If you are new to CPAP or Bi-Level therapy, there are certain things you need to know:
1. Rationale of Use
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is more prevalent than most people think, affecting 1 in 12 adults age 40 and over–about 20 million Americans. Folks who have OSA frequently stop breathing during periods of sleep, because their sleep is repeatedly interrupted due to collapsed airways. This fragmented sleeping pattern prevents the lungs from receiving a normal amount of fresh air that contains vital oxygen, resulting in the circulation of poorly oxygenated blood into living tissues, which leads to a host of untoward medical effects. Loud, frequent snoring and awakening with gasping or choking are common features of sleep apnea.
The most obvious effects of poor sleep are quality of life issues—excessive daytime sleepiness, tiredness and a general lack of energy and stamina during daily activities. Less obvious effects, all well-documented, are increases in blood pressure, blood sugar, as well as heightened risk of heart attacks, irregular heart rhythms (particularly atrial fibrillation), strokes, depression, irritability, frequent nighttime urination and weight gain. These types of medical problems are believed to be linked to the release of cortisol from the adrenal glands from the shock of repeated awakenings during chronically disrupted sleep.
Recent research has suggested that sleep apnea is a significant risk factor in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. In fact, it is now beginning to be better understood just how important good sleep is for mental function. Sleep experts have known for quite some time that poor sleep leads to forgetfulness, irritability, moodiness and depression. More recent research has led many sleep experts to the conclusion that proper sleep is essential for the consolidation and organization of memories of the events that one has experienced during the day. Thus, far from being “at rest” during sleep, the brain is quite active as it does the vital work of placing memories of recent events into the brain so that they can be accessed for ready retrieval during activities the next day and in the future. Current research has demonstrated that a decrease in efficiency of the brain’s work during sleep in this consolidation and integration function is analogous to that seen in an awake person to whom a mental task has been given who then takes 50% longer to complete the task if interrupted, compared with being allowed to work uninterrupted. In addition, a higher error rate (as much as 50%) has been shown to be associated with interrupted, compared with uninterrupted work.
Positive airway pressure is widely considered to be the treatment of choice for interrupted sleep associated with sleep apnea because of its proven safety and effectiveness. This non-invasive, cost-effective solution has been constantly improved and refined to be comfortable and easy to use. The most recent technology also allows objective measurement of its effectiveness. Some models actually self-adjust themselves to assist in achieving the maximum benefit from your therapy.
2. Nothing to Fear, Nothing to Dread
You may hear others’ “war stories” from their experience with CPAP or Bi-Level. They should, at best, be taken with a grain of salt if not altogether ignored, even if the teller means well. Some of your friends, family or acquaintances may have had negative experiences with older, clunkier equipment than what we have available today. Others may have had good experiences with CPAP therapy, yet unwittingly give you advice that does not apply to you.
The equipment you will get from us is the latest and of the highest quality in the industry. You will also get a thorough explanation of your equipment and in-depth teaching before you leave our store, as well as any follow-up you may require afterwards to be successful (see below, “You Are Not Alone”). We are well known in this area among doctors and sleep experts for our high quality, in-depth teaching and follow-up. They know that that our rate of success with CPAP users (well over 80%) is significantly higher than the industry average We hope to be able to add you to our family of successful PAP users who live enriched, fulfilled lives because they are now getting the rest their bodies need.
3. You Are Not Alone
We offer you onsite support, in the form of written and video instructions to assist you in working through any problems you encounter with becoming compliant with your therapy. Most CPAP web sites do the same. However, nothing compares with live, face-to-face instruction. For folks in this area, we have a brick and mortar location that we encourage you to come to so you can give you personal instruction, discuss your therapy and answer any questions you may have as to how you can get the most benefit from your equipment.
4. Full Disclosure—We Don’t Know Everything
I have 30 plus years of experience in supplying CPAP equipment to patients (almost from the time they came onto the market), and I have been on CPAP therapy myself for over 5 years. The rest of our staff at CPAP Done Right™, although not as experienced as I (nor nearly as old!), work and study in this field every day. We try hard to remain current with recent developments in field of sleep and sleep therapy. (We get much of our new information from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, an organization we trust that dispenses up-to-date, fact-based information from reliable sources, including recent, reputable research articles.) Yet, we are humble enough to feely admit that we don’t have all the answers—nor all the questions, for that matter. We learn new things all the time from the patients we serve—things that we wouldn’t otherwise have discovered if we had relied only on manufacturer’s instructions and researchers’ literature. We estimate that at least 25% of the practical tips we are able to pass along to PAP users came from the patients just like you who have been kind enough to pass along to us useful tips they have discovered.
5. We Need Your Assistance
Without question, it is going to take some effort and accommodation from you to be successful with your therapy. We want you to regard your CPAP equipment as your friend—a tool to assist you in achieving normal sleep. It is not an enemy to be conquered! Please help us by being prepared to leave some of your preconceived notions behind if we believe that they may stand between you and a good CPAP experience. We are genuinely concerned about you and will do our very best to help you achieve successful therapy so you can get on with the living of a healthy, happy and fulfilled life.
James B. Garner, President and the Staff at CPAP Done Right™