*Source: DME MACs’ Determination of Reasonable and Necessary Replacement of CPAP Supplies: https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is determined by pauses in breathing while you sleep. There are three types of sleep apnea – obstructive, central and mixed. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common and is characterized by a physical blockage of your airway or a collapsing of the airway during sleep. Central sleep apnea (CSA) is less common and harder to diagnose as there is no physical blockage as with OSA, but due to a lapse in breathing signals from the brain. Mixed is characterized by a blend of both OSA and CSA.
The best way to determine if you have sleep apnea is to have a sleep study, either in a sleep clinic or through a home-based test. The study, called a polysomnography, determines if you are having apneic breathing events and how often they are occurring. Discuss your testing options with your primary care physician or sleep specialist if you feel you may be having symptoms of sleep apnea, which can include extremely loud snoring, waking up short of breath, ongoing and excessive sleepiness during the day, and morning headaches.
Once you are diagnosed with either obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or another sleep-related breathing disorder, you will most likely be prescribed Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) as a management therapy. PAP therapy consists of a device and a mask interface that streams air into your airway while you sleep. This prevents the airway from collapsing, as is the signature of OSA. These collapses are called arousals, and they keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. Keeping the airway open using CPAP allows you to breathe more naturally, with less arousals, which results in a more rested feeling the next day.
CPAP as an acronym for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, meaning there is one constant stream of air being administered throughout the therapy. BIPAP is also sometimes called Bi-level, and this type of machine uses two different pressures, one higher pressure on an inhale breath, and then a lower pressure to allow for an easier exhale. BIPAP therapy is prescribed to someone with OSA if they tried and could not tolerate the CPAP machine, or for people that have additional diagnoses that need a different type of therapy.
With your PAP therapy, you have a choice of interface or mask to use. You can pick any of the styles based on your comfort preference, sleeping habits and recommendations from your doctor. Your options include a full face mask, a nasal mask or combination oral and nasal mask. A full face mask covers both your nose and your mouth completely. There are two types of nasal masks: one that covers your nose completely, or a cannula-style that rests on your nostrils. The combination-style mask is not as common, but usually features a cannula-style nasal interface plus a cushion that covers the mouth. All of the manufacturers of PAP supplies produce a few options in any of these three styles, and Verus carries all of them. Call us at 800-487-5566 to talk to one of our product specialists who can recommend an option for you to try.
Sources for the above information and references for you to learn more about sleep apnea can be found: