Destiny; are you destined to succeed or fail on CPAP? Destiny is not a chance, it’s a choice and you are in control. Each decision you make is a choice that shapes your destiny. How do you know if you made the right choice? You must be well informed and understand your options before you make your decision. Ask questions, you have a voice, use it!
Do you want to be in control of your life? Of course you do. As a sleep apnea patient, do you want to be in control of your sleep health and CPAP therapy? Of course you do! No one cares more about your life and health than you. Why would you let someone else choose your mask, machine or humidifier?
When you are sleep deprived, you can easily fall in to the trap of letting others make decisions for you by simply receiving the equipment they give to you. CPAP adjustment is very challenging; so is choosing the right tools for your therapy. YOU must take responsibility to choose what works best for you. Destiny is not a chance, so don’t take chances! Make educated choices!
Do your own research before blindly accepting what is given.
As you begin CPAP therapy, it helps to have a positive attitude. Is it easy for you to accept change, can you adapt? Don’t feel overwhelmed at the thought of having to learn about the prescribed equipment for your sleep apnea therapy. It’s really quite simple, as easy as ABC … 1-2-3.
AutoCPAP – auto titrating continuous positive airway pressure
Bilevel – bi level meaning 2 distinct pressures set, one for inhalation, one for exhalation
CPAP – continuous positive airway pressure, the most common flow generator prescribed
BEFORE you accept your equipment, use your voice and ask questions about the prescribed equipment. The following questions are offered as a guideline as you begin your education process.
Ease of use should be a number one consideration when choosing your cpap machine, mask and humidifier. Sleep is an activity that most of us take for granted until we get too much or not enough! If sleep apnea is a complication; peaceful, restorative sleep is our goal. We don’t need complicated equipment to add anxiety or negate our goal of quality sleep.
So far, all you know is of your experience in the sleep lab. You may have felt overwhelmed by wearing a mask; and anxiety ridden as you tried to sleep with the constant flow of air being delivered to you. You may have felt that your sleep was disrupted due to the mask discomfort or machine delivered air pressure, so how is this new therapy going to result in that goal of peaceful, restorative sleep?
Your healthcare team is comprised of your sleep doctor, your CPAP equipment provider and of course YOU are the most important part of this team. It’s up to you to report your successes as well as your challenges regarding your prescribed CPAP therapy. You are not alone; your healthcare team is there for you. The best way to learn is by asking questions. To get you started, I offer the following suggestions:
If you are able to fall asleep easily, but find that you are waking up during the night, one cause may be transitioning as you change your sleeping position during the night. This might cause an awakening; consciously or unconsciously raising your level of sleep to a lighter stage. You may be more sensitive to the delivered air pressure and this may be when you want to pull off the mask. You should be aware of a device on the market that can respond to these waking moments and allow you to easily fall back to sleep. The feature is called SensAwake click here to learn more. Other manufacturers offer expiratory pressure relief, ask your home healthcare team about this feature.
The mask I wore in the sleep lab was fitted for me, but hurts my face at home, why is that?
What happens in sleep lab titration and mask choice – may not be the same for you at home. The sleep lab only has a short time to titrate or determine the optimal machine pressure to eliminate your sleep apnea events. Therefore, some sleep labs may size down to assure less chance of mask leak. Since you were not accustomed to wearing any mask on your face, you may not have realized that the mask you wore felt tight. So when you visit with your healthcare team, don’t assume the mask you used in the sleep lab is the best choice for you face! Try on as many masks as you can to determine which one feels comfortable. Consider choosing masks that are packaged with all 3 cushion sizes which makes fit assurance easier for you.
In summary, my take home message for you is: be a prepared patient; learn all you can about your sleep apnea condition and the equipment available to you. Be proactive; don’t sit back and wait for others to help you when challenges arise. Use your voice, ask questions, and take responsibility to choose what works best for you. Destiny is not a chance, so don’t take chances! Make educated choices!