While education and support may not improve the quality and comfort of your therapy, they can greatly improve the way you feel about your therapy and improve your commitment to sticking with it. While some people adjust immediately to sleeping with positive airway pressure, many find the change difficult. Some give up and allow a serious health problem to worsen.
According to a large CPAP manufacturer - CPAP Therapy can be more comfortable and more effective when you:
• Consider the goal of therapy. It's simple. You want to stop the effects of your sleep apnea and allow yourself to get healthy sleep. Think about the short term goals like improved quality of sleep for you and even your partner. They no longer have to listen to the snoring and lay awake worried when you are going to take your next breath. Also think about the long term goals like decreased risk of stroke, lower blood pressure and improved cardiovascular health.
• Use your therapy whenever you sleep. Generally speaking, the more you use therapy, the more you will achieve in managing your sleep apnea. o If you are only wearing your therapy 50% of your sleep time, you are only going to feel 50% of the benefits. That means using your equipment, even when you take a nap.
• Make sure that your mask is comfortable and there are no leaks between your face and the mask. Your therapist can help you pick the best mask for your individual case. If the first mask doesn’t work for you, you can always ask to try alternatives to achieve a better fit. o Don’t feel that you need to suffer through with redness or irritation, there are lots of options available.
• Many patients find that using heated humidification with their CPAP makes their therapy much more comfortable. Ask us about the merits of humidification, particularly if your mouth feels dry during the night, you experience nasal congestion or you breathe through your mouth while you sleep. Insufficient humidification can result in poor compliance. It is also important to remember that your attitude toward your therapy will affect your out- come in how successful you are.
Let’s think about your goals again: Are you doing this simply because you’re tired of your spouse nagging you about your snoring? Or are you starting your therapy because you know what a difference it can make not only on your day to day rest and energy but also your health over the long term?
Try to maintain a positive attitude toward your therapy – even if you struggle with it initially. Maintaining a positive and open outlook will bring you success in your therapy journey. CPAP support and service doesn’t end when you leave the store – your supplier should be there for support and service after the sale.
The more information you can provide your therapist about how you are doing with your therapy and what your challenges are the better they will be able to work with you to achieve success. Karen Hamilton-McNutt is a Registered Respiratory Therapist and Director of Operations at Family 1st Medical. She has spent close to 20 years in the home Respiratory Industry.