Thanks to popular demand, we’re back with another set of our famous CPAP FAQ’s. We get calls and emails from customers all the time, and we like to share the common questions and complaints we hear back from CPAP patients on our blog. CPAP works best when patients have as much information as possible, and with that in mind, we’re sharing some of the more common questions we’ve received in recent weeks.
What is your lightest nasal CPAP mask?
We have two new masks that are basically the same weight. The AirFit N10 and AirFit N10 for Her from ResMed weigh less than a pound each, and then the Pico from Respironics is even lighter than that. Light masks are ideal for patients, especially people who dislike having any weight on their face while they’re trying to fall asleep.
I’ve breathed through my mouth at night my whole life: do I need a full face mask?
You might, but probably not. Most people mistakenly believe that they can’t breathe through their nose at night, but in many cases, the only reason they couldn’t do so was because they had untreated sleep apnea! Even if you’ve always opened your mouth, you can still probably breathe through your nose with a CPAP mask on. Be sure to ask your physician if you’ll be able to do so, as nasal and nasal pillow masks tend to be more comfortable than full face masks.
Would you ever recommend a full face mask?
In some circumstances. As we mentioned above, there are some people who simply can’ t breathe through their nose, or can’t breathe through their nose well. For those people, the full face mask is the only option for effective therapy. Additionally, if you wear facial hair you’ll have better luck maintaining a quality seal than if you use a nasal or nasal pillow.
What’s a VPAP?
A VPAP is ResMed’s version of Respironics’s BiPAP; it’s just a bi-level machine.
What’s a bi-level machine?
A bi-level is a slightly different type of machine than a traditional CPAP. CPAP stands for ‘continuous positive airway pressure,’ and the term describes a machine that blows positive airway pressure during inhalation.
A bi-level device adds pressure for both inhalation and exhalation. It’s a slightly different function and these machines are primarily intended for patients with central sleep apnea, as opposed to the more common obstructive sleep apnea (although patients with severe sleep apnea may be prescribed a bi-level in some cases). In general, the machines are not interchangeable and there is little crossover between people who need a CPAP and patients who require a bi-level.
Do I need a humidifier?
No, the humidifier is strictly a comfort feature. Most patients prefer to use humidifiers, as they make inhalation smoother and can reduce some of the undesirable affects of CPAP therapy, but they are not necessary. Our CPAP expert Todd Ramsey put together this useful video about humidifiers, if you want more information.
If I have a heated humidifier, do I need a heated breathing tube?
Great question. No, you don’t, but most patients prefer to use them for two reasons. First, it helps keep the air from the humidifier warm as it travels up the tube. More importantly though, the heated tube helps eliminate rainout, which occurs when condensed water in the tube seeps into the mask. Here’s Todd again talking about rainout:
We want to thank all of our customers for their good questions this week. If there’s anything you’d like to know, please get in touch with us. We’re available on social media, as well as at our email — [email protected] — or over the phone, at 866-936-3754.