Written by: Stacy DeGroot, RRT
What health risks are associated with sleep apnea?
The most likely risk is daytime fatigue. You may find yourself falling asleep at unwanted times, such as at work, while driving or watching television. You may feel moody, depressed or quick tempered. Those who have untreated sleep apnea are also at a higher risk for cardiovascular issues, such as high blood pressure, heart attack or abnormal heart rhythms (such as A-Fib). Other complications of untreated sleep apnea are a greater risk of stroke, type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Why is CPAP compliance so important?
Compliance with therapy is defined (by Medicare and most insurance companies) by wearing the CPAP device a minimum of four hours per night on 70 percent of the nights in a 30-day period. This is only a minimum standard. The goal of therapy, long term, is to wear it during any sleep period for the entire sleep period to obtain full benefit of the therapy.
How can respiratory therapy help with CPAP compliance?
The respiratory therapist can help with CPAP compliance by explaining your therapy goals and educating you on your equipment and supplies. The respiratory therapist will assist in finding a mask that will work best with the therapy that has been prescribed by your healthcare provider, and fits you well so you can obtain the best therapy and sleep possible.
What are some things I can do to become more complaint?
Wear your unit each time you sleep for the entire time you sleep. Maintain your supplies in working fashion. This includes following a cleaning and replacement schedule. Reach out to your respiratory therapist or sleep physician (or nurse practitioner) with questions and concerns about your therapy. If you are having issues with mask fit, leak or comfort, seek the advice of your therapist. Your therapist and sleep physician (or nurse practitioner) work very closely together to provide the best care so you obtain the best treatment from your therapy.