Category Archives: CPAP Problems and Solutions

A four part series about common problems CPAP users experience and solutions to these situations.

Sleep Apnea & Women

There is one universal truth for every working woman: That alarm clock rings just way too early! Often, it seems, you can go through the day groggy, tired, and a little irritable at times. This appears to be normal, but when the third coffee cup just doesn’t seem to cut it many people are often left to wonder if this guise of “normal” really isn’t normal at all.

The simple answer, however, is nothing more than a suspicious maybe; The straight forward answer is a little more complicated than that.

For women especially, sleep apnea is hard to diagnose. Not only are symptoms often different than a man’s, but according to the National Sleep Foundation oftentimes sleep apnea for a woman is misdiagnosed. In fact, they have stated that 8-9 men per 1 woman were originally diagnosed, and while research is showing that gap is closing there are still women who are getting missed. Though these patients who fall through the gaps are facing more than just lack of sleep. Depression, complications in pregnancies and menopause, heart disease, diabetes, and even a shortened life span are all side effects of sleep apnea. So, what’s a lady to do?

Well, first, you can recognize the symptoms. As stated prior, sleep apnea is often quite different in women, so while a woman can have the traditional symptoms like snoring, often their symptoms are less pronounced. Symptoms to look for are:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Morning Headaches
  • Mood Disturbances
  • Restless Legs at Night
  • Depression
  • Lack of Energy
  • Light or even Subtle Snoring
  • Tiny Breaks in Breathing at Night

These symptoms can present themselves as many things, which is a leading reason for misdiagnosis,however, one should still remind their doctor not to rule out sleep apnea if you have one or multiple of these symptoms. sleep apnea is common with ¼ of women over 65 estimated to have this problem, and with 14% of them experiencing severe sleep apnea. Still, sleep apnea affects all ages so if you are having symptoms don’t wait to talk to your doctor.

So, you’re a woman and you think you might have sleep apnea. What now? In this case you would request a sleep study. If you’re short on time or can’t get your insurance to pay for one RespShop does offer our own sleep study for as low as $249. Sleep studies are crucial to understanding how severe your sleep apnea is, what type you have, and how to best combat it. If it is determined that you do, in fact, have sleep apnea you will be presented with a shiny new prescription and with this you can finally move on to your last step: Buying the right equipment!

What you need and what you should buy all depends on the aforementioned prescription. If you have central sleep apnea you will need a BiPAP/BiLevel machine. However, if you have the more common Obstructive sleep apnea a manual or Auto will be more appropriate, again depending on your prescription. However, if you have Obstructive sleep apnea and are a woman you are in luck.

The Airsense 10 Autoset for Her

Realizing the difference in Women’s sleep apnea, ResMed rose to the challenge of creating the first machines made specifically for women. This machine is one of the first such machines! The Airsense 10 Autoset for her uses a specialized algorithm that can detect an episode in a single breath. This allows the CPAP to adjust as needed to what you need that night! It also comes with an EPR feature- or Expiratory Pressure Relief- that allows the machine to adjust for comfortability! Other great features include the RAMP, Mask Fitting Feature, and Smart Start/Stop! Added to the ResMed AirView data sharing service, which is free with this machine, and you (and your doctor) will love how easy it is to get readings, adjust therapy, and get you sleeping like a baby again!

For Her Mask Line by ResMed

ResMed did not stop with the CPAP machine, they also completely revamped the mask sizing. Since sleep apnea was wrongly considered a “man’s disease” for many years sizing was, in most part, designed for men. Realizing the folly with this mindset ResMed got to work creating Full Face, Nasal, and Nasal pillow masks designed specifically for Women’s more petite facial features. Because of this, if you have ever had problem finding a mask that fit your face, we would highly recommend trying the For Her line.

CPAP Tips Explained: Part II

36995-ResMed-Climate-Line-Tubing-1-respshop-disthingOn Twitter, we’ve been using the hashtag #cpaptipoftheday to deliver helpful information to our followers. We’ve been posting these regularly over the last month and like last week, we’d like to expand on a couple of our tips here. Below, we’ve compiled a detailed summary of some of our most recent CPAP tips. We hope they’re helpful!

1. Remove The Water Chamber Before Filling It

For just about every CPAP machine, you’ll want to remove the water chamber from your humidifier before you fill it each night. While some machines allow you to pour water into the chamber without necessitating its removal from the humidifier, by doing so you run the risk of spilling water onto your machine. Since your machine is electric, this could damage the hardware. We don’t feel like the risk is worth it. Besides, if you take the chamber out to fill it with water you’ll get into the habit of washing it regularly.

2. If You’re Still Snoring, Something’s Going Wrong

This one should be intuitive. If you’re using a CPAP and you’re still snoring, your sleep apnea is probably not being treated properly. This doesn’t mean your therapy is ineffective or that your machine isn’t working: perhaps you need to make sure your mask is tight enough or that your pressure settings are correct. Either way, if you’re snoring, something needs to be changed going forward.

3. Nasal Masks Blend Lightweight and Comfortable

Nasal CPAP masks are more popular than nasal pillow and full face masks for a reason: they offer more durability than the former and tend to be lighter and more comfortable than the latter. If you breathe out of your nose and can withstand having a cushion on your nasal bridge, we’d recommend trying a nasal mask for optimal comfort and results.

4. Heated Breathing Tubes Augment Your Humidifier

Many of the newer CPAP machines — including the AirSense and S9 series from ResMed as well as 60 series machines from Respironics — come with heated breathing tubes. These tubes can be attached and used just as easily as a normal breathing tube but they provide warmer air. This helps to battle symptoms like dry mouth and nasal congestion and also permits a soothing breathing experience. These tubes are only compatible with specific machines and humidifiers so don’t buy a ClimateLine tube with a Fisher & Paykel machine!

5. RespShop Carries Supplies and Accessories For (Nearly) Every Mask and Machine

At RespShop, we have all of the supplies you could ever need for your CPAP therapy. If you need a replacement tube, filter, cushion, chinstrap, headgear, side cover, port screw, flip panel, water chamber, gecko pad, SD card, battery charger, or anything else, we have it. We carry replacement parts for all of our machines, masks, and humidifiers, making us the go-to source for all of your CPAP therapy needs. If you’re having trouble finding anything in our inventory, don’t hesitate to reach out to us over email ([email protected]) or over the phone (1-866-936-3754). Get in touch for help with your sleep apnea therapy today!

Four Questions To Ask Before Buying A CPAP

RespShop-37207-ResMed-AirSense-10-AutoSet-1Let’s say you have sleep apnea and that you’re about to buy a CPAP machine. For our purposes here, it doesn’t matter if you’re a first time buyer or if you’re on your fourth machine: there are a number of things you need to know before you buy a CPAP. There are several different types of machines and there are a number of factors you need to take into account to help you decide which machine is best for you. Buying a CPAP is one of the most important purchases you’ll make for your therapy, and to ensure that you get the right device, we’ve compiled five questions you should ask before making any decisions.

1. What is my budget? 

Like with any significant purchase you’ll need to budget for a machine. If insurance or Medicare covers the cost of your machine you may consider a broader selection of devices than if you’re paying out of pocket. Keep in mind that high price tags aren’t direct reflections of quality: while top of the line machines will offer more features, you might be perfectly satisfied with a simple machine and a humidifier, which can cost as little as $345 with the XT Fit.

2. Do I Want an Auto Machine? 

You can break machine types into two categories: automatic pressure machines and fixed pressure machines. Fixed pressure machines are the original CPAP: to operate these, you simply set your prescribed pressure on the device and you’ll receive air at that pressure throughout the night. Auto machines will adjust pressure depending on where you are in your respiratory cycle and they also have the capacity to detect when you are having an apnea. Many patients, particularly those that have a tough time staying asleep with their CPAP, prefer the automatic machine. If you feel similarly, you’ll want to make sure that you get an auto machine.

3. Should I Be Interested In A Travel CPAP?

There are a number of CPAP machines on the market geared towards patients who spend a lot of time on the road. These devices — which can come with or without a humidifier — tend to be smaller, lighter, and easier to pack. In general these machines have fewer bells and whistles than other models, but provide all of the essentials in a smaller package at a reduced price.

4. About That Humidifier… 

This ties into budgeting too but some patients forgo using a heated humidifier with their CPAP. We generally recommend that patients use heated humidification — it helps ease symptoms like dry mouth and nasal congestion while making it easier to breathe when you’re falling asleep — but some people get by without it. If you do want a humidifier, make sure you’re getting a model that can be cleaned easily. You may want to look into which machines offer humidifier water chambers that can be washed in a dishwasher, if you don’t like washing your equipment by hand each day.

Ask yourself — or better, your doctor — these quaternary questions and you can be sure you’re doing your due diligence when buying a machine. If you have any questions for us, be sure to reach out and get help for your sleep apnea today!

Sleep Better With These Five CPAP Tips

Probasics-zzz-PAP-auto-7541You don’t need to tell us how important CPAP therapy is for patients with sleep apnea. We know that our customers – and all patients – depend on CPAP for a proper night’s rest and that they’re always looking to get the most out of their equipment. We’re often asked for CPAP tips or ideas for maximizing therapy, and today, we thought we’d share a couple pieces of advice that we commonly dispense. Remember, if you have further questions, we’re always willing to help: just drop us a line in the comments or at our email, [email protected].

Tip 1: Avoid over-tightening your mask

This may sound intuitive, but a surprising number of patients are willing to clamp their mask on in an effort to enhance their seal. A quality seal is important, certainly, but if you need to tighten your mask to the point of discomfort, the problem is less with the seal than the mask itself.

Over-tightening a mask can lead to painful and unseemly facial blemishes and strap marks, imprints that won’t fade quickly if you tighten your mask every night. Worse, some patients with overly tight masks subconsciously remove their masks in the middle of the night and don’t realize what they’ve done until the following morning. You want a snug fit, but if you’re tightening your mask to the point that it hurts, you either need to re-adjust your mask, get a new cushion, or possibly find a mask that fits your face better.

Tip 2: If you want a light mask, go nasal pillow

Patients who wear them won’t be shocked: nasal pillow masks are the lightest CPAP mask type. They aren’t ideal for patients who toss and turn all night, but if you’re a relatively sound sleeper, you can wear a nasal pillow mask without worrying about disrupting the mask’s fit throughout the night. If you dislike bulky masks or hate the feeling of a cushion on your chin or nasal bridge, the nasal pillow mask is perfect for you.

Tip 3: Use distilled water in your heated humidifier

Distilled water keeps your humidifier clean and safe from mold growth and mineral deposits. Distilled water is pure water, which will keep your humidifier chamber hygienic and operating properly for as long as you own your machine. If distilled water is unavailable, we recommend using bottled water over tap water. This goes for cleaning too!

Tip 4: Hypoallergenic filters last longer

If you have a ResMed machine and don’t like changing your filters regularly, consider using hypoallergenic filters. These filters feature dual-sided fabric which makes them thicker and more durable. They’ll block debris far longer than a typical filter and with proper maintenance, can be used for months.

Tip 5: Climb the stair? No. Use the Ramp!

We talked about the ramp feature in depth a few months ago, but the bevy of positive responses we got after publishing warrant a re-mention.

Most CPAP machines – especially new ones – feature a pressure ramp that allows you to gradually increase the air pressure on your machine. This lets patients to fall asleep more naturally, without a high volume of air inflow from their machine as they drift off to sleep. For patients – especially ones with high machine pressure settings – falling asleep with a CPAP can be a challenge. With the ramp, you can drift off to sleep while the pressure is set on zero, and over the course of the night, the pressure will increase to your prescribed level.

If you’re not sure how to set up the ramp, be sure to check out our instructional video below:


Seattle CPAP Retailer

seattle_kerry_park-respshopWhen it comes time to purchase continuous positive airway pressure equipment, sleep apnea therapy patients have plenty of places where they can find the CPAP machines, masks, and supplies that they need. There are several online retailers that carry a vast selection of products, and for patients living in proximity to even a mid-sized city, a local outlet will usually be able to offer equipment as well. As many patients will attest, there are advantages to both shopping locally and browsing equipment online. For CPAP patients in Seattle, however, RespShop can offer the convenience of both, which is surely the best deal of all.

There are a number of reasons why many CPAP therapy patients prefer to purchase their supplies locally and in person. Local stores offer sizing guides that can help patients pick the right sized mask for them and they can also get a better feel for machines and accessory equipment – like the hose lift, for example – than they might if they’re new buyers purchasing over the internet. Many patients also like talking to CPAP specialists and technicians about their CPAP products in person.

There are also plenty of advantages to shopping for equipment and supplies online. Online retailers, including RespShop, have larger selections of CPAP masks and machines – and accompanying items like filters, headgears, chinstraps, etc. – than you’ll find anywhere in the world, and many online retailers boast a wider range of products than you’ll be able to find in sleep centers or other local carriers of CPAP equipment. We’re also able to offer lower prices than you’ll find if you shop in person.

For sleep apnea therapy patients living in the greater Seattle area, why not experience the best of both worlds?

Seattle CPAP

alki-respLocated in Redmond, Washington, RespShop has been the Pacific Northwest’s trusted online CPAP retailer for more than five years now. Over that time, we’ve helped tens of thousands of patients find the equipment they need to properly treat their sleep apnea therapy. Our knowledgeable sales and information team has reliably answered patients’ questions, and can help you set up your ramp, find the quietest CPAP machine, or pick the right mask for you and your budget. We’ve helped plenty of customers find what they were looking for when they dropped by, and we are also able to help with something else: saving money.

The primary advantage online retailers have over local outlets is that we’re able to offer the best prices on CPAP equipment. We have contracts with all of the major CPAP manufacturers – including ResMed, Phillips Respironics, DeVilbiss, Fisher & Paykel, APEX, Somnetics, and more – and because we buy in bulk, we get the best deals from manufacturers. These savings are then passed on to our customers! If you want the lowest prices from the best manufacturers, there’s no better place to buy in person than RespShop.

Of course, if you’re near Seattle, you can still get all of the in person help you’ll ever need without having to pay more for your equipment. Our office staff is trained to help customers find what they need at our office location in Redmond, and they enjoy actively helping patients treat their sleep apnea. From what we’ve noticed, our customers enjoy it too.

Take Fred as an example. Fred is a longtime CPAP user, and one day, he found one of our online listings and drove over to Redmond to buy a new CPAP mask. In the past, Fred had had some trouble getting the most out of his sleep apnea therapy. While using a CPAP had helped him feel more alert, he still thought that he wasn’t quite getting the results he needed.

When Fred came in, our sales team noticed that he sported a thick mustache. They asked what kind of mask Fred used, and he said nasal. Knowing that nasal masks are often ineffective for patients with mustaches – thick facial hair disrupts the seal above the upper lip, which significantly reduces air pressure – our team recommended a nasal pillow mask instead. The pillows rest on the nares and they are not impacted by facial hair. Following the advice of the service team, Fred purchased the AirFit P10 Nasal Pillows mask. The team helped him try it on, showed him how to optimally place it, and got him the right size. An appreciative Fred left happily and later sent us an email thanking the team for their assistance. Given how well our first interaction went, we’re confident that Fred will feel comfortable letting us help him with everything CPAP going forward.

RedmondWe hope that we can have similarly positive interactions with a number of other local customers. We know that CPAP therapy can be intimidating, especially at first. We have experience talking to new patients, who are not only worried about finding the right product, but also finding the best option for their budget. We can help you work through any initial fears, and we’ll never push a customer to buy anything.

With all of that in mind, we hope to see you in our office! We’re located at 17251 NE 67th Court in Redmond, WA, near the Whole Foods just off of Redmond Way. If you have a quick question about our location, or anything else CPAP related you can also reach out to us online or over the phone. We’re on social media at Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+, on chat at our website, over the phone at 1-866-936-3754 and can also be contacted by email at [email protected]. Don’t hesitate to get in touch for help with your sleep apnea therapy today!