FAQ

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Sleep Apnea Symptoms

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

Most common sleep apnea, caused by an obstruction of the upper airway. Repetitive pauses in breathing, referred to as apnea, will last 10 to 30 seconds thus  causing a drop in blood oxygen saturation.

What causes OSA?

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the  muscles in the back of the throat relax during sleep and narrow or completely close the air passageways

What is the Prevalence of OSA?

  • Estimated 900,000 Canadian  adults have OSA
  • 3 in 4 Canadians over 45 years of age reported sleep apnea
  • Men nearly double women  in having sleep apnea
  • 1 in 4 adults reported to having symptoms

What are the symptoms of OSA?

  • Gasping
  • Snoring
  • Pauses in breath
  • Restless, unrefreshing sleep
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Poor concentration
  • Motor vehicle accidents

What if I choose not to seek treatment for my OSA?

OSA causes the heart to work harder to circulate blood and oxygen to the body and brain.  Left untreated, this may lead to other serious and potentially life-threatening conditions including:

  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Mood disorders (anxiety, depression)
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Reduced enjoyment of life
  • Motor vehicle accidents

What Treatments are available for OSA?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the most effective method of treatment for OSA.

CPAP is recognized as the very best treatment but there are a few others such as an oral appliance or surgery (ENT assessment necessary) may be an alternative.

What is an oximetry test, and why do I need one?

You will need to do an oximetry test before CPAP is initiated. It is a small device worn on any finger, which records oxygen saturation in your blood and heart rate while you sleep. The test is done at home, over the course of either one or two nights. If your oxygen saturation through out the night is less than 90%, this indicates that you may need to evaluate CPAP treatment.

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Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

What is CPAP?

Stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, it is a small machine that blows room air into your nose or mouth through a small mask.  This air pressure keeps the airway open during sleep and allows for peaceful, snore-free, refreshing sleep.

How do I know which machine to choose?

We offer many different CPAP therapy machines at CanSleep. Speak with our therapist about which one suits you best. Keep in mind that all CPAP machines work exactly the same way.  Differences in machines may include color and size.

If I get a dental appliance or use a chinstrap to keep my mouth closed to prevent me from snoring, will this cure my sleep apnea?

Not necessarily. Only a sleep specialist can determine the diagnosis of sleep apnea, and when it has been successfully treated.

Is surgery an option for treatment?

Whether surgery would work for you must be discussed with a sleep specialist after he/she has explored your medical history and examined your upper airway. CPAP treatment in general is more effective than surgery so usually it is the first choice in OSA treatment.

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Using CPAP Therapy

What can I use to clean my CPAP mask?

Dishwashing detergent, shampoo, or soap are suitable solutions for cleaning your mask. DO NOT use bleach, alcohol, or any strong household cleaners. Use warm soapy water, then rinse thoroughly in fresh water and air dry.

Hand wash the headgear using mild household detergent.

Can I wash my entire CPAP mask in water?

Generally speaking, most silicone parts, mask shell, and headgear may be placed into water. The foam cushion from Fisher & Paykel masks, such as the FlexiFit series (HC406, HC405, HC407) should NOT be submerged into water. Wipe the foam cushion clean with a damp cloth or sponge and leave to dry.  Remember to book an Annual follow up appointment at CanSleep to have your mask reviewed.  Generally a mask should be replaced once a year.  Check with your extended health plan to find out your coverage.

How often should I clean my CPAP mask?

For optimal performance, clean your mask once a week. It is also a good idea to make a habit of wiping down the silicone seal on your mask with a wet washcloth every day. This helps to get rid of oils that may be transferred from your skin onto your mask. The accumulation of oil on the silicone prevents your mask from sealing properly.   Remember to book an Annual follow up appointment at CanSleep to have your mask reviewed.  Generally a mask should be replaced once a year.  Check with your extended health plan to find out your coverage.

How do I know when I should use a humidifier with my CPAP machine?

You may need to use a humidifier if you experience any of the following symptoms which typically were not exhibited prior to CPAP use: upper airway dryness, congestion, sore throat, nosebleeds, and headaches.

Is it possible to catch an infection from a humidifier?

No, because the CPAP heated humidification process produces molecular water vapor, which cannot transport bacteria or other microorganisms.

Can I use my CPAP without the humidifier?

Absolutely. If you find that your mask and/or tubing is collecting too much moisture even at the lowest humidity setting, you do not have to use your humidifier. In fact, your humidification needs will change occasionally based on the temperature in your bedroom (this is affected by the type of weather you are experiencing in your region).

I have a CPAP with a humidifier, but there are times when I find I’m not getting adequate humidity. What can I do?

Most heated humidifiers are adjustable which allows you to increase or decrease the humidity output at varying degrees. Please refer to your humidifier manual or contact CanSleep for assistance.

I was instructed by my healthcare provider to use “distilled” water in my humidifier chamber. Are filtered water, well water and/or bottled water the same?

NO they are not the same. Filtered water, well water and/or bottled water still contain minerals that may damage the bottom plate of your water chamber if used on a regular basis.

Where can I buy distilled water?

Distilled water can be purchased in most grocery stores and pharmacies.

Why do I develop headaches after I use my CPAP machine?

It may be that you do not have adequate humidity. In this case, you should increase your humidity. Please refer to your heated humidifier manual or contact CanSleep Services for assistance.

If I get a dental appliance or use a chinstrap to keep my mouth closed to prevent me from snoring, will this cure my sleep apnea?

Not necessarily. Only a sleep specialist can determine the diagnosis of sleep apnea, and when it has been successfully treated.

Is surgery an option for those who don’t like the idea of CPAP?

For some, yes, but not for all. Whether surgery would work for you must be discussed with a sleep specialist after he/she has explored your medical history and examined your upper airway. CPAP treatment in general is more effective than surgery so usually it is the first choice in OSA treatment.

Are there any other sources of information that I should be considering?

Yes. The following website links are great sources of information to help you understand more about Sleep Apnea condition.

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Information for Physicians

How do I refer one of my patients to Cansleep?

Please download and fill out our [Physicians referral form…].

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