My doctor gave me an prescription for oxygen, what do I do now?
Your first step is to call Medigas and make an appointment. You can either come to the office or we can visit your home. Based on your prescription, you will be instructed on the safe use on an appropriate delivery system.
What is a Home Sleep Apnea Test?
A Home Sleep Apnea test is a diagnostic test for Obstructive Sleep Apnea that is done in your home. To have this test performed, we require a referral from your doctor. We will call you for an appointment in our office and shown how to apply the equipment. At home you will perform the overnight test. This device is returned to our office the next day for downloading. The results are interpreted by a sleep physician and your doctor will receive a copy of the interpretation. Based on the results and interpretation, you may require CPAP.
What is CPAP?
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. CPAP is commonly used to treat sleep disorders, i.e., Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). It is applied by using a mask. The amount of pressure is determined by your sleep study or auto-titrating CPAP trial.
Getting Started with CPAP
When should I start feeling better after beginning to use my CPAP device?
Most patients begin feeling better within two to four weeks, though some people may take a little longer. This relies on many factors, including the usage of the machine.
I have trouble falling asleep on my therapy or I feel uncomfortable when I first apply the air pressure at night
It is normal to experience some discomfort when you are starting to use CPAP therapy. It will take time for your body to adjust to this new sensation. Most people adjust to CPAP therapy in 2 - 4 weeks, although for some it can take longer.
Be sure to put your mask on every night. Using your machine is one way to acclimatize yourself, even if it starts out with short time periods.
You can try wearing the mask when you're awake, watching T.V. or reading a book - this can help distract you and allow your body to adapt.
Your sleep therapist can help you adjust different features on your machine that help you use CPAP. The ramp is a feature that starts the machine off very low and builds to your prescribed pressure over time or when you fall asleep. Most machines come with a featuring that lessens the air pressure slightly when you exhale, making it easier and more natural to breathe with the machine.
I feel gassy and bloated when I wake up in the morning
This is not an uncommon effect when starting therapy, your body is swallowing the air instead of breathing it. Usually this will go away in a few days to a week. Try our acclimatizing tips mentioned above. Sleeping with your head elevated may help as well. Ask your sleep therapist if you would benefit from a comfort feature that offers pressure relief when exhaling. If the issue persists, your doctor may be able to suggest an alternate solution.
It is hard to breathe out against the constant air flow
This sensation may improve over time as you adapt to CPAP therapy. Your Medigas Sleep Therapist can show you comfort features with your machine that can help your exhalation.
My skin seems irritated, even bruised, or I have marks on my face
If your mask is too tight, you can loosen the straps as long as you are getting a good seal. This may also be a sign that your mask needs replacement.
You may require a different size or style of mask, our sleep therapists will find your CPAP mask, contact us to book an appointment.
If you are still experiencing discomfort, you may require a barrier, like the Gecko pad or cotton.
How can I tell when my mask is worn out?
The manufacturers have specific recommendations on mask replacement. They suggest that the cushion and headgear are replaced very 6 months, and the whole mask once a year. These guidelines ensure proper therapy, comfort and cleanliness. Most insurance and 3rd party payers have allowances for this replacement schedule. Our Medigas Manitoba Care representatives will help you with those.
My mask seems to be leaking into my cheeks or eyes
Your mask does have an exhalation port that does blow air, this is normal. If a mask leak is occurring around your eyes or mouth, follow these steps to fix it:
Check all the connections for improper assembly and breaks or tears.
If your mask has a forehead arm or adjustment feature, try readjusting that first to correct the leak.
Next, readjust the headgear straps. The mask should be as loose as possible while still creating a seal. A mask that is too tight against the face can cause leaks to occur by creating folds in the material. Remember, you want to do a final strap adjustment when you are lying down and some machines having a mask fit setting to help.
If you are still not achieving a good seal, contact us to book an appointment, we may be able to help or fit you to a different mask.
My mask needs cleaning
Masks require proper cleaning and care for your therapy and your health.
Your mask should be wiped with a damp cloth once a day. The whole mask should be washed in warm soapy water with a gentle soap once a week and dried thoroughly before use.
Your mask would have come with a manual that includes care instructions specific to your style of mask.
I have a moustache or a beard. Which mask is best to use?
Our trained sleep therapists will be happy to find the mask that works best for you. Yes, facial hair can make a mask seal more difficult, but there is a mask for everyone!
CPAP Therapy Issues
What if I still snore while using the CPAP device?
Snoring while on CPAP may occur. If you are feeling rested, it may be acceptable. If you are having other symptoms of sleep apnea, your may want to consult your doctor for re-assessment.
What if I lose or gain weight or my old symptoms reappear?
Weight gain or loss of 20 pounds, medication or activity changes, and your health status all can lead to affects to your obstructive sleep apnea. If you are concerned, or have noticed symptoms of sleep apnea, you will want to discuss this with your doctor and consider re-assessment.
It doesn’t seem as though enough air is flowing to me
Your machine could be malfunctioning. Check the flow from the back of the machine and ensure nothing is blocking the inlet filter. We can test the pressure of your machine if you bring it into one of our offices.
With regular use, your machine will feel as though it is not blowing a lot of air, this can be just because you are more acclimatized to the pressure.
Air hunger can also be a sign that your pressure may need to be reassessed. Talk to your doctor about this after ruling out the above steps.
My nose and throat are dry, my nose is congested, or I have nosebleeds
Try adjusting the temperature setting on your humidifier. Your machine manual will show you how to do this, and if that's not clear, the staff at our offices can help. You may require a product that moistens or lubricates your nostrils prior to use.
Consult your doctor if symptoms persist.
My mouth is dry
You may be sleeping with your mouth open. If this is the case, you can purchase a chinstrap that will remind your mouth to stay closed. If the issue persists, a different mask style may be required and our sleep therapists can guide you with that. Increasing your humidity will also help.
My hose fills up with water at night
This effect is called rainout. Condensation builds up because the air in the room is cooler than the air in your tube. To prevent the condensation forming, you can insulate your tube with a tubing wrap, or make your own. If the issue persists, you may want to consider a heated tube that has a temperature regulated coil that warms the tubing. Your Medigas Manitoba staff will help you find the best option for you.
My machine does not seem to be working
Check the power cord to be sure it is firmly inserted into the back of the machine and the electrical outlet. Medigas Manitoba has a fully serviced repair and service setup. We can provide assessments, quotes and repairs on many CPAP and Oxygen machines. We are also able to facilitate warranty replacement or repair.
Life with CPAP
If I need to be hospitalized for any reason, should I take my device with me and use it at night?
Yes, and the hospital may require it. Also, if you are having surgery, it is important to tell the surgeon and the anesthetist that you are using CPAP at home.
I travel frequently. Should I use my CPAP device when I travel?
It is important that you use your CPAP every night. Purchasing travel accessories will make it more convenient for you to travel.
It is recommend you travel with a copy of your prescription for your CPAP machine with you. Medigas can also provide a travel document for your machine. Your CPAP machine should be carry-on, and most airlines require prior notification that a medical device will be coming on board.
As I continue to use my CPAP device on a regular basis, will my medications need to be adjusted?
This should be discussed with your doctor.