C.P.A.P is an abbreviation that stands for continuous positive airway pressure. They are used by people with sleep apnea. It helps them to breathe regularly and efficiently while sleeping at night. The machine works by increasing the air pressure in the throat that in turn prevents the airways from collapsing every time the person inhales.
A CPAP machine, thus, enables the person to sleep comfortably and without snoring continuously. The machine also has a small tank of water, along with a filter. This arrangement essentially works as a heated humidifier. The machine’s tube connects with a unit of the mask that is fitted on the face with a chin strap.
What kind of CPAP machine should I buy?
Most CPAP machines have a mask for covering the mouth and nose. However, there are other varieties, too, including a mask that covers just the nose known as nasal continuous positive airway pressure or NCPAP machine. Another kind of machine exists with a pair of prongs that fit into the nose instead of a mask.
The best way to determine the type of machine that will help you is via the recommendations of a medical doctor. Your doctor will prescribe the type of CPAP machine after treating you properly. He may also recommend taking an overnight sleep study in a laboratory to determine the type of CPAP machine fit for you. Then certain adjustments will be made so that you are comfortable with the device.
Can I just buy a CPAP machine?
Having a CPAP machine at home can be a very efficient way to monitor proper sleep and treat sleep apnea. However, it is essential to have a prescription while buying a CPAP equipment. Devices like CPAP, mask, and humidifier are categorized as Class II Medical Devices. It means that it is illegal to sell a CPAP machine, mask, and humidifier without any approved prescription.
While buying a CPAP, prescriptions are necessary as it provides information about what is needed for proper CPAP therapy. A valid prescription usually covers the type of machine required for the treatment (that is, APAP, BiPAP or CPAP), type of CPAP mask needed (Nasal, nasal pillow or full face), proper air pressure, correct diagnostic procedure and result, and the availability of replacement parts.
A prescription is also needed to prove that the patient is suffering from sleeping disorders. It also provides data about the problem you might be encountering and the solutions that can be taken. A valid prescription helps in showcasing the problem and making it more manageable.
Although not recommended, it is possible to buy a CPAP machine from a private seller. There are scams about second-hand sellers on the internet, so one needs to stay careful and vigilant. There, however, certain risks that involve with used medical equipment:
It is essential to note the prescription’s validity date before venturing out to buy a CPAP machine. While using the prescription, be sure to have a valid name and email for authenticity.
Steps to get a CPAP prescription
There are individual companies that may ask you to get your sleep study done at a remote lab. The lab sends the sleep test to you, which is to be applied at night, and then, you can send it back the next morning. The research is done, and your doctor is consulted in the process. After the consultation, the physician prescribes a written document in the form of a prescription.
The person, however, does not need a prescription for sleep studies. One can order it online via an online third party company.
What are some examples of good CPAP machines?
CPAP therapy has become very common in today’s day and age. Many companies are providing the right equipment for proper treatment.
Some of the best ones are:
- Drive DeVilbiss IntelliPAP Auto
- ResMed Air Mini AutoSet
- Philips Respironics DreamStation Auto
- ResMed AirSense 10 Autoset
- ResMed AirSense 10 AutoSet
- Philips Respironics DreamStation Go
- Z2 Auto Travel CPAP Machine
- ResMed AirStart 10 CPAP with HumidAir
- Philips Respironics One REMstar Pro AutoIQ CPAP Machine
- ResMed S9 Autoset with H5I Humidifier
- F&S SleepStyle HC221LE CPAP
So what is the cost of a CPAP machine?
Who is eligible to provide you with a CPAP prescription?
- Family Doctors
- Nurse practitioner
- MD Psychiatrist
- Doctor of Osteopathy
- Physician assistant.
Is a CPAP machine covered by insurance?
If you are wondering if your insurance company will cover the medical equipment’s cost or not, then the answer is probably so.
Many private health insurance schemes take into account the positive airway pressure (PAP) instruments – including CPAP and masks. However, the level of coverage depends on the insurance policy that you are following.
Insurance companies like Medicare typically provide a three months trial for PAP machines. If you go for the treatment consistently, then you can keep the equipment in the long run. In the case of a high-deductible insurance plan, you might have to pay a lot while buying a machine. Some people choose to pay by themselves as that might be a cheaper alternative in this case. If you choose to do so, you are not bound by the adherence regulations provided by your insurance company.
Your CPAP adherence data, that is, the frequency with which you use the device is provided by your DME (durable medical equipment) company to the insurer. Your insurance company will monitor your use, and if they see that you are not using it consistently, they might stop paying for it at the end.
CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) has an adherence rule of using the device for four hours every night on 70 percent of 30 days period. This means that one needs to use the tool for 4 hours on at least 21 days. This is the most common rule followed by several insurance companies.
Myths regarding CPAP machines cost with insurance:
Myth #1: The insurance company pays for most of the expenses
Unlike most medical facilities, where the company covers most of the cost, and then you pick up the rest, CPAP does not follow the same procedure. For CPAP machines, you will either have to rent your device, or buy it at once, or, if you have Medicare, you have to pay 20% of the total price and then rent the machine for 13 months.
Myth #2: You will get an excellent machine
There can be times when your insurer will provide you with a reimbursed version of the CPAP machine. Although some companies might offer you a good version, many don’t.
Myth #3: Once you get the machine, it is all yours
It only seems fair to keep the machine once you pay for it. However, it does not work that way. Renting a CPAP means that you can only keep it if you are using it consistently. If not, the company can take it away from you.
How much do CPAP machines cost without insurance?
Depending on the features, a DME setup typically costs about $1000 to $4000, without insurance. The design includes the CPAP machine, heated humidifier, masks, heated hose, and filters.
Here is a breakdown of the average cost of the right CPAP equipment:
- $300 to $500 for the CPAP machine
- $125 for the humidifier
- $150 for the CPAP mask
- $30 for the heated hose
What are some of the advantages of a CPAP machine?
A CPAP machine is made to resolve apnea conditions but they are widely helpful in certain other conditions or co-morbidities as well.
1. Sleep apnea can cause strokes. So, using a proper CPAP can help you in preventing the condition. Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and paralysis. A stroke causes a sudden loss of brain function. This occurs when there is a rupture in the blood vessels that lead to the brain. People suffering from sleeplessness are four times more susceptible to strokes than a healthier person.
2. Untreated sleep apnea can damage brain cells. This results in a lack of concentration and causes memory loss. The machine can reduce such chances and improve the ability to concentrate, think clearly, and make proper decisions. This, in turn, increases your productivity and efficiency.
3. Sleep apnea can foster insulin sensitivity. So, a CPAP is beneficial for keeping the insulin levels in check, so that it does not lead to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. Both of these conditions facilitate type-2 diabetes. Thus, a CPAP machine reduces the risks of type-2 diabetes.
4. A CPAP machine prevents the collapsing of the airways, therefore, eliminates snoring. This facilitates a better sleeping environment for both you and your partner.
5. As a CPAP prevents your airway’s collapse by enabling pressurized air into the passage, it helps you from choking and saves your life in the process.
6. Using CPAP can help in reducing the chances of getting a heart disease. Sleep apnea can make you stop breathing several times during the night. Difficulty in breathing can lead to changes in your blood pressure and reduce your oxygen levels, thus, putting an enormous strain on your heart. A large percentage of people suffering from untreated sleeplessness have a higher rate of experiencing a heart attack. CPAP therapy can protect you from these ailments, such as irregular heartbeat, congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease.
7. Untreated apnea can affect your moods and lead to anxiety and depression. CPAP therapy helps you elevate your mood and reduce your anxiety levels and depression, thus, improving your overall quality of life.
8. Restless sleep can lead to restless sleeping patterns and grogginess. In order to subvert it, CPAP is a useful machine. It restores an excellent and much-needed sleep pattern and with uninterrupted sleeping time by facilitating proper breathing. This will help you feel more refreshed and increase your alertness during the day.
9. As mentioned earlier, sleeplessness induces daytime grogginess. This can be dangerous for drivers, as untreated sleep apnea can decrease your alertness and cause road accidents. A lot of people without proper sleep might fall asleep while driving, thus increasing their chances of being in an accident.
10. Last but not least, sleeplessness is the cause of many health problems. This induces medical expenses, too, which can be costly at times. Compared to this, medical expenses are lesser when CPAP is used to treat sleeplessness.
Are there any side effects to these machines?
Although CPAP machines are beneficial, and there have been numerous claims about how CPAP therapy has changed a person’s life, like everything else, this therapy also has specific but minor side effects.
- Stomach and abdominal bloating and discomfort
- Dry and sore mouth
- Feeling confined under a face mask
- Feeling discomfort in the chest muscles
- Nosebleed, runny nose, nasal congestion, and sinusitis
- Feeling irritation and soreness over the bridge of the nose
In case of any other symptoms, it is advisable to visit and consult a doctor for proper treatment and solution.
Most patients undergoing CPAP therapy take around 6 to 9 weeks to become adjusted to the instrument.
CPAP machines used during traveling
Travel CPAP machines are portable devices that patients can use while traveling, fishing, hunting, or even camping. They are, however, not sturdy enough for full use and are only designed for shorter usage. They cannot be treated as an alternative for the CPAP machines designed for daily use.
However, it is to be noted that the insurance companies do not cover travel CPAP as they are deemed as “luxury items” rather than a health necessity.
How long do CPAP machines last?
The life expectancy of a CPAP machine depends on individual devices and how they perform. On average, a CPAP machine lasts around 3 to 5 years of usage. The masks, however, might be replaced more frequently, as they are heavily used and so, wear out more often – like, the strap of the mask may become loose, the cushions of the mask may wear out and need to be regularly cleaned as it might be affected by the oils from your skin. The air filters can also wear out and the tubes might crack, too.
It is also noted that users who replace their CPAP machines every now and then, sleep better each night and thus, get proper rest.
It is essential to be aware of how your CPAP machine might need any replacement. When it does, remind your sleep therapist and physician about your equipment’s condition. Companies, like ResMed, have an “online CPAP supplies replacement guide.” This provides a particular time frame for buying newer products and supplies. Experts recommend that the CPAP mask should be changed every 3 months, the headgear needs replacement every 6 months, and the tubing, along with the filters need to be changed every 3 months. Note that the insurance companies provide newer supplies based on the same replacement schedules. However, it is recommended to also keep the time frame in mind and consult your physician about it. This helps you to be consistent with your CPAP therapy.
How soon will you feel the effects of CPAP therapy?
According to the SLEEP journal, people undergoing CPAP therapy start to feel the effect around the third week of the treatment.
Reports demonstrate that people using CPAP machines have reported a surge of energy increase after the 3rd week of CPAP therapy.
Furthermore, it has been found that CPAP is highly beneficial for people who are excessively troubled by sleeplessness and have experienced fatigue and daytime sleepiness.
Although some people find dramatic results after the therapy, others observe a rather cumulative effect – that is, they do not see much effect until they have used the device consistently for weeks.
Your partner might see the effects before you do. The result of CPAP therapy is that you are less likely to snore at night and not suffer from interrupted breathing moments at times.
According to the reputed medical journal, SLEEP, the longer you continue to use your CPAP machine, the more likely it is to see your symptoms improve. The usage limit, however, varies from person to person.
It is very much possible to treat sleep apnea via CPAP therapy. However, to see the long term outcome, it is important to be committed to the therapy. For proper recovery, a person should use it consistently.