What causes sleep apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (common): Sleep apnea can occur if your airway becomes obstructed while you’re sleeping. In some cases, the tongue and throat muscles relax and block the windpipe. Structural issues, such as a large tongue or tonsils can increase your risk of developing the condition. People who are overweight are also at an increased risk of sleep apnea.
Central Sleep Apnea (uncommon): Sleep disorder occurring when the brain may not send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing causing pauses in your breathing pattern.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
One of the main symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring. Although it’s important to understand, not all people who snore have sleep apnea. A bed partner may also notice your breathing periodically stops for brief periods of time through the night. Since people with sleep apnea have disrupted sleep, they often have excessive daytime sleepiness and may have morning headaches.
What negative effects can sleep apnea cause?
Sleep apnea impacts your quality of sleep, which can have a cumulative effect. Sleep deprivation can have several consequences including memory problems, trouble concentrating and mood disturbances. It can also increase your chances of having an accident while driving.
What if I don't treat sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea can cause several health complications. When your breathing stops, the oxygen level in your blood can drop. This drop can strain your cardiovascular system making your heart work harder. People with sleep apnea have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, having irregular heartbeats and diabetes. Untreated sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.
How am I diagnosed with sleep apnea?
You’ll need to be tested. This may require an overnight sleep study in a sleep center, or could be as easy as taking home a home sleep test. If you consult with your physician, they’ll likely know what steps are necessary to get you tested. The Sleep Disorders Center, and Sleep Clinic at UIHC are an amazing resource and option available to you. Click here for more information regarding UIHC’s Sleep Disorders Center. As always, feel free to call us with questions.
How long will it take to get used to CPAP?
Everyone is different. Some people are able to use their equipment with no problems from the very first night. They wake up feeling much more rested. Others can have trouble getting used to the mask and the pressure. It may take weeks or possibly months to adjust. It is important to keep trying – do not give up.
Should I use my CPAP during naps?
Yes, in order to prevent apnea episodes and obstruction of your upper airways, you should wear your CPAP every time you sleep and during naps.
What happens if I stop treatment?
Your sleep apnea symptoms will return. CPAP treatment is effective only when you use it.
Will the CPAP pressure ever need to be changed?
A significant weight loss or weight gain may change the pressure that you need. Further, as we age – our airways age, too, sometimes needing more pressure than originally prescribed. Check with your doctor about a repeat sleep study or using an auto-titrating machine to determine the right pressure for you.
I have a cold, should I use my CPAP?
If you can tolerate heat, humidity, and flow of air from your CPAP, you can use your CPAP. Also, you can try to elevate your head or sleep on your side to make it easier to breathe. If you cannot tolerate your CPAP due to nasal congestion and cough it is OK to take a break from your CPAP until you feel better.
Could I lose my driver’s license?
In some professions, if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may have your license restricted until you begin CPAP treatment – or use CPAP compliantly. Once you begin treatment successfully, you should be fine to drive. If, however, you do not agree to treatment, your license may be taken away. Specific approach varies by state, region, and company mandates.
I use my CPAP every night, but I’m still sleepy. What else can I do?
There are some people who are still sleepy even though they use their CPAP properly. The first step is to make sure that your equipment is working. You can take the CPAP machine back to the supplier to have it checked. Second step is to speak to your sleep apnea health professional or sleep doctor. Always talk to your sleep doctor about any sleep problems that you have as there are many reasons for sleepiness that might need investigation.
Do masks and tubing fit all machines universally?
Most unheated tubing will fit all machines. Most heated tubes do not, and you will need to use the heated tubing made from that machine’s manufacturer. Please reach out to us if questioning compatibility.
Masks universally connect to all tubes with a rubber end. Standard tubes have two rubber ends. Heated tubes have one rubber end. You should be able to use your same mask with any standard CPAP machine. (Note: some travel CPAPs require specific masks/tubing. Please reach out to us with questions.)
Will insurance cover the cost of the machine and mask?
Almost all insurances have established rules regarding CPAP coverage, and varies for every policy. Further, coverage is always subject to deductible and co-insurance. Check with your insurance company to see what is covered – or feel free to call us with questions.
What is that popping/gurgling sound coming from my tubing?
This issue could happen if you have water accumulating in your tubing due to condensation. Try to decrease the temperature difference in your room by either increasing your room temperature or increasing your tube temperature if you have a heated tubing. People also try to wrap their tubing with a cover/blanket/sheath to keep the heat inside or purchase a cozy cover.