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Manufacturers of CPAP machines offer a wide selection of options that improve your sleep interaction with the unit with its usability and portability. While your medical professional selects between CPAP, APAP, and BiPAP, you’ve still got a chance to choose machines having features and options that are more well suited for your lifestyle including:
- Data logging & display: Most in-demand machines today incorporate some way for you to record your interactions with the CPAP machine at night. This data is typically recorded with a removeable storage device in the machine that you just provide your sleep specialist during regular visits. Many machines in addition provide immediate feedback on display detailing hours of use, average & peak pressure setting and compliance percentage. Make sure your doctor is specifying a unit with data capabilities that both they and you can access.
- Condensation management: This issue – described in the business as rainout – arises when the humidifer is set too high and/or when room temperatures are low and may degrade the effectiveness and comfort of your personal treatment. Many popular machines from Phillips Respironics, ResMed, and Fisher & Paykel contain some kind of condensation management.
- Exhalation relief: This function sounds very technical, but to non-medical people such as myself this implies that it doesn’t feel as though I’m trying to blow up a balloon. The machine automatically dials back pressure whenever I exhale. This feature is perfect for folks running higher pressure settings, but even at my pressure setting of 12 I’ve found it’ll make the device more comfortable to use. The first CPAP Cleaning I used didn’t have any exhalation relief… I’ll never go back to that.
- Noise level: CPAP machines are described as ‘quiet’ being less than 30 dB. My current machine is listed at 27 dB but I occasionally find it too noisy and still have to cover up part of it by using a heavy bathroom towel. The ResMed S9 unit is even quieter, at 24 dB.
Many of us, myself included, must travel extensively for work or even the occasional vacation. A few things to think about for travel:
- Weight & size: Most systems weigh in at 6 – 8 lbs. when packed and ready for travel.
- Power options: Many machines are directly suitable for DC power. However, the ones that aren’t may still be operated from a battery using inverter systems as well as some adapters.
- Auto-altitude adjustment: This feature is beneficial when you are traveling to areas that significantly vary in altitude. Most popular machines offer this selection.
Proper choice of the CPAP machine, itself, will offer us more than just a box with a fan and a water cup. Today these machines are capable of monitoring our sleep allowing us to play a much more active and informed role with the treatment process. This sort of feedback & control engages our success with sleep apnea treatment.