When it comes to buying a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, the process can be confusing and the options available are extensive. There are numerous considerations that should be made when deciding which device to go with.
For the best CPAP therapy experience, use this comprehensive overview to find a machine that best suits your sleep apnoea treatment needs.
The Features You’re Looking For
Choosing a Ventilator Type
CPAP machines come with two common ventilator types; fixed pressure and auto variable pressure. Either option may be suitable for you, depending on your personal needs.
Fixed pressure machines were the first CPAP machines to be available, delivering airflow at a constant rate. Offering a more simple and economical solution to sleep apnoea, most current fixed pressure machines have a multitude of extra features also found in auto variable models.
On the other hand, auto variable machines automatically monitor your airflow needs throughout the night, altering the air pressure output in response. This ensures you are receiving the lowest air pressure necessary, in turn increasing comfort and effectiveness.
Choosing the Right Mask
One of the most important decisions to make when setting up CPAP therapy is the type of mask chosen. The main options when it comes to masks are CPAP full face masks, nasal masks, and pillow masks.
Full face masks cover the mouth and nose, and are suitable for people that require higher pressure or breathe through their mouth. They are also ideal for people who sleep on their back, and those who have frequent congestions and nasal obstructions.
Nasal CPAP masks cover only the nose, delivering a natural, indirect airflow that is comfortable with higher pressure airflows. They are considered to be a middle ground between the bulky full face mask and the smaller, more manageable pillow mask. A significant downside to nasal masks is that they are not effective for people who breathe through their mouth during sleep, however a chin strap can be used to fix this.
CPAP pillow masks rest at the entrance of your nose, and are the most lightweight mask option available. They are more suitable for people needing lower pressure settings, and also work well for people who move a lot during sleep and those with facial hair.
Other Features to Look Out For
With the main components out of the way, it is important to consider some of the extra features that may be included with particular CPAP machine models.
- The inclusion of a humidifier is useful for the management of dry irritated airways, and is also suitable throughout winter and in colder areas.
- Breathing and sleep onset detection can dramatically simplify CPAP machine use, and make falling asleep more comfortable.
- As sleep apnoea differs in women, many CPAP machine manufacturers offer gender specific CPAP machines.
- For those who travel frequently, a smaller, lightweight travel machine may be useful. These often come with portable batteries and multiple plug-in adapters.
- The noise emitted by CPAP machines is usually extremely quiet, however can vary depending on the machine.
- Bluetooth, wifi and cellular connectivity is an important feature that can be useful for updating and monitoring purposes.
Where to buy
When purchasing a CPAP machine, it is recommended to go through a reputable and experienced clinic. This ensures that you are buying effective, top of the line equipment, and allows for expert recommendation and guidance. Knowledgeable staff can help you choose the most appropriate CPAP machine, mask and accessories, and many clinics also offer take home trials and other useful sleep apnoea tests.
It is also a good idea to buy locally, as effective CPAP therapy may require multiple visits and ongoing consultation. Many clinics offer before and after customer service, and some manufacturers offer support programs to CPAP users as well.
In regard to manufacturers, there are multiple options available within the Australian market. The two most common CPAP machine brands are ResMed and Philips Respironics, whilst Fisher & Paykel is another popular brand also offering CPAP products. Each brand has unique products and features, and these three manufacturers also offer masks and tubes.
Further Considerations/Things to Look For
- Pricing is an important consideration. Depending on the store, this can take into account the range of products, as well as the quality of service provided.
- It is recommended to choose a CPAP clinic that offers rental/free trial services, as well as sleep apnoea tests and personalised expert advice.
- Many CPAP clinics offer free shipping on their products.
For additional support, there is a multitude of accessories available to help with CPAP equipment maintenance, sleeping, and convenience. These include:
- Chin straps
- Nasal pads
- Mask wipes
- Portable batteries
- Earbuds/white noise machines
- Travel cases
With all of this information in mind, get in contact with a CPAP clinic to figure out the best approach moving forward. Ultimately, a consultation with experts in sleep health problems is the most effective way to ensure that your sleep apnoea can be treated effectively and easily.
At Blooms CPAP Clinic, we offer unrivalled CPAP assistance and support, with years of experience behind us. We take pride in maintaining ongoing relationships with our customers, and offer effective and convenient online and take home sleep tests to ensure we are meeting your needs.
To find out more or book a free consultation/sleep apnoea test, check out the link below.