What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts regularly throughout the night. These pauses in breathing, called "apneas" (literally, "without breath"), typically last 20 to 40 seconds. You may suffer from sleep apnea if you snore loudly or if you feel tired even after a full night's sleep.The main types of Sleep Apnea are:
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax. OSA can be treated with a CPAP or APAP machine.
- Central sleep apnea (CSA), which occurs when your brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. CSA cannot be treated with a CPAP machine.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome, or treatment emergent central sleep apnea, which occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea. Patients who suffer from this condition will only be recommended a CPAP machine, not an APAP machine.
If you think you may have any form of sleep apnea, see your doctor immediately.
What happens if I do nothing?
If you have sleep apnea and you don’t treat it, you may be at a much higher risk of:
- Heart attack
- Inability to control obesity
Do I have sleep apnea?
What can I do to treat sleep apnea?
You need to go and see your GP and get a referral to have a diagnostic sleep study completed. The study will advise you if you suffer from sleep apnea and how severe it is, if you do. It can be mild, moderate or severe. The study will also tell you how many “events” you are having per hour and how long you stop breathing for during your sleep. The study is an overnight test that can be completed either in your own home or in a sleep lab. If you test positive to sleep apnea, you will need to contact us to speak to one of our sleep apnea technicians to discuss the best options available to you to treat your condition.
What is a CPAP machine?
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. This machine is a fixed pressure machine.
What is an APAP machine?
APAP stands for automatic positive airway pressure. This machine automatically adjusts the pressure delivered by the machine as required.
Should I purchase an APAP (automatic) or CPAP (fixed pressure machine)?
Should I get a CPAP Machine or Auto Machine?
Constant Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The sleep study or GP prescribes a pressure that the patient requires to keep their airway open and unobstructed. We set the pressure of the machine prior to sending it out to you. The machine will supply a constant flow of pressure regardless of whether the patient is awake, asleep, lying on their back or their side. We can only supply a CPAP machine if we have been give a prescription to set it to a certain pressure.The Automatic Positive Airway Pressure (APAP or Auto) machines are set up with a minimum and maximum setting. The auto machine adjusts up and down between this range throughout the sleep period to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Usually the auto machine will stay at the minimum (start pressure) while the patient is awake. During sleep, the auto machine will increase and reduce the pressure as required (see example graph below). Typically the pressure is higher when the patient is sleeping on their back and less when on their side. The pressure will also vary depending on the different sleep stages, The auto machine will cope with all these changes by varying the pressure automatically as required.
In the future, the treatment pressure may change due to weight gain or weight loss, ageing, loss of muscle tone in the throat, etc. The auto machine will keep adjusting automatically to the correct pressure, often without the need for another sleep study. Our preference is to supply an APAP machine as we feel it delivers a better health outcome.
How loud is a CPAP machine?
A CPAP machine typically operates at approximately 30dB. This is equivalent to hearing a whisper in a library at approximately 1m.
What are the different types of masks for?
Full Face: These masks fit over the nose and mouth. They are designed for people that have to breathe through their mouth at night. Great for people with sinus problems, respiratory problems, and old injuries like a broken nose etc. In our opinion, all full-face masks will leak (especially if you lie on your side). The use of a CPAP pillow can help minimise this leak.
Why do CPAP machines cost less in the USA?
CPAP machines sold in the USA are subsidised and are intended for American citizens. Any CPAP machine purchased from the USA will not have any warranty in Australia. The machine will have to be posted back to the USA for warranty, which will mean a significant amount of time without your potentially lifesaving machine. In our experience, people who have bought a machine from the USA regret doing so.
Will a CPAP or APAP machine stop snoring?
A CPAP or APAP machine will stop snoring if you suffer from OSA. This will make you and particularly your partner happier as you will both get a better night’s sleep.
Can I get a rebate from my private health insurance?
If your policy covers you for CPAP machines, then you are able to use the receipt we provide you with to claim a rebate on your machine. Please contact your health fund and check with them about rebates on CPAP machines prior to making a purchase.
Why should I purchase my sleep apnea products from The Friendlies?
Our company is a not for profit company that is committed to providing better health care and affordable health solutions to our members. Effectively, we put people before profit. Our company gives away a significant amount of money each year by giving discounts to our members, supporting sporting clubs and community groups and by offering scholarships to students to complete a university degree.
What should I do if I notice a cheaper price for the product I wish to purchase?
Please contact us and we will beat the price as well as give you fantastic service.