Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Improving Cpap Comfort Mask Appliance Combo

Patient Inquiry

You can take steps to make using a CPAP mask a more pleasant experience. Here's what I do: I’ve been a snorer for a long time. As I got older, my snoring has gotten more frequent and louder. I also noticed I was tired a lot and liked to take naps during the day. I was overweight. People complained about my snoring and I did not want to sleep in the same room with other people for fear of keeping them awake.Finally, I asked my doctor about the problem. He sent me home with a machine to check my breathing and pulse while I slept. The results really shocked me! The doc said my airway was closing off up to 70 times each hour, and that I stopped breathing for as long as one full minute at a time! I had severe apnea. He strongly recommended I start using the CPAP machine, since I was risking damage to my heart due to lack of oxygen.I had read about CPAP machines before and always thought I would never be able to sleep with one, since I am a little claustrophobic. Surprisingly, it only took me a few minutes to get used to, and I was able to start sleeping comfortably right away.The mask part is just a small nose manifold that covers the nostrils to blow in air. That keeps the throat inflated like a balloon, preventing throat closures and snoring. One problem is the straps over the head that keep the nose piece in place. They can be a little annoying at first, and if you change sleeping positions at night, it is possible for these straps to move, causing the nose piece to slip off. I have been using a Dreamhelmet (a combination sleep mask sound-muffling pillow) for years now, to sleep at night and for napping during the day. I always find it hard to sleep without the Dreamhelmet, and was afraid I would not be able to use it with the CPAP mask, but I was wrong about that too. After using the CPAP machine and mask for a short while, I tried wearing the Dreamhelmet over the CPAP mask, covering up the straps – voila, it worked like a charm! I found that the Dreamhelmet actually helps keep the straps in place when I change positions, so now I can sleep all night in comfort, not being bothered by sound, light, or changing positions. The CPAP combined with the Dreamhelmet are the perfect sleeping combo for me. You can see and buy the Dreamhelmet for under 30 bucks at DREAMHELMET.com. Now I don’t snore, I wake up rested, and I have energy that lasts all day long. I’m still overweight, but I don’t feel so run down all the time or feel like I need an afternoon nap, but I still carry an extra Dreamhelmet in the car with me just in case I do need a nap.

I was not familiar with the Dream Helmet and had to Google it. It appears this response may be commercial in nature but I thought it was worth passing it on as it might be helpful for some patients. I recently spent time in Dallas, Texas with Dr Keith Thornton the inventor of the TAP oral appliance for treating sleep apnea and I am please to report the excellent TAP-PAP combinations which include an integrated TAP 3 appliance and a nasal CPAP mask. This will eliminate leaking masks. Airway technologies is also manufacturing custom CPAP masks for appliance connection that use denture technology for a custom mask.

posted by Dr Shapira at 11:34 AM