The first step was to be officially diagnosed as having sleep apnea. The second, listening to your doctor’s recommendation to get a CPAP machine to help you sleep better. And that takes us to the third and current step, determining how best to clean and care for your machine so that it gives you great service for a long time. The machine itself is quite small so you might not imagine the number of parts that require your attention. Never fret, keep reading for the best advice.
Benefits Of The CPAP Machine
You might chalk up the benefits of this machine to better sleep. But it’s so much more than that. With good quality and an increased quantity of sleep, your alertness will increase. Your level of wakefulness will translate into getting more personal and job-related tasks accomplished faster and more easily.
Exhaustion is dangerous especially if you operate a vehicle or heavy machinery on a day-to-day- basis. Blurry vision, double vision, even hallucinations can lead to accidents that may injure yourself and others.
In addition to increased safety, a research study conducted ten years ago was the first to show the correlation between disorders like sleep apnea and dementia. The use of your equipment can delay the onset and severity of cognitive deterioration. Further research highlights the link between the treatment of sleep apnea with a CPAP machine and recovery of sexual function in men.
How To Care For Your Equipment
Now that you’re aware of the greater benefits your CPAP machine can bring, you will hopefully be more inclined to be meticulous in its upkeep. Not only should individual components be cleaned but intermittently replaced.
Pay attention to the face mask especially as it concerns leakage of air. If you notice this, it is time to change the mask. Trying a different style of mask could provide a better fit but may also be more comfortable. Shop around. Even if you notice no leaks and find it comfortable to wear, aim to replace it every three months. Also, check the velcro straps of the mask. These should be changed after six months for maintenance of the quality and cleanliness of the material
Inspect the filters for any physical damage or changes in color. If you notice a yellow discoloration of what should be a white CPAP filter, swap it out. The filter is important to remove impurities from the air that is delivered to your nose and mouth and subsequently is inhaled into the body. Utmost care should be taken to ensure that no dust or contaminants get into your lungs. Newer CPAP models come outfitted with a paper filter that needs changing biweekly. Older models sport a foam filter that should be replaced every six months.
The same consideration should be given to the machine’s tubes. These will become damaged over time with cracks and breaks. This allows for leakage but also an easier build-up of dust and grime. It is highly suggested that every three months these be changed out.
If your machine comes with a humidifier chamber, take special care to use distilled water. Replace the water daily and clean the chamber monthly. After six months of use, it will be time for a new humidifier. Ensure this chamber works efficiently as increased humidity levels can make your sleep problems worse. An excessively moist environment can promote the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria. Guard against this at all costs.
Consequences Of A Poorly Maintained Machine
The negative effects can be as mild as dry mouth or feelings of nasal congestion. Rashes and pressure sores can occur with an ill-fitting face mask. Getting into a more serious category, upper respiratory tract infections and lung infections will result if the different components of the machine are not sanitized effectively. Soap and water are fine to use as cleaning agents for most machines but always follow the cleaning guides of the manufacturer. In more severe cases heart problems like hypertension, and arrhythmias have occurred with the use of defective machines.
Be on guard when using your CPAP machine. This information should not scare you or dissuade you from purchasing and using the machine. Quite oppositely, it should encourage you as you now know how to maintain all the parts of the equipment.
A clean, smoothly running machine with a well-fitted mask will be the answer to your sleep apnea. Being jolted awake, in severe cases, hundreds of times per night will not only be exhausting but get very frustrating. Combat both of these. Take the best care of your machine possible and marvel at the overall increase in the quality of your life.