Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition where a person briefly stops breathing in his sleep due to the narrowing of his airways. Fortunately, the condition is easily remedied with a continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machine which, as its name suggests, uses air pressure to keep the air passage open.
If you’ve just been diagnosed with OSA and are now shopping for a machine for your treatment, make it a point that you know what to look for. Aside from features, continuous positive air pressure devices can also be differentiated in terms of their weight and size. There are regular ones that are perfect for home use as well as the smaller and lighter portable CPAP machine
specifically designed for those who frequently travel.
What Features/Specs to Look for In a Portable CPAP Machine
Obviously, weight is a very important consideration if you plan to carry the machine with you when traveling. While manufacturers try their best to come up with the lightest possible device for the travel version of their CPAP lineup, some companies are more successful than others, resulting in a lighter weight machine compared to competitors. Be sure to keep an eye on a product’s weight when shopping.
Another important factor to watch out for is the product’s dimensions since, as every seasoned traveler knows, space in your luggage will always be limited. Try to look for a product that occupies as little space as possible so you’ll have more space for the other stuff, like your clothes for instance.
Some products have a built-in humidifier while others have detachable ones that are usually offered as an add-on. For the frequent traveler, the detachable humidifier is probably a better choice since you can just leave it at home to free up luggage space.
The altitude of your location will have an impact on the resulting airflow pressure produced by the CPAP device. In fact, manufacturers label the maximum altitude that their products can be used. Take note of the altitude of your usual travel destinations and purchase a device that works at such heights.
Travel Tips for Those Who Carry a Portable CPAP Machine
Prepare for airport security
Since the 9/11 bombings, airports all over the world have imposed tighter security for passengers. Be prepared for such scrutiny. As electronics, CPAP machines might arouse the interest of security personnel when they pass through the X-ray machines.
Don’t forget a voltage adapter
If you travel abroad, always be prepared for the possibility that your destination might have a different standard on voltage output. For instance, most Asian countries have a 220/240-volt electrical infrastructure with the exception of Japan and Taiwan.
With a handy portable CPAP Machine, you don’t have to limit your sleep apnea treatment in your home. With their light weight and smaller size, you can conveniently take them with you to your destination and enjoy a restful sleep wherever you go.
Thomas Oldham (BSc, MSc, CEng.) is not only an expert in design, development and testing of medical plastic devices, qualified as a Profesional Engineer in 2016, and additionally has also suffered from sleep apnea for several years - making him an expert on both obstructive sleep apnea and assessing medical devices designed to tackle this condition.