FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
If you have any questions that are not addressed below, please do not hesitate to contact our office. We will be happy to help.
FOR POTENTIAL CPAP USERS
- I think I might have sleep apnea. How do I find out for sure?
- I have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and require CPAP therapy. How do I get started?
- Is there any financial assistance available for CPAP equipment?
FOR EXISTING CPAP USERS:
- How often should I replace my CPAP equipment?
- How often should I clean my CPAP equipment and what do I use to clean it?
- I wake up with a dry nose and/or mouth. Is there anything I can do to remedy this?
- How often will my CPAP machine setting need to be adjusted?
FOR POTENTIAL CPAP USERS
A. If you suspect that you have sleep apnea or any other sleep disorder, you should speak with your family physician. Your family physician will refer you to a sleep specialist who will most likely order a sleep study (polysomnogram) in a sleep lab. During a sleep study, your sleep will be monitored by sleep technologists. Some of the parameters recorded during the study are brainwaves, muscle tone, breathing efforts, the heart beat, body position, blood oxygen level and air flow at the nose and the mouth. All of this information will be interpreted by the sleep specialist and who will notify you of the findings. If the diagnosis of a sleep disorder is made, you will be advised by the sleep specialist of the available therapeutic options.
A. CPAP therapy is prescribed, you will need to make an appointment to meet with a vendor of CPAP products. A list of Ministry of Health authorized vendors may be provided to you by your sleep lab. Be advised that you have the right to choose your vendor. There are many authorized vendors for you to select from.
Upon choosing a CPAP vendor, the healthcare professional should take the time to give you all the facts about Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), CPAP therapy as well as financial considerations surrounding the therapy. The vendor should also show you a wide range of CPAP machines and CPAP masks and assist you in selecting equipment that best meets YOUR needs. As CPAP therapy is usually life long, choosing a vendor should not be taken lightly. Feeling comfortable with your CPAP vendor is crucial to ensuring a positive outcome with sleep therapy.
A.The Ministry of Health of Ontario’s Assistive Devices Program (ADP) will pay for up to 75% of your CPAP equipment, provided that you have a valid Ontario Health Card. Recipients of Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works benefits quality for additional provincial funding. Third party (private) insurance policies will usually pay for at least a portion of the remaining cost of a CPAP system. Other avenues for funding are: Non-Insured Health Benefits (for First Nations citizens), Department of Veterans’ Affairs (for war veterans) and local non-profit organizations.
FOR EXISTING CPAP USERS:
A. For optimum performance and hygienic purposes replace every 6 months. Please note that the replacement intervals shown below are only guidelines. You should refer to your equipment’s operation manual(s) for manufacturers’ recommendations.
NOTE: Most insurance providers will fund replacement CPAP masks and CPAP accessories at the intervals below.
- CPAP Mask – For an optimal mask seal and for hygienic reasons, replace every 6 months.
- CPAP Filters (Washable) - Replace every 4-6 months
- CPAP Filters (Disposable) - Replace every 2 months (when dirty or gray)
- CPAP Tubing – Replace yearly or earlier if broken or worn out.
- CPAP Machine - as required. The Ministry of Health of Ontario’s Assistive Devices Program (ADP) will fund a replacement machine every 5 years if the machine is not working properly.
A. Please note that the cleaning intervals and methods lised below are only MINIMUM guidelines. You should refer to your equipment’s operation manual(s) for manufacturers’ cleaning instructions.
CPAP Mask - Wash daily. Wash mask cushion with dish detergent and water.
CPAP Filters (Washable) - Clean weekly by rinsing in water and by letting air dry.
CPAP Tubing - Wash weekly in warm soapy water.
Humidification Chamber (Water Container) - Wash weekly in warm water and dish detergent.
A. This is first and foremost a symptom of a lack of humidity in the air delivered to your CPAP mask. To add more humidity (moisture) to the CPAP air flow, you will have to increase your heated humidifier setting. If you do not know or remember how to adjust your humidifier setting, please contact your CPAP vendor or refer to your CPAP machine’s operation manual. If you have a dry mouth despite increasing your humidifier’s setting, it is possible that air is escaping from your mouth while you sleep. A chin strap or full face mask will usually solve this problem. Your CPAP vendor will be able to further advise you if this sounds like your situation.
A. Unless you experience a significant weight gain or loss, the CPAP setting does not normally change. It is possible that your sleep specialist will want you to have follow up sleep studies to evaluate the effectiveness of your therapy. If this is the case, you will be notified by the sleep specialist if your CPAP prescription changes after a follow up sleep study. Some sleep specialists will perform follow up sleep studies only if sleep apnea symptoms return. If you feel as though your CPAP therapy is no longer effective, you are encouraged to contact your sleep specialist and to notify your CPAP vendor.