What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when we stop breathing in our sleep usually for 10 second or more.
When we are awake our brain keeps the muscles around our throat engaged and airways open. When we go to sleep though, these muscles are disengaged and our airways start to narrow which can cause snoring.
When the airways block completely, our body starves of oxygen and after a while, the brain realizes that we’re not breathing. This can result in a release of adrenalin into our body to wake us up and take a breath. (Ever woken up with a sudden loud snort?). Most of the time we don’t consciously wake up but we come straight out of the restorative stages of sleep to take a breath and then our body goes back to sleep and the cycle repeats over and over again all night. (No wonder you’re still tired after all this carry on all night!)
How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
Apart from waking up with bruised ribs Inflicted by a sleep deprived partner attempting to stop your snoring with a swift elbow to the mid-section, common symptoms include:
• Snoring or choking in your sleep
• Always tired regardless of how long you sleep
• The ability to go to sleep any time any where
• Poor concentration
• Short term memory loss (keys, wallet etc.)
• Frequent bathroom visits at night
• Restless legs
What happens if I do nothing?
Chances are, you will be instructed to sleep in the spare room or on the couch.
The serious side is that if you have sleep apnea and you don’t treat it, you may be in a much higher risk of:
• Heart attack
• In ability to control obesity
What can I do about treating sleep apnea?
Step 1: The first step is to see your GP and get a referral to have a diagnostic sleep study. This will tell you if you have sleep apnea and if you do, how bad it is. (Eg, mild, moderate or severe). The study will also tell you how many “events” you are having per hour and how long you stop breathing for during your sleep. The study is an overnight test that can be done either in your own home or in a sleep lab.
Step 2: If your sleep study turns out a positive result to apnea, you’ll need to contact us. Your GP may send you for a second test called a titration test or they may recommend you see us to rent a CPAP machine. This will enable us to get some readings of how well CPAP treats your condition and also to see how you tolerate treatment. If you’re severe however, you may want to jump in and get a machine of your own straight up. We have all the options in store and will help you through the different phases of getting used to treatment. At this stage it’s best to contact us and ask to speak to an expert.
How does CPAP therapy work?
The gold standard for treating sleep apnea is by using a CPAP or APAP machine. There are 4 components to a setup.
1) The device (machine)
2) a humidifier
3) a mask &
4) the hose that connects these together.
Think of your airways as a self-closing door. Every time you go to sleep without using the machine, that door is going to close. We need to hold that door open all night to keep our airways clear. This means that our body can stay in the restorative stages of sleep without interruption.
A CPAP machine takes the air in our room and pressurises it through a special pump. The air passes over the water that’s in the humidifier chamber to pick up extra moisture particles. It’s then it’s carried at a controlled temperature to the mask on your face. The air pressure inflates your airway through the nose or mouth and holds it open. This means no more snoring and most importantly, a decent quality of sleep!
“I personally used to sleep for 8 hours but I was still always tired. That’s because QUALITY sleep is more important than quantity. I learned after my diagnostic test that I stopped breathing 28 times per hour so it’s no wonder I felt so wrecked the next day. After my first night on CPAP, I lost the need for an afternoon nap at 2pm. To be honest, it’s changed my life to the point that I am motivated to get off my butt and be productive!” *Bryce Perron Managing Director of CPAP Direct
Most people are amazed at how this therapy can enhance their quality of life. Look at the long term. If we don’t have our health, we don’t have anything. The physical cost of not treating sleep apnea far out ways the inconvenience of looking like a fighter pilot when you go to bed.
Will I stop snoring?
Yup! In most cases, snoring is eradicated as soon as you start CPAP treatment.
What does CPAP stand for?
Continuous Positive Air Pressure (Fixed pressure machine)
What does APAP stand for?
Automatic Positive Air Pressure (Automatically adjusting pressure machine)
What is the difference between a fixed pressure machine and automatic?
A Fixed pressure machine is set at one therapy pressure which is determined by your titration test. The machine starts at a low pressure so you can get to sleep and then it ramps up to your therapy pressure and stays there all night. – A fixed pressure or CPAP machine is cheaper than an automatic however you’ll need to get re-tested regularly to see if your pressure needs adjusting.
An Automatic machine (APAP) has a floor and a ceiling pressure. The machine measures your breathing and as the airways start to narrow, the machine will decide if it needs to respond to give you more air and keep your airway open. Automatic machines are more expensive but for many, they are worth the additional cost.
If you’ve had a few drinks one night, you’ll probably need more air pressure. The automatic will give it to you where as the fixed pressure won’t.
What are the different types of masks for?
Pillows: Also called prongs, are minimalistic on your face. They sit just inside the nostrils to inject air directly into our airways. Convenient to sleep with on your side or back. To browse pillow masks: click here
Nasal: This is a cup that sits over the nose. It is more secure on the face than a pillow and won’t irritate your nostrils. These masks are also great for sleeping on your side or back. To browse nasal masks: click here
Full Face: These masks fit over the nose and mouth. They are designed for people that have to breathe through their mouth at night. Great for people with sinus problems, respiratory problems, and old injuries like a broken nose etc. In our opinion, all full face masks will leak (Especially if you lie on your side). The use of a CPAP pillow can help minimise this leak. To browse full face masks: click here
Will I get a rebate from my health fund?
We’re a premium Australian supplier. If your health fund covers CPAP machines as part of your policy, you’ll need a detailed receipt from us and then you’re good to go. Check with your fund to see exactly what you’re entitled to and if they need any more information.
Please note that if you buy a machine from an overseas company, you’ll forfeit your health fund rebate.
Why are machines so cheap in the USA?
The USA is a subsidised market. The machines are intended for use by USA citizens and these machines are not supposed to be sold back into Australia.
Regardless of what a supplier says: Machines that are bought online from an overseas company or back yard operations like “sleep sorted” have NO warranty in Australia. There are also no health fund rebates on these machines and we aren’t allowed to set or tweak the special features of the machines for you.
If you have a warranty or setting issue, you’ll need to post your device back to the USA so they can send it to Australia for support. One day, they’ll get it back and hopefully send it back to you.
In our experience, most people that buy overseas machines regret doing so. Please be careful.
Is it spelt “sleep apnea” or “sleep apnoea”?
- In the USA, it’s spelt sleep “apnea”
- In the UK, it’s spelt sleep “apnoea”
- In Australia…we can spell it either way.
Why are prices cheaper online than in store?
Our in store price includes a personal mask fitting service as well as taking into account that a bricks and mortar building has much higher overheads to run than a website. Having said that, we are happy to match any genuine Australian competitor’s online price in store.
How much does it cost for follow up downloads and after sales service?
Zilch! Nada! Nothing! Free! (For our existing machine clients). We are committed to helping our patients get the most out of treatment and all follow up consults, downloads, sleep reports emailed to your physician, in store mask fits, complimentary machine checks and unlimited lifetime phone support is all part of the service.