPAP will most likely need to be used. Common signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea are:

  •  snoring
  •  excessive daytime sleepiness
  •  restless sleep (may include moving arms and legs)
  •  morning headaches
  •  light disorientation/memory lapses
  •  irritability
  •  personality changes
  •  pauses when the patient doesn’t breathe during sleep

Q: Do I need to use my CPAP unit every night, all night?

A: Your doctor has ordered this therapy for you, and you should use it as it has been ordered. CPAP should be used every night, the whole night for maximum benefit. In the beginning you may not be able to use it all night long. You may need to get used to it by wearing it a few hours more each night until you are able to use it all night long.

Q: I’m using CPAP but I’m not sure if it’s helping. What should I do?

A: It may take you up to four weeks to adjust to your CPAP. Try to relax when using the CPAP system. Take slow, deep breaths through your nose with your mouth closed. If you still have trouble, contact your physician or your DynQuest Medical Respiratory Therapist.

Q: How often should I clean my mask? When should it be replaced?

A: Your mask, headgear and other components should be cleaned on a regular basis. If maintained properly, your mask and headgear should last six to 12 months. On a daily basis: Wash the mask or pillows with a soft cloth. Gently wash with a solution of warm water and a mild, clear liquid detergent. Rinse thoroughly, and allow mask or pillows to air dry. On a twice-weekly basis: With a soft cloth, gently wash the swivel connector and tubing in a solution of warm water and a mild, clear liquid detergent. Rinse thoroughly and allow them to air dry. On a weekly basis: Unplug the unit and, using a cloth slightly dampened with water and dish detergent, wipe the outside of the unit. Using a cloth dampened with water only, wipe the outside of the unit again. Use a dry cloth to wipe the unit dry. Make sure it’s thoroughly dry before plugging it in again. On an as-needed basis: Wash your headgear and/or chinstrap as needed, perhaps once or twice a week. Again using a soft cloth, gently wash each in a solution of warm water and a mild, clear liquid detergent.

Q: My CPAP mask sometimes leaks air. Other times, it just feels uncomfortable. What can I do to fix these problems?

A: Your CPAP machine should be turned on to its full pressure before the mask is applied. For optimum fit, position the straps on your headgear while lying down. Overtightening the headgear can worsen mask leaks and cause redness or sores on the skin. A small leak at the sides and/or bottom of the mask is acceptable, but air leaking at the top of the mask can cause sore or dry eyes.

Q: When I use my CPAP, I sometimes feel as if there’s too much or too little pressure. What can I do?

A: It may take you up to four weeks to adjust to your CPAP. Try to relax when using the CPAP system. Take slow, deep breaths through your nose with your mouth closed. If you still have trouble, contact your physician or your DynQuest Medical Respiratory Therapist.

Q: Are there support groups for people who have sleep apnea?

A: The American Sleep Apnea Association, which seeks to increase education about and understanding of sleep apnea, can direct you to groups in your area. Contact the association at (202) 293-3650 or asaa@sleepapnea.org; Web site is http://www.sleepapnea.org. For names of other helpful organizations, please visit “Other Sources,” and click on “Sleep Disorders.”

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