We've updated our privacy policy.

sleeptech

sleeptech
Joined Jun 2017
sleeptech
Joined Jun 2017

For masks we generally recommend simple dish washing detergent. I would be concerned that vinegar would have a negative effect on the rubber over time. Once a week is a good guideline for cleaning your mask, but it varies from person to person. Some people need to wash the mask pillow every day to achieve adequate seal, but most people get perfectly good result washing their mask once/week, and washing your mask less often will extend its life. Ultimately it's going on your face so it's up to you. But please DO wash it. You may be surprised, but there are plenty of people who just never wash their mask and the results are truly disturbing. Sometimes I just cannot believe what people put on their faces. Washing your face immediately before putting you mask on can also help with seal. An good alternative to washing with water and detergent is good old baby wipes. It is possible to get some which are unscented (I believe), and as long as they are alcohol free (which almost all are) they won't harm the mask. Avoid things sold specifically as CPAP cleaning wipes. They are a complete ripoff. Some CPAP suppliers sell them for sterilising your mask, but you don't need to sterilise it. It's not like you're sharing it with anyone. It only needs to be clean, not sterile. It is generally unnecessary to wash the tubing because the only thing that travels down it is plain ordinary air. You don't breathe back down it, all of your exhaled air is blown out of the exhalation port of the mask. If you have a humidifier and get condensation in your tube, do make sure you drain and dry your tube every morning, and the occasional wash may be worth while. Humidifier chambers should be emptied every day to prevent mold growth. If you use tap water or rain water, there will be deposits left as the water evaporates, and these can usually be removed by soaking with vinegar and a little scrub. If you use demineralised water you should not need to clean your humidifier chamber. It is that same stuff sold for use in irons, and car radiators and so on and is pretty cheap. Many people mistakenly refer to it as distilled water, but distilled water is different thing. It is of a far high grade of purity that is unnecessary for use in a CPAP machine, and proper distilled water is expensive. If you have a filter tap this is just as good. Hope all of that helps.

I shall try to cover the various queries in this post as succinctly as possible, but I may get lost. CPAP is supposed to lower AHI, but the AHI on your download will rarely be zero. On a download, and AHI of 5 or less is generally considered good because of the the machine measures data. It detects events using only pressure. If your are breathing well, the pressure fluctuation created by your inhalation and exhalation is very regular. When it changes at all your CPAP machine is inclined to count this an event. The manufacturers say that they have some fancy software to refine things, but generally speaking, if your breathing changes they count it. Now, this may be due to an apnoea or hypopnoea, but it may also be because you cough, roll over, twitch or anything else which causes a slight change in your breathing pattern. For this reason, the AHI stated on a CPAP download will always be an overestimate and so most people will never get zero, which is why we have the idea of anything less than 5 being OK. People with Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (similar to restless leg syndrome) will almost always have a very high AHI because they twitch a lot. For this reason they can't use an auto CPAP because it thinks the twitches are apnoeas and maxes out the pressure in an effort to stop them.

In a sleep study, apnoeas and hypopnoeas are detected by a range of sensors. It involves a drop in air flow (detected by nasal pressure and a thermister) accompanied by a decrease on oxygen saturation (detected by an oximeter) or a change in brain activity (measured by an EEG). This adds up to a bare minimum of 4 wires. However, in order to classify the type of event, the effort of your breathing muscles is measured (requiring a strap around your stomach, chest or both which is cheerfully called an inductance plethismograph - say that without your teeth in). This allows us to tell if the events are obstructive or central. Limb movements should also be measured on order to eliminate changes in breathing which are caused by leg twitches (as mentioned above). Overall, this is a lot more detailed and sensitive than just using air pressure as a guide, so this is why a proper sleep study is always considered more reliable than the download data from your CPAP machine.

OrphanAnnie, I am rather surprised that your technician told you that the data your machine records is too complicated. The software can be a bit of a mess, but the data is quite simple and not that hard to understand. I can only suggest that you call the hospital, speak to someone else who works at the sleep lab and ask them to explain the results to you. Having said that, there's not much to explain from a download, but they should still be able to answer your questions about it. That's what I do all the time at work.

Regarding your sinus problems, it will probably affect which mask you use, whether you use a humidifier and such, but it is totally independent of your sleep apnoea. Your sinuses are between your nose and mouth, but obstruction due to sleep apnoea happens at the back of your throat, so they are in separate parts of your head.