We’re back with the second edition of the RespShop CPAP therapy and sleep apnea mailbag. Our first post
in the series was such a hit that we’ve decided to do these bi-weekly — and possibly a little more often than that if they prove popular enough. We received some great questions this week, the answers of which you’ll find below. Remember, if you want to have your question answered in the mailbag, just submit it to [email protected], and put ‘mailbag’ in the subject line. Let’s dive in!
Question 1: What is the functional difference between an auto machine and any other device? – Brett, Norfolk, VA
Great question Brett. The big difference between auto machines and traditional CPAP devices
is all about the pressure. A normal CPAP — also called a fixed pressure machine — operates at one pressure level only. You turn on your machine, and it will pump pressure at the prescribed setting all night long (though using the ramp feature
can delay the onset of pressure when you first fall asleep). Auto machines will adjust pressure depending on your needs throughout the night: it will operate at the lowest pressure possible until it detects the onset of an apnea, at which point it will quickly increase pressure to your prescribed level, until the apnea is taken care of. Many patients, particularly new CPAP users, find that the auto’s reduced pressure capabilities are a helpful comfort feature.
Question 2: What is a hypoallergenic filter? – Sandra, Guadalajara, Mexico
A hypoallergenic filter is just a more durable type of disposable filter. Most disposable filters are thin and only have one layer and level of protection: the hypoallergenic filter has two, which enables to last about twice as long as a typical filter. Like with any filter, it should still be disposed of once it shows visible signs of discoloration. These are not washable and at this point, they are only compatible with ResMed machines
. Hope that helps!
Question 3: Can you tell me whether I can take my CPAP on an airplane? – Boone, Boone, WV
Not only can you take it on the plane, but you should carry it with you! Federal regulations allow you to carry medical equipment on a plane without it counting against your limit of carry on items. Due to the turbulent nature of planes, and the less than fragile method of bag packing and unloading you’ll find among airport staffers, we strongly encourage you to protect your equipment and bring it in the cabin with you.
Question 4: I hear that nasal masks are the most recommended type of mask, but I can’t breathe out of my nose at night. Should I still use one? – Rhonel, Baltimore, MD
Fantastic question Rhonel. If you truly cannot breathe out of your nose at night, you’ll need to use a full face CPAP mask to derive any benefit from therapy. However, most new CPAP patients only discover that they can breathe through their nose at night once they start using CPAP. If you took a sleep test, ask your sleep physician about your nasal breathing capability: if you can breathe through your nose, I’d recommend using a nasal mask. If not, or if you’re uncomfortable leaving that to chance, the full face mask will work splendidly as well.
Question 5: Does RespShop offer a scholarship to college students? – Lisa, Elmwood, NE
We sure do! For high school seniors and college graduate and undergraduate students, we offer five scholarships: you can read more about our scholarship criteria here