The advice that doctors give about the use of CPAP machines is always the same: simply persevere. Getting used to using them is not an easy task and they can certainly be uncomfortable in the beginning. Still, with a little patience, most people find that these simple devices change their lives in a few short weeks, leaving them free to sleep well for perhaps the first time in years, eliminating the chronic fatigue and headaches that often accompany the disorder.
Once you are accustomed to the use of CPAP machines, don’t just remain passive in their use. There are ways to ensure that you are getting the best from their use. As a patient it is your responsibility to maintain and take care of your device.
You should clean the mask and tubing every day. This will remove bacteria. Most manufacturers offer wipes or sprays specifically designed for the cleaning of CPAP equipment, but warm water will do just as well. Every few days, perhaps twice a week, carry out a deeper clean using warm water and a little non-toxic detergent, be sure to rinse it very thoroughly to remove any residues. This deep clean is your chance to have a good look at the general condition of your machine, the mask and the tube. Look for any leaks and replace any equipment which has been damaged.
Replace equipment regularly. Your mask and tubing will not normally last more than 6 months, so look to replace it between 2 and 4 times each year. Don’t just be passive and buy the same mask you previously used if you had problems with it. If it was uncomfortable in any way, look for an alternative, you have nothing to lose. Your doctor or the CPAP machine manufacturer will be able to suggest alternatives which my work for you. chin straps for cpap
Don’t always just assume that the equipment is working perfectly. The pressure of air displayed on the screen may not be what is actually being blown. Using a manometer check the pressure every now and then and if it isn’t what it should be, you may be losing out on the efficacy of the treatment. You should have the machine regularly serviced anyway, but take it to the manufacturer if it isn’t delivered the right pressure.
Finally, if you feel that your therapy is working less effectively than before, find out why. Check the machine and talk to your doctor.