Replacement of CPAP supplies is an important part of any CPAP routine. Most insurance companies as well as Medicare pay for regular replacement of CPAP masks, hoses, cushions, headgear and pillows. Regular replacement is key to continued comfort, compliance and cleanliness while on CPAP therapy.
Therapy compliance is critical to the continued health and well-being of sleep apnea sufferers. Studies have shown that people with untreated sleep apnea often experience increased weight gain, headaches, depression and impotency as well as health care costs twice that of treated patients. Treating sleep apnea can protect against cardiovascular events and lower hypertension and risk of stroke as well as helping with diabetes and decreasing blood pressure.
As a sufferer of obstructive sleep apnea, you are probably aware that untreated OSA can be life threatening and continual use of a CPAP machine is critical to your health and vitality. However, research shows that approximately 40%-60% of CPAP users quit therapy. The majority of CPAP users who stop using their machines cite discomfort as the reason. Of course, getting used to a CPAP machine takes some time, but once a CPAP user has become accustomed to therapy, discomfort is often attributed to not keeping equipment clean and not adhering to a regular replacement schedule.
Discomfort is often caused by dirty masks. Your mask comes into constant contact with the oils in your skin and can degrade quickly. The cushion on the mask is critical for comfort and to prevent leakages. It rests on your skin and any oils, lotions, astringents, cleaning solutions or bacteria that are on your face quickly break down the cushion materials, negating the seal.
Many CPAP users simply tighten the straps in an attempt to stop leakages. Unfortunately this can cause pressure point sores, facial discomfort and even bruising and red marks that don’t go away quickly. Tightening the mask is not the way to stop leakages on a mask that previously fit well. Replacing the mask is the only way to fix the leakage problem and regain a good seal.
Cleaning your equipment daily and disinfecting it once a week is crucial to keep bacteria and fungus from building up in your mask, hose and humidifier. But over time, even the most rigorous cleaning can no longer keep the buildup at bay. Research presented at the 2009 Associated Professional Sleep Societies meeting shows that after one year, no amount of cleaning can get rid of the bacterial buildup in a mask. Regular replacement is the only way to guarantee clean, healthy equipment.
Discomfort is also caused by ill-fitting equipment. Headgear loosens up over time, as do chin straps. Mask cushions loose their ability to seal to the face without pressure. When your CPAP equipment just doesn’t seem to do the job it used to, when you start to see an increase in mask leakage, apnea events and just aren’t as well-rested anymore, consider the last time you replaced your equipment and be sure to order more.