Written and edited by patients, and with input by others experienced in sleep apnea, this FAQ or Frequently Asked Questions page answers many concerns and issues raised by people with snoring and apnea.
Please note that some of the information in this FAQ may be out of date. The new edition of Sleep Apnea--the Phantom of the Night contains an extensive FAQ covering a wide range of issues dealing with diagnosis, treatment, overcoming treatment problems, and alternatives to CPAP.
My name is Doug Linder. I'm just some guy with apnea. It's easier to tell you what I am not:
I (Doug Linder) wrote much of this FAQ, and I am neither a doctor nor a sleep technician. I have no official involvement with the sleep medicine community. DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING IN THIS FILE AS MEDICAL ADVICE. As with any health matter, consult a qualified health professional before seeking treatment of any kind.
Many thanks to Sally Warren Soest for her invaluable assistance in completing large chunks of this FAQ, and also Jerry Halberstadt and Rick Bonato.
Please don't write me to ask about the benefits of surgery, or if your friend should have some kind of medical procedure, or similar questions. Even if I were a doctor, I wouldn't give medical advice via email with no diagnosis. So, again, please - no medical questions. Ask your doctor.
I'm telling you - really! - that I'm just a layman who happens to have gathered a little information about this in one place. For the most part, *everything* I know about apnea is in this document or somewhere in the SNORE pages. I don't have secret files, or piles of medical studies about the relative effectiveness of the various treatments. If you want more information, and you can't find a local source, I suggest you contact one of the sleep-disorder-related organizations.
I don't keep track of sleep-related literature. You may find useful references in a Bibliography on Sleep
If you are a doctor, researcher, sleep technician, or other medical-type, welcome. I'm afraid I don't keep up on the medical journals and so on. If you want to converse and trade information with others of your professions, I suggest the sci.med.* newsgroup hierarchy, the newsgroup alt.support.sleep-disorder, the very technical mailing list SLEEP-L (contact: email@example.com, and especially Dr. Michael Thorpy's excellent sleep disorders home page http://www.cloud9.net/~thorpy, which has lot more links and general sleep information than I do here. Yet another superb site for more information about snoring and sleep apnea is Jerry Halberstadt's Phantom Sleep Page. ( http://www.HealthyResources.com/sleep/). Highly recommended.
Sleep apnea is defined as the cessation of breathing during sleep.
Apnea specialists generally agree that there are three different types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed. Of these three, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common; central sleep apnea is rare; mixed sleep apnea is a combination of the previous two with treatment being the same as OSA.
Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by repetitive pauses in breathing during sleep due to the obstruction and/or collapse of the upper airway (throat), usually accompanied by a reduction in blood oxygen saturation, and followed by an awakening to breathe. This is called an apnea event. Respiratory effort continues during the episodes of apnea. An analogy might be helpful: OSA is like putting your hand over your vacuum cleaner intake nozzle. Your hand blocks all air from getting through (upper airway collapse) even though the vacuum cleaner is still applying suction (respiratory effort continues). The vacuum cleaner is usually straining somewhat at this time, and so does the human body.
Central Sleep Apnea is defined as a neurological condition causing cessation of all respiratory effort during sleep, usually with decreases in blood oxygen saturation. To return to the vacuum cleaner analogy: central sleep apnea would be like pulling the plug on the vacuum cleaner. No power, no suction: if the brainstem center controlling breathing shuts down there's no respiratory effort and no breathing. The person is aroused from sleep by an automatic breathing reflex, so may end up getting very little sleep at all.
Note that CSA, which is a neurogical disorder, is very different in cause than OSA, which is a physical blockage - though the effects are highly similar.
Mixed sleep apnea, as the name suggests, is a combination of the previous two. An episode of mixed sleep apnea usually starts with a central component and then becomes obstructive in nature. Generally the central component of the apnea becomes less troublesome once the obstructive apnea is treated.
Note that for any type of apnea to even be considered of importance it must be at least 10 seconds in duration or longer. Specialists usually consider 5 or more of such apneas per hour to be of possible clinical significance (less than 5 per hour is normal). However, another important factor is whether the person is excessively tired during the day.
One of the best people to help you answer this question is your bed partner. People with sleep apnea generally have the following symptoms:
Probably not. Most people with sleep apnea do not realize that they are awakening to breathe many times during the night. The arousal is slight, and people become accustomed to this, but it is enough to disrupt the pattern of sleep so that they get very little deep sleep or REM sleep, and awaken feeling sleepy. A great many (probably most) apnea sufferers go through a large part (or ALL) of their lives unaware of their condition.
Likewise regarding daytime sleepiness: people with sleep apnea often are not aware of feeling tired or unusually sleepy. The disorder develops over a number of years, and they are not aware of the increasing symptoms and believe they feel "normal". Only after treatment do they realize how much more alert and energetic "normal" feels!
As with most medical questions, if you have any doubt, the best thing to do is see your doctor. Unfortunately, many doctors are not highly knowledgeable about sleep disorders. You might want to contact one of the sleep disorder foundations to find out your nearest accredited sleep specialist or sleep disorders center.
The only definite way to diagnose OSA is to spend a night in a sleep lab undergoing a "polysomnogram," (or "PSG" - a sleep study). This is probably what your doctor will recommend.
Many doctors are not familiar with sleep disorders. Your doctor may refer you to an Otolaryngologist (ENT - "Ear, Nose, & Throat" doctor), pulmonologist, or sleep disorders expert or you may even suggest it. On rare occaisions, in the author's personal opinion, a doctor may not take apnea seriously enough. It has been reported that some people have to actively prod their doctors a bit. If your doctor seems inclined to pass the potential of apnea off as relatively unimportant, you may want to consider getting a second opinion.
Insurance note: many managed health care insurance plans now require that you MUST see your "primary care" doctor (your regular doctor) before you can see a specialist. Be sure you check with your insurance company, or your firm's benefits coordinator, before beginning your diagnosis and treatment for apnea. It's been my experience that most insurance plans cover PSGs ("sleep studys") and treatment (usually a CPAP machine), but of course plans vary - save yourself some potential aggravation and check ahead of time!
It's possible, but not definite. Some people snore who do not have OSA. It's even possible, though extrememly rare, for someone who has OSA to not snore. (However, if the person has excessive daytime sleepiness, he/she may have another type of sleep disordered breathing, such as upper airway resistance syndrome, or a different type of sleep disorder). Pay attention to the sound and pattern of snoring: is it a steady, regular snoring, or is it loud, frequent, and occurring in periodic bursts punctuated by periods of silence, normal breathing, and/or gasping for air? The latter is a very good indicator of OSA.
There are thousands of "cures" for snoring. Most of them are old wive's tales that vary from ridiculous to dangerous to both. Few of them are effective. This FAQ is not concerned with snoring, but rather with the disorder of sleep apnea. For further information, research snoring itself. Be aware that there doesn't appear to be any guaranteed, safe "quick fix". However, if you've been through a PSG and have been diagnosed as not having sleep apnea, there are a few things you can try:
Absolutely. In rare cases, apnea can be fatal. Think about it: is something that makes you stop breathing something you consider to not be dangerous? It has also been linked to high blood pressure and to increased chances of heart disease, stroke, and irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias). Unfortunately, not all of the long-term effects of untreated sleep apnea are known, but specialists generally agree that the effects are harmful. If nothing else, the continual lack of quality sleep can affect your life in many ways including depression, irritability, loss of memory, lack of energy, a high risk of auto and workplace accidents, and many other problems.
This is not something to ignore or trifle with. While it isn't usually immediately dangerous, don't take it lightly. If you think it will go away by itself - don't. It won't.
There are only a few effective treatments for OSA. They fall into several categories: weight loss, surgery, dental appliances, and a breathing-assistance device. Oral appliances, created by a dentist working with a sleep disorders physician, are an option that can be effective. The most popular and most effective method is the use of a device which delivers air under slight pressure to the airway by way of a nasal mask. There are several types of positive airway pressure devices including CPAP , bi-level positive airway pressure, and responsive and "smart" airway pressure devices. They are all variations on Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP.
There is no guaranteed, permanent, device-free "cure" for apnea!
The type of treatment prescribed will depend on the type and location of airway obstruction and on the person's overall health. Obstructions can occur anywhere from the nose (deviated septum; swollen nasal passages from allergies), the upper pharynx (enlarged adenoids; long soft palate; large uvula; large tonsils), or the lower pharynx (tongue that is large or situated far back; short jaw; short, wide neck with narrow airway). The location of obstructions varies between individuals, and an individual may have more than one obstruction.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
"Nasal CPAP" is the treatment of choice for most people with obstructive and mixed apnea. It is the most reliable and effective treatment in most cases. Hundreds of thousands of CPAP devices are now in use treating obstructive sleep apnea.
It involves using a small air blower device connected via a hose to a nose mask you wear while you sleep - much like a regular oxygen mask, with straps to keep it in place. Essentially, this devices blows air into your nose to keep your airway from collapsing and creating an obstruction by increasing the air pressure in your airways. It isn't as unpleasant as it sounds - most people get used to the sensation fairly quickly.
Admittedly, having to wear a face mask to bed isn't the most attractive thing in the universe. All I can say about that is: you have to live with it. Also, most bed partners are usually happy to live with that rather than snoring! And it is infintely preferable to the effects of apnea, both the fatigue and the other physical effects (additional strain on the heart, &c.). The exact results vary, but great many people report significant changes in their lives when they start using CPAP - they feel more awake, more alive - "like a whole different person", in some cases.
Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure
Bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP is one such device) is a variation on CPAP. Instead of providing air at a constant, steady pressure all night, the machines "senses" how much air a person needs, based on inspiration and expiration, and varies its level of pressure accordingly. On inspiration, a higher pressure is needed to prevent apneas, hypopneas, or snoring. But on expiration the patient typically requires several centimeters less of pressure.
What is the purpose of this? Well, some people find that they simply cannot sleep with regular CPAP due to the constant air pressure. Bi-level pressure helps this problem by providing less pressure when you are breathing out (exhaling) , and more when you are breathing in (inspiring).
I would like to comment at this point that people probably should not view bi-level pressure devices as a cure-all if you're not happy with your current CPAP. I suggest that you spend some time getting used to regular CPAP. Don't give up on it because it feels weird for the first few nights. One gets used to it after time. Just because CPAP is annoying at first does not necessarily mean you need bi-level pressure. Give it time.
Several manufacturers make bi-level airway pressure devices. BiPAP is a trademark of Respironics.
Bi-level pressure devices are significantly more expensive than regular CPAP, and I've heard that most insurance companies will not pay for it unless your doctor essentially demands it.
Responsive and "smart" airway pressure
In the belief that the reduction of total airway flow would provide greater comfort to the patient and encourage patients to use the airway pressure treatment on a regular basis, several manufacturers have begun to offer a new generation of treatment devices. These devices incorporate flow and pressure sensors and automatic regulation systems. There are three basic approaches. One approach tries to keep overall pressure requirements low by using high pressure only when there is a specific problem, but this requires a very rapid increase in pressure when a problem is detected. The second approach (Horizon AutoAdjust, Virtuoso )varies the pressure delivered, providing less when problems are absent, and raising the pressure gradually when problems appear. The third approach (Sullivan AutoSet) gradually raises and lowers the pressure as conditions require, but also changes the pressure within a specific breath if an emerging problem is detected.
DPAP (demand positive airway pressure) uses a low base pressure and rapidly ramps up the pressure after an airway obstruction or flow limitation occurs. This rapid ramp-up of pressure is used for each breath in which a breathing problem is detected. This product is no longer manufactured.
In the approach taken by several other manufacturers, pressure changes are designed to be smooth and gradual, although each device has unique characteristics. These include: Horizon AutoAdjust by DeVilbiss, the Sullivan AutoSet by ResMed, and the Virtuoso Smart CPAP system by Respironics.
In the Horizon AutoAdjust by DeVilbiss, pressure changes are designed to be gradual. Thus, in response to airway obstructions or flow limitation, these devices gradually increase pressure over a period of several breaths until the problem is overcome. Then the devices gradually reduce the pressure.
The Virtuoso Smart CPAP system by Respironics monitors the airway for vibrations which typically preceed apneas and responds by increasing pressure to help prevent airway collapse. In the absence of such vibrations, pressure is reduced.
The Sullivan AutoSet by ResMed uses flow information to increase pressures rapidly enough to pre-empt an emerging problem and thus prevent significant flow limitation, while using a history of recent breaths to gradually raise and lower overall pressures.
Devices like the Horizon AutoAdjust, the Sullivan AutoSet, or the Virtuoso Smart CPAP system by Respironics can be used in the laboratory or home to titrate (determine) individual pressure requirements and thus be used to determine the prescription for a CPAP device. The professional doing the titration receives extensive data on the patient, equivalent to a home sleep study. The devices (sometimes in special configurations for long-term home use may also be used as an alternative to CPAP or bi-level airway pressure.)
Compared to CPAP, 'smart' devices may offer greater patient comfort insofar as the overall pressure is reduced, providing that the changes in pressure reduce or eliminate apnea, snoring, or flow limitation, and also provided that the changing pressures are tolerated by the patient. They may be used for patients whose pressure requirements may vary during the course of a night, from night-to-night, and over longer periods of time.
As professionals in the field of sleep disorders gain experience with these devices and their appropriate applications, they may provide an additional path to relief for selected patients. As with any new form of treatment, physicians and patients may need to review studies of each device before selecting the one most appropriate to the needs of the specific patient.
Clinical research on these devices is being presented at professional meetings. In one study of treatment , a comparison was made among three conditions: untreated; treated based on professionaly determined pressure settings applied to a manual or traditional CPAP; and pressure determined by the 'smart' CPAP. Both the manual and auto treatments reduced obstructions to breathing, with the manual being more effective in reducing apneas or hypopneas, but the auto system operated at a 35% lower average airway pressure than manual CPAP.
Oral appliances, created by a dentist working with a sleep disorders physician, can keep the airway open, thus lessening or eliminating snoring and apnea. For further information on oral appliances, see Oral Appliance FAQ, prepared by Gail Demko, D.M.D., who specializes in oral appliances for treatment of sleep apnea. Dr. Demko is credentialed by the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (ADSM) and she is the Chairperson of the Education Committee of the ADSM. Our discussion of oral appliances in Sleep Apnea--the Phantom of the Night is based on her writings and expertise.
This surgery removes the uvula and tightens up the soft tissue of the palate and upper throat (pharynx). It can be done separately or in conjunction with other treatments, depending on where in the airway the obstructions occur. There are the usual surgical risks involved with this surgery. Notable ones are general anesthetic (depresses breathing reflex and can be risky in people with breathing problems like sleep apnea), swelling of the airway, need for pre- and post-operative medications (may depress the breathing reflex), bleeding, and significant pain lasting up to several weeks.
Is it effective? Will it free me from having to wear a CPAP
machine for life?
This surgery seems to have a history of being about 50% effective in about 50% of patients who have it. In other words, many of the people who have UPPP will end up having to use CPAP anyway. It is almost never a "cure-all." In the author's personal opinion (and remember: this is not medical advice!), the risks and side effects of the surgery are usually not worth it. No, I have not had it. However, I have yet to hear from a person who was happy that they had the surgery, though of course there probably are some. This is a decision that each person has to make, but I advise you give it a great deal of thought beforehand. Surgery is not something to be undergone on a whim, and certainly not for the sole (and somewhat vain, in my opinion) reason of ridding yourself of the need for CPAP.
LAUP is a relatively new laser surgery on the uvula and soft palate that is reported to diminish snoring, but no controlled studies have been done to show that it reduces sleep apnea. Because it is less extensive than UPPP, it is unlikely to be any more effective than UPPP in treating obstructive apnea. It is usually done in several steps, and is an outpatient procedure. For that reason it is less risky than UPPP.
LAUP is a relatively new procedure, and there is little data as yet concerning its effectiveness. Since this procedure has been developed, it has been somewhat heavily advertised as a "cure for snoring" in magazines and newspapers. This is, in the author's personal opinion, somewhat misleading and potentially dangerous. While the procedure may sometimes be effective in helping people who snore but do not have apnea, the main danger from LAUP is that people may eliminate their snoring and assume that their problems are solved, when in fact they may still have untreated sleep apnea which may continue to get worse but be ignored because its primary alarm signal (snoring) has been silenced. Potential patients should be careful that they don't see an ad in the paper, call the doctor, and rush into a LAUP procedure without research and consideration.
The American Sleep Disorders Association has published standards of practice for LAUP. Their recommendations are as follows:
Reference: SLEEP Volume 17(8):pages 744-748.
Also see another article on LAUP.
May be done to open nasal passages, to correct a deviated septum, or to improve the ability to use CPAP.
Several procedures have been used to enlarge the lower and sometimes also the upper jaw, thereby attempting to make more room for the airway. Which patients will be helped by this type of surgery is not yet predictable except in severe cases of facial malformation, and only a few surgical teams have extensive experience and have reported their results in the medical literature. This probably should be considered semi-experimental surgery.
Do not try to diagnose or treat yourself! If you have apnea, it is wiser and safer to get professional treatment. Apnea is a chronic condition--it won't go away, it probably can not be cured, but if you work closely with your doctor, you can manage it and live a normal life free of excessive fatigue. Your treatment, in most cases, will require that you do some things daily: you need to monitor yourself to be sure you are not sleepy during the day; you need to apply the treatment each night (CPAP, oral appliance, etc.); you need to communicate with your care givers to solve any problems; and you need to maintain a healthy life style. You can use the techniques below, in consultation with your sleep specialist/doctor, while your treatment progresses. Whle you can't "cure" your apnea, there are several things doctors suggest you do that can greatly alleviate it:
If you're overweight, do it! Excess weight contibutes to obstructive sleep apnea in two ways: 1. Fat deposits in the neck tissue compress the airway and make it more likely to collapse. 2. Excess weight in the abdomen makes the breathing muscles operate inefficiently, which contributes to breathing difficuty when sleeping.
Weight loss by itself is very difficult (as many of us know). Sometimes people are only able, or much better able, to lose their excess weight after treatment for sleep apnea has begun, they are able to be more awake and vigorous, and increase their energy use.
Naturally, weight loss is just a generally very healthy thing (if you're overweight - if your weight is normal, don't starve yourself!)
As with the loss of excess weight, this is, of course, just a good idea in general. However, quitting might also help your sleep apnea in addition to its countless other health benefits, by returning lung capacity to normal.
The author has personally found the nicotine patches now available to be of great assistance when trying toi quit smoking. But be warned - they don't do it for you - it still requires an effort on your part. They don't make it easy, but they make it easier.
Eliminate alcohol in the evening. Alcohol depresses your breathing reflexes and significantly worsens sleep apnea.
Apnoea sufferers should be very careful about excessive drunkenness. It's possible that if you depress your reflexes enough, you might not wake up at all. The same thing goes for sleeping pills, drugs, or anything that might affect your breathing.
Many common medications interfere with either the breathing reflex or sleep or both. Some of the most common are "sleeping pills", tranquilizers, and short-acting beta blockers. Consult your sleep specialist about seeking alternative medications. A list of medications that affect breathing or sleep can be found in "Snoring and Sleep Apnoea: Personal and Family Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment," by Pascualy and Soest, Demos Vermande Publishing: New York, 1995.
The answer to this varies, but generally there are things you can do, depending on your individual situation:
This is probably the easiest and most effective thing you can do: spend time learning how to adjust your headgear and mask. Many people struggle with it and call it uncomfortable when they haven't really tried to adjust it properly. It's especially tough when you;re sleepy and fumbling with it in the dark.
Take some time. Sit down at the table during the day with the headgear. Take it apart. See where all the straps, buckles, and velcro seams are. Figure out what each one does. Generally familiarize yourself with it. Put it on. Adjust it so it's the most comfortable, and note what each strap has to be like to achieve this. Ask someone to help you, if necessary
One thing I have found is that a lot of people mistakenly think that the solution to all problems with air leakage is to adjust the straps more tightly. That frequently doesn't help. Usually air leakage problems are due to positioning, not pressure. The author's arrangement leaks no air and is adjusted rather loosely. Naturally, there has to be enough pressure to keep a seal, but make sure you have everything positioned just right before you start tightening the straps greatly.
Only you can tell what works best and you'll have to experiment a bit to find out.
Some people have found that putting a hook in the wall over the bed, and hanging the hose over that helps to keep it from "tugging" on the mask and headgear by removing the weight of the hose.
If you find the incoming air to be too dry, and your sinuses are drying out, many manufacturers offer a humidifier as an option. Essentially, this is a (rather expensive, for what it is) piece of plastic which you fill with water and place in between the machine and your mask. The air flows over the water and picks up moisture, just like a regular house humidifier. A heated humidifier in line with the CPAP can make a significant difference in comfort.
Most CPAP machines are very quiet. Most people don't mind it, and some even find the soft "white noise" of rushing air to be relaxing. Some, however, find the noise of the machine disturbing. The only two things you can do are 1) block the noise somehow, or 2) put the machine further away.
To block the noise, try putting the machine behind something - a dresser or board, perhaps. However, DO NOT PLACE ANYTHING OVER THE CPAP UNIT OR BLOCK THE FLOW OF AIR IN ANY WAY! Remember, this machine pumps air - if you cut off the air flow, you could damage it or ever start a fire. It must have plenty of space around it so air can circulate.
Unfortunately, there's really nothing you can do about this. Even if you bought Gucci headgear and mask, there's no hiding the fact that you're wearing headgear and a mask. If you think your bed partner doesn't like it, ask them if they find snoring more attractive.
Try these things at your own risk - I am not responsible for any problems that might arise from attempting any of these solutions!
I didn't really want to include this one, but so many "questions" boil down to this, I had to. Sorry if it sounds harsh, but some people need to hear it. If you could read my email, you'd agree.
Look, as things stand right now, there just isn't a "cure" for OSA." Deal with it. No matter how much you want a quick, easy solution - there isn't one. Now, it's true that there are treatments other than CPAP, and some of them work for some people. It's true that you might be able to alleviate the severity of your apnea by doing some things (mentioned above). In some cases, people can even reduce the severity enough to eliminate the need for CPAP.
But probably not. I wouldn't pin my hopes on it. You should probably resign yourself to the fact that, if you have moderate to severe OSA, you will have to use CPAP for the rest of your life, unless some miraculous new cure is discovered.
I see many, many people running headlong to surgery in the hopes that maybe it will solve the problem. Yes, in some cases, UPPP surgery might help. But even the most optimistic estimates only put the success rate at 50%. Those odds aren't good enough for me, personally, but of course everyone has to make their own decisions. I just suggest you do some long, hard thinking first. No surgery is without risk.
I'l say it again, so it's clear: UPPP surgery is not a panacea or magical cure for OSA. That doesn't mean it can never help. But if you run to surgery as a solution just because you're tired of CPAP - you're a fool.
Look at it this way: many, many people suffer with physical problems much worse than yours. Would you prefer to have to have kidney dialysis? Or chemotherapy? How about a wheelchair or missing limb? All you have to do is wear a little mask at night. Small price to pay. You got lucky.
And always remember to look on the bright side: CPAP usually has tangible benefits. You probably feel more rested, more energetic, less tired. Do you want to go back to the way you were?
Yeah, I know CPAP can be a pain sometimes. I know it isn't the snuggliest thing in the world when you're trying to get romantic with your bedfellow. I know sometimes you just want to rip it off and fling it across the room. If you're like me, you probably do just that once in a while. But....grow up. Deal with it. It's not that bad. Would you rather have a real defect? Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Quit whining, resign yourself, and concentrate on other things. Try to break the habit of thinking that life owes you a quick, easy fix for every problem or inconvenience.
Nasal pillows ("Adam circuit" is another name for the same thing) refers to a different method of delivering air with a CPAP machine. Basically, these are nose plugs that you use in place of a traditional mask over your nose (you still connect it to the hose to CPAP machine, like a mask). It is less bulky than a mask, and there aren't as many problems with air leaking out. The author greatly prefers this option, though of course it's a matter of personal preference.
Nasal pillows are also a nice option for people who find the mask irritates their skin and/or leaves them with pressure marks or blemishes due to skin oil.
To acquire nasal pillows, ask the health equipment provider where you got your CPAP.
There are several different manufacturers of CPAP machines, each with different models. They all perform the same basic functions; the major differences are in price, weight, and options. Some are "bare bones" while some have many options including such things as voltage converters (handy for people who travel to foreign countries) and even remote controls! You'd have to do some research. Unless there's some option that you really need, it probably doesn't matter.
The following is an email from Bill Gonda . I'm not an electrician. I don't know anything more about it. For related information on the use of battery backup power, see Why bother with a back-up system? Alternative and backup power supplies.
"I use a CPAP device for my apnea...it changed my life. One interesting bit of experience that will probably be of use to no one else in the world is my experience using solar power to charge a battery to run my machine while we went on safari in Kenya and Tanzania in August.
We did lots of camping and spent half of the time in places where there was no electricity. Big problem for me and my wife and kids (let alone the Western half of Kenya) due to the loudness of my snoring.
I have a Puritan-Bennett 318 Companion (light weight compact..are there any smaller ones?). It has a plug for a 12 V DC battery . Here's what I did to use the CPAP at night:
- I used a car battery that I bought in Nairobi. $50.
- Hooked up a Radio Shack DC power receptacle (This consists of two small clips and a lighter socket)(#270-1527A) ($5) to the PB 12V DC power cord. ($12)
- That plugged into the Machine to run it at night.
The problem came in how to charge the battery during the day with no electricity anywhere. It is very sunny in Kenya during the summer !! So I brought with me two 5 watt MSX-lite solar panels. (made by Solarex) They are the size of a sheet of typing paper and 1/4" thick and weigh about 14 oz. each. They worked great. I could charge the battery in about 8 hours. Even in the most remote campsites I could run my CPAP machine for 8 hours straight.
The 5 Watt panels are expensive ($80 each) but are fantastic, and really indestructible. It allowed me to go anywhere and still have my CPAP working. We also could have run it off the Safari van, but our tents were often far away from the parking area. The only real nuisance was having to carry the battery to the camp...but much better than being asleep all day."
The answer to this is: I'm sorry, I don't know. All I can suggest is that maybe you try one of the big sleep-disorder-related organizations.
Copyright 1995 Doug Linder. Copyright 1996 New Technology Publishing, Inc.
There may be errors, omissions, or areas which need clarification in this file. If you think you have discovered one, please write to the current editor, Jerry Halberstadt
Doug Linder has retired as editor and compiler of this FAQ. Thanks, Doug, for your pioneering effort! It will be maintained by Jerry Halberstadt as part of the Phantom Sleep Page.
New Technology Publishing, Inc. is pleased to make available this information, as prepared by Doug Linder, by publishing it as part of the Phantom Sleep Page. Assigned to New Technology Publishing, Inc. Copyright © 1996 New Technology Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.
Our publications (online, email, print, or any other communications or phone contacts) do not provide medical advice or a professional service. No one including the publisher, editors, editorial advisors, or the authors of any material in this site is engaged in providing any medical or professional advice or services through the publication, distribution or sale of articles, books, materials, tests or quizzes, on this site or in communications by phone, email, or any other means. Persons with suspected or diagnosed sleep apnea syndrome or any sleep disorder or other condition including COPD discussed in this site should consult with a physician and other qualified professionals for advice concerning their own treatment.
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