If you think you have sleep apnea, you shouldn’t wait to get that checked out. Sleep apnea can lead to much more serious health problems, such as increasing your risk for cardiovascular problems like heart disease or stroke. Sleep apnea also interrupts your quality of sleep, which means that you may find yourself falling asleep at inopportune times and you may be risking both your safety and that of others around you on the road. Luckily, there’s an easy way to treat your sleep apnea, in the form of CPAP machines. You can use a CPAP mask pillow, CPAP nasal masks, and full face masks, depending on your comfort level and what feels best to you. Using a CPAP machine regularly is a good way to keep on top of your health and forestall more serious health issues moving forward. Used CPAP machines can be a good option for those who are looking for an inexpensive option.
So What Exactly Am I At Risk For With Sleep Apnea?
Around 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea and about 2-4% of Americans have sleep apnea that is not yet diagnosed. This can be dangerous, as those who have sleep apnea that’s not diagnosed and left untreated have a four times greater risk of stroke as those who are seeking treatment. Furthermore, they’re three times more likely to have heart disease and the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research reports that almost 40,000 deaths happen annually due to cardiovascular problems that are related in some way to sleep apnea.
Your risk of experiencing high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain, and acid reflux are also higher with sleep apnea. If you have asthma, you also have about a 40% higher chance for sleep apnea than if you’re asthma-free. Men are also almost twice as likely to have sleep apnea as women.
How Does a CPAP Machine Work?
During an average night’s sleep, someone with obstructive sleep apnea may have around 60 apneas per hour, but that number can range from anywhere from five apneas to 100 per hour! A CPAP (short for continuous positive airway pressure) machine blows pressurized air through your airway to keep your throat from collapsing and obstructing your airway. It’s a gentle pressure, but consistent.
CPAP machines can also come with a humidifier — often preferred by patients who over the age of 60 — to keep your airway from drying out, which can be uncomfortable and obstruct sleep. The CPAP motor siphons the air at room temperature and pressurizes it, delivering it through a CPAP hose, into the CPAP mask, which you wear as you sleep. The preferences for nasal pillows vs. CPAP masks is about half and half — you should test out both and see what works best for you.
If you’re looking at older models — say you’re browsing a used CPAP machines — some of the newer features may not be included, but they may be able to be modified or upgraded in some way.
For best results — and to continue receiving insurance assistance — you need to be using your CPAP machine for a minimum of 70% over a 30-day period. That means at least four hours per night.
Where Can I Find a CPAP Machine?
Your doctor may be able to offer suggestions for where to find a new CPAP machine or you may be issued one. If you’re looking for an inexpensive option, used CPAP machines that are refurbished — or even brand new and just opened — are available from a number of online outlets. When shopping for used CPAP machines, make sure they’re certified and that you’re purchasing them from a reliable vendor. Check to see if they offer a warranty and what comes with the machine.
Don’t ignore your sleep apnea. In the long run, doing so can prove to have negative effects on your overall health. Many people who start with CPAP machines see positive effects after just a few weeks of using them.