Diagnosed with sleep apnea? Getting started on CPAP therapy

Getting started on CPAP therapy

You’ve completed your sleep apnea test and have your diagnosis: obstructive sleep apnea. It’s time to begin your CPAP therapy – and the first step is to obtain CPAP equipment. But how can you find a reputable medical equipment supplier, and how do you know what to look for? We’ve created a comprehensive CPAP therapy eBook to answer the most popular questions. Download the free eBook and use this companion post to guide you through starting your CPAP therapy.

What you need to know before starting CPAP

Once you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you’ll receive a prescription from a doctor in order to acquire a CPAP machine and start therapy. The prescription will list a pressure setting, which is determined by the prescribing physician based on the results of your sleep study. Prescriptions are usually good for life.

Check out the video below to see how easy it is to start CPAP therapy:

“Every time I have a question, they are quick to answer, and they work with supplies and they work with my insurance.”

Finding and visiting a CPAP store

Online deals might make it tempting to buy your CPAP machine online, but you should consider visiting a medical supply store to talk get face time with a sleep specialist. Your prescription will include specific settings for your CPAP machine, so they’ll help you set it up and recommend a mask based on your sleep style and facial features. You can use our store locator to find a medical supply store near you.

The biggest benefit of visiting a brick-and-mortar location is to ensure you get the proper fit for your mask. You’ll also build a relationship with your equipment supplier that can be crucial if you struggle to adjust to therapy or it’s time to order replacement parts.

What to ask when you get there

Once you’re referred to a medical equipment supplier, here are some items to cover:

  • Go over your CPAP prescription and doctor recommendations together
  • Discuss mask types, your sleep style and any allergies
  • Tell them what you notice helps and hurts your sleep
  • Ask about their CPAP supply replacement program and how those work with your insurance coverage

What does the equipment supplier take care of?

This will vary based on the supplier you choose, but page 18 of the eBook will help you determine what’s covered and what services are offered. Some common questions include:

  • Are you using your machine as prescribed?
  • Is the equipment functioning properly?
  • Are you having issues like claustrophobia or discomfort?
  • Have you noticed an improvement in your sleep quality?
  • How is your attitude and mood?
  • Has your quality of life improved?

Types of masks

Our guide for how to start CPAP therapy includes more details about equipment and accessories, but get started with these useful pointers.

Finding the right mask and machine is essential to your CPAP treatment – after all, if your mask is uncomfortable or your machine is loud and clunky, you’ll be less likely to use them. This is why ensuring your equipment provider has a trial or return policy is so important. You may not know what works for you until you’ve tried it.

You may have a mask prescribed to you, or your prescription might indicate that it’s up to you to choose the mask you prefer. The most common types of CPAP masks include:

  • Nasal pillows masks
  • Nasal masks
  • Full face masks

Your machine type will be prescribed to you based on your specific needs. There are three types of PAP machines:

  • One pressure (CPAP)
  • Auto-adjusting pressure (APAP)
  • Two air pressures (Bilevel)

CPAP machine features to consider

The right mask and the right CPAP machine work in conjunction to best fit your needs. Machines like the AirSense 10 models are high-tech, portable, and quiet. What features do you value?

  • Smart data: Data recording is useful for seeing areas where your equipment – and your sleep quality – can improve. AirSense 10 works with myAir™ app to track episodes of snoring or apnea, leak rates, pressure changes, and more.
  • Ramp-up: With the AirSense 10 AutoRamp™, the machine starts at a low pressure and slowly increases it to your prescribed level, giving you time to adjust to higher pressures – or to fall asleep before your machine reaches its highest pressure.
  • Humidification: the AirSense 10 built-in humidifier and Climate Control Auto setting provide breathing comfort and keep your nose and mouth from drying out. This lowers your chances of side effects related to dryness, and is an essential feature for most CPAP users.
  • Compact size: Most of us travel at least some of the time, whether visiting family for the holidays or taking weekend trips. Portable, lightweight machines like AirMini Travel CPAP are becoming more and more common, and are just as powerful as bigger machines thanks to modern technology.

What happens after you purchase your CPAP machine?

At medical supply stores, technicians will be able to fit your mask and calibrate your machine to the proper pressure. The next step is simply to try it out! If you’re not comfortable for any reason, don’t be shy about reaching out to your medical equipment supplier, who can help you resolve the problem.

Make sure to get set up with myAir™, our app that acts as an online support program. It will automatically send data from your machine to your computer or mobile phone in the form of a sleep score. Connecting with myAir is quick and easy – you can have your data in hand from your very first night.

Once you’ve finalized your choice and are all set up, download our CPAP therapy guide to keep important sleep apnea tips at your fingertips. And learn how to find replacement CPAP parts and other supplies you need. We wish you the best with your CPAP machine!

This blog post contains general information about medical conditions and potential treatments. It is not medical advice. If you have any medical questions, please consult your doctor.

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