After you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, your doctor probably prescribed a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine to help you sleep at night. This machine sends a gentle stream of air through your airways to keep them open while you sleep. But there isn’t just one single type of CPAP machine. You need to choose masks, tubes, the actual machine, as well as any upgrades you can optionally add. So how do you find the one that’s perfect for you? Below are five steps to help you select the right one:
- Get a prescription: The first thing you need to do is get a prescription. This means being tested and diagnosed with sleep apnea by a medical professional. This typically involves a medical exam and most likely a sleep test. Your prescription will indicate the type of sleep device – such as a CPAP – that you need, as well as the proper pressure level for you.
- Shop around: While you may be inclined to get your CPAP from the clinic where you had your sleep test, your best bet is to shop around. But before you start, ask your insurance company about reimbursement. Then, talk to different suppliers about their prices, features, and options. If searching online, look for a company based in Canada and make sure they ask for your prescription.
- Find the right mask: After you have your prescription and have purchased your machine with the correct pressure, you need to find a mask that fits both properly and comfortably. You may need to try different brands and styles until you find the one you like. You could want several masks so that you can rotate among them to minimize pressure and irritation.
- The little extras: Some users are content with a basic CPAP while others prefer to have some extras. These can include a humidifier to alleviate dryness, battery backup, a device to reduce condensation in the tubes, or hose extensions for greater mobility. Ask your insurance company in case you can be reimbursed, but if not, ask vendors if they have deals or promotions. It could make your CPAP experience that much better.
- PAP therapy types: Even with the best CPAP, you just may not be able to find it comfortable enough to use. Instead, you may need to look into other machines such as APAP or BiPap to get the help you need.