Sleep apnea disorder is an increasing issue among men and women. According to recent studies, in adults between 30 to 70 years of age, about 13% of men and 6% of women have moderate to severe sleep apnea. Unfortunately, as many as 85 percent of people who have sleep apnea remain undiagnosed and untreated.
On average, only 5% of CPAP patients replace their masks quarterly, while 48% of patients never replace their masks. Why?
» It's inconvenient
» They are unaware they can
» They don't know how to go about it
This means patients aren't getting the full benefits of therapy, aren't compliant with treatment, and the provider is losing potential profit.
Why is it important to replace CPAP supplies regularly?
» Controls amount of bacteria in the CPAP mask and tubing
» Minimizes potential risk for bacterial infection in you
» Avoids dirty filters that can damage CPAP machines
It is very important to maintain and replace your CPAP supplies such as mask, cushion, headgear, tubing, filters, and chin strap. Did you know that Medicare and most other insurance providers recommend replacement of CPAP supplies according to a set schedule? BUT, less than half of patients replace their supplies on a regular basis. Replacing your mask and accessories as appropriate helps ensure you are receiving the best, most comfortable therapy possible.
Here are 5 reasons you should replace your CPAP supplies:
1. CPAP SUPPLIES ARE DISPOSABLE
Your CPAP mask, headgear, and tubing aren't meant to last. Most common CPAP masks are made of plastic and silicone and the headgear is made from neoprene. All of these materials begin to break down with frequent use. Replacements are expected.
2. OVER TIME, CUSHIONS LOSE THEIR SEAL
If you need to continually tighten and over tighten the headgear to maintain a seal with your mask, it will not fit comfortably and you can actually harm yourself in the process. If red skin sores appear and become more prominent, it is time to replace the mask and headgear.
This become more difficult to eliminate as a mask ages. The masks and the tubing need to be cleaned regularly with mild soapy water and left to dry out of direct sunlight, or bacteria will grow. Studies demonstrate that after 1 year of use, no amount of cleaning can eliminate all bacterial growth. The amount of bacteria increases linearly with age. So, the older the mask, the more bacteria in the mask, the tubing, and potentially in YOU!
4. DIRTY FILTERS DAMAGE CPAP MACHINES
The filters in a CPAP machine need to be replaced regularly. If dust and other contaminants build up, they cause the CPAP machine to overheat and, in time, damage the motor.
5. SUN DAMAGE TAKES IT TOLL
Direct sunlight will damage the material in the mask, tubing, and CPAP machines. All CPAP equipment and supplies should be stored out of direct sunlight. Daily exposure to direct sunlight will speed up the breakdown of the equipment, just like your own skin.
Many CPAP users don't realize that most of the supplies associated with sleep therapy are designed to be disposable. Masks, tubing, filters, and headgear are not designed to last extreme amounts of time, and using them past their recommended life span can actually jeopardize your CPAP therapy. Delicate silicone mask cushions can develop leaks, clogged filters can allow dust and pollen to be delivered into your airway, and over-stretched headgear can require extreme tightening, causing pressure point pain. Below you will find the recommended replacement schedule for CPAP supplies, based on information from Medicare and private insurance companies.