Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder in which the person experiences repeated and brief breathing pauses for 10 seconds or more while sleeping during the night. These temporary respiratory events and repetitive pauses can prevent your brain and the rest of the body from getting enough oxygen which can be potentially dangerous and can even lead to brain damage.
There are two types of sleep apnea conditions – obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. While central sleep apnea is rare, obstructive sleep apnea is the more common of the two and is commonly associated with cardiovascular complications and risks. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, abnormal heartbeats, heart failure, diabetes, mood disturbances including depression and anxiety, Worsening of ADHD, Headaches, etc.
CPAP machine is a promising device to treat sleep apnea
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea recently or have been struggling with sleep apnea for a long time, you may benefit greatly from the modern and highly advanced CPAP Machine. It is the most commonly prescribed device to reduce breathing pauses at night and treat sleep apnea. CPAP machines work by generating positive airway pressure through your nose which helps prevent interruptions in breathing while you are asleep at night. Typically, you will have to wear a CPAP mask over your nose and mouth before sleeping. The mask will help deliver a consistent flow of oxygenated air into your airways throughout the night thus ensuring sound sleep.
By providing continuous positive Airway Pressure to sleep apnea patients, a CPAP machine can help reduce the number of respiratory events and control breathlessness that occurs during sleep. Since it helps restore your normal sleep, the urge to sleep during the daytime gets reduced.
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Due to all the above reasons, the CPAP machine typically plays a very important role in the life of sleep apnea patients and must be cared for properly. Below are a few tips for extending the life of your CPAP machine.
1. Clean your CPAP device every morning
To make the most of your CPAP machine, it is important to clean your CPAP equipment regularly. It is advisable to clean the CPAP machine every morning to ensure the best results and performance. While cleaning the machine, start with dissembling the parts of the machine including mask, air tubing, humidifier tub, filter, etc. While cleaning every part thoroughly is essential, pay special attention to cleaning your CPAP mask cushion. This is because when you use your CPAP night after night, germs, grease, dead skin cells from your face circulate through the machine and gather onto the mask. Besides this, the mask tends to absorb oils from the hair and the face. If not cleaned or eliminated, they can cultivate mold or bacteria which can deteriorate the performance of the device. Also, when not cleaned properly, the allergens can get introduced to your lungs and make you sick.
2. Gather the cleaning equipment in one place
When you are about to begin the cleaning of your CPAP machine, gather all the right essential supplies in one place to clean your equipment effortlessly and make the optimum use of your time. The supplies you’ll need to clean your CPAP machine and its parts are a small sink/basin or tub, warm water, a soft and clean towel or cloth, and mild soap. Usually, antibacterial soaps are more preferred to clean the CPAP device and its parts.
3. Refrain from using Harsh and strong chemicals
While cleaning your CPAP equipment daily is essential for optimal functioning, refrain from using harsh chemicals and cleaners such as bleach, ammonia, chlorine, and alcohol-based cleaners to clean your CPAP machine as they can reduce the effectiveness of your machine and do more harm than good. In addition, they can also leave harmful residues behind which when inhaled through the nose can irritate your lungs and make you sick. So only use certified CPAP cleaning devices and mild yet powerful soaps and detergents to prevent damage to your CPAP device.
4. Do read the manual instructions for cleaning and maintaining the device
While we have advised some useful tips to be followed to clean your CPAP machine effectively, it is advisable to go through the manual instructions on your CPAP machine carefully before starting the cleaning process to ensure the safety of your device. This is because each CPAP device may have slightly different features and might need specific cleaning solutions and methods. However, always start with unplugging your CPAP machine from the power source. After this, disassemble all the parts carefully Including the CPAP tube and hose, the humidifier tub, the water chamber, the CPAP filter, and the mask. When you take off the mask it will have three parts to clean: namely headgear, cushion, and the mask frame.
Manufacturers also advise cleaning the CPAP device with soap and warm water. After cleaning and rinsing, they recommend drying the parts using a clean and soft cloth. However, always remember the CPAP machine is a delicate device. So rinse the parts very gently to remove the trapped oils, dirt, and hair, and do not place any additional force while rubbing.
5. Allow the CPAP parts to dry properly and use a clean cloth to dry
After rinsing and cleaning the CPAP device parts well with water, allow ample amount of time for drying, and do not start assembling the parts immediately as any form of moisture within the CPAP parts can form mould to grow. Always dry the parts on a clean cloth or paper towel for roughly an hour before assembling them again.
6. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight
CPAP is a delicate and intricately designed device for treating sleep apnea. Exposure to harmful sun rays can damage the parts of the machine. The warmth of the sunlight is not good for the machine and can contribute to bacterial growth. So make sure the CPAP machine and its parts do not come in contact with direct sunlight whether for drying purposes or otherwise. Always air dry the washed components to keep them functioning for long.
7. Consider buying an automatic CPAP cleaner
If you think disassembling the machine parts daily morning to clean the dirt and oils off the mask is a challenging thing then don’t fret. Nowadays automatic CPAP cleaner machines are available in the market to clean and sanitize CPAP machines and masks in an easy, professional and effective manner. If you do not find adequate time to give your machine a complete and thorough wash by disassembling and cleaning each piece by hand, investing in a CPAP cleaner and sanitizer might be your best bet. Not only do they clean effectively but some of these devices also use activated oxygen since it is a fast-acting and effective method for killing bacteria. Thus they help keep your CPAP items free from mold and bacteria and enable optimum functioning and longer life.
CPAP machine is a highly useful device that can improve the quality of life of sleep apnea patients and hence it deserves the best care. Following tips can significantly extend the life of your device and improve its performance.