Sleep apnea affects nearly 22 million people across the country, yet it goes as one of the most un-talked about conditions. If you are one of the millions of people who require a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine, it is crucial to keep your machinery clean.
Sleep Apnea Facts
With sleep apnea affecting so many people across the U.S., it comes as no surprise that 88% of people go undiagnosed. It is essential to understand the three distinct types of sleep apnea to receive the right treatment.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The most common type occurs when the throat muscles which support the soft palate, tonsils, tongue, and uvula relax during sleep. This causes your airway to contract during normal breathing. Your brain senses this and wakes the body to reopen the airway. Many do not notice, but as it can happen between five and 30 times an hour, it obstructs regular sleep patterns.
Central Sleep Apnea
Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, the central form occurs when the brain does not tell your breathing muscles to work. When this happens, you are unable to breathe until your brain essentially restarts. Shortness of breath upon waking is common and this form also obstructs regular sleep patterns.
Complex Sleep Apnea
The rarest form of the condition is the combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
CPAPs are complicated machines, which means that many new users are unable to process all the information they receive at once. Here Affordable Medical Supply provides a comprehensive guide on why and how to clean your CPAP machine.
Dangers Of A Dirty CPAP
For several hours a night, you are continuously breathing recirculated air from the machine. Think about a mall or a casino but strapped directly to your face. You should only use distilled water in your machine. While the air is continuously being filtered, it will eventually become dirty. This can lead to:
- Exposure to bacteria and mold
- Heightened allergy symptoms
- Higher risk of sinus infections
- Unpleasant odor
- Equipment malfunction
Most doctors and equipment providers recommend wiping down your mask and tubing daily to prevent build-up. Cleaning out the chamber itself is also crucial to prevent bacteria. While you are sick, it is vital to clean your machine more often. Also, to receive the best benefits from your CPAP machine, you should check with the manufacturer or supplier to see how often you should replace the parts.
A general rule of thumb is to change out the cushions once a month and the mask every three to six months.
Cleaning Your CPAP
Thoroughly cleaning your machine is easy and should not be overthought. One major tip is to use unscented, pure products to prevent irritation.
What You Need
- All CPAP Equipment
- Cotton or microfiber cloth
- Clean, warm water
- Antibacterial soap
- Cotton or microfiber towel
- Vinegar (optional)
Steps For Cleaning
- Unplug and take apart your machine.
- Wet your cloth with warm water and wipe the outside of all equipment.
- Add soap and optional vinegar to a sink full of warm water and soak your mask, tubing, and connectors for 30 minutes.
- Completely dry on a towel.
- Clean the water chamber with warm water and soap.
- Review manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean your machine’s filter. (Not all have them.)
- Reassemble all parts only when completely dry.
- Turn on the machine to check for any air leaks.
Without the proper care of your CPAP machine, you run the risk of a multitude of sicknesses. Following these simple tips and steps allows you to combat that risk and ensure your equipment is running correctly. If you have questions about your machine, you should always contact your medical supply company. Never hesitate to call Affordable Medical Supply toll free at 1-866-484-7599.