Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is the most effective and widespread treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. For many people diagnosed with this condition, a CPAP machine can be life-altering as a consistently better night’s rest leads to more energy during the day and better overall health. But realizing these results depends on achieving a high level of what is called “CPAP Compliance.”
Defined simply, CPAP Compliance is a measure of how much a patient uses a CPAP machine. This includes how many nights per week the machine is used, as well as how many hours per night the machine is operating at full effectiveness. Combined together, this provides the number of hours per week that a user is receiving effective CPAP therapy. This data is summarized in your CPAP Compliance Report.
What is considered good CPAP compliance?
In most cases, CPAP Compliance is considered to be 4 hours of effective use on 70% of nights. So over the course of a month, this means that you must use the device 22 out of 30 nights for at least 4 hours per night. If you used the device for only 3 hours and 59 minutes one night, that night is not considered compliant. When you look at this as a fraction of the average amount of time a person spends sleeping per month - ~8 hours per night X 30 nights = 240 hours - that is a mere 37% of the time. While many patients experience apneas all night long, they are receiving the therapy they need just over a third of the time!
Imagine another necessary medical device, such as a pacemaker, was held to such a low standard. Operating effectively a paltry 37% of the time would be completely unacceptable. So how can this be defined as adequate CPAP Compliance??
Factors that affect CPAP Compliance
Sleep apnea patients need effective relief at all times while they are sleep. So why has the bar been set so low for CPAP Compliance? Well, there are a number of factors inhibiting the efficacy and practicality of CPAP devices. These include:
Mouth Leaks:The number one enemy of CPAP Compliance is mouth leaks. Essentially, when using a CPAP device, its efficacy is depending on keeping your mouth closed. When there is even a small gap between your lips, air leaks out, comprising the flow of air in and out of your nose. This stops the delivery of therapy and can cause the user to wake up frequently throughout the night, leading to sleep fragmentation. As a result, users experience daytime sleepiness and irritability. It is also not uncommon for a user to become frustrated with the device and stop using it.
Discomfort:A second issue that many people experience is the discomfort of using a full face mask or a chin strap. Chin straps are often used to try and combat mouth leaks, as well as the problems associated with mouth breathing. However, chin straps can be hot, itchy, and irritating. The same goes for full face masks. This again leads to users become frustrated in their inability to get quality, comfortable sleep and the CPAP equipment ends up collecting dust in the closet as a result.
Nasal Congestion from Mouth Breathing:Ever wake up feeling stuffy and congested in your sinuses? This is likely a result of mouth breathing while you are sleeping. You see, when we mouth breathe we are actuallyoverbreathing, meaning that we are actually respiratingtoo much air. To slow our breathing, our body releases mucous to slow airflow through the nose. But as we continue to mouth breathe this creates a vicious cycle. With CPAP patients, this is especially problematic since blocked nasal passageways prevent effective therapy, therefore reducing Compliance.
From these key issues, it is clear that by eliminating mouth breathing in a practical and comfortable way, we could drastically increase our CPAP Compliance scores. Thankfully, there is a way to do that! We’ll get there in a minute.
Why does my insurance company care about my CPAP Compliance?
In most cases, insurance companies pay 80-90% of the cost of CPAP devices. To reduce costs, they don’t want to pay for a machine that is just going to collect dust in your closet. Therefore, the typically will pay to lease a machine for the first few months to make sure that it works well for you. During this time - and even beyond the initial lease period - they will want to see your CPAP Compliance score in order to determine if your use of the machine justifies the cost. By showing that you are using the machine sufficiently, they will continue to pay the costs.
With certain professions, such as pilots or drivers, you may have to share your CPAP Compliance scores with the government. This is a safety measure since poor or ineffective CPAP usage leads to daytime sleepiness. Unfortunately, this measure has led to users trying to trick their machines into reporting higher-than-actual usage numbers.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are ways to improve your CPAP Compliance and, more importantly, improve the effectiveness of the sleep apnea therapy that you are receiving.
How to Improve CPAP Compliance
As mentioned previously, we need to hold CPAP Compliance to a higher standard. Discomfort and poor design drastically reduce the efficacy of many CPAP devices. Even if the machine works great under the perfect conditions of a laboratory, full face masks, chin straps, and other accessories can be cumbersome and uncomfortable when worn night after night. These leads to frustration, reduced compliance, and - over the long term - serious health issues.
But there is a way to make it work. To help you improve your CPAP Compliance score and get the therapy that you need to improve your health and energy levels, the most impactful thing you can do is eliminate mouth leaks. Thankfully, SomniFix Strips make that easy.
As we explored above, the enemy number one of CPAP Compliance is mouth leaks. SomniFix Strips are the most comfortable, practical solution to instantly stop mouth leaks in their tracks. By using a gentle, skin-safe adhesive, SomniFix Strips create a secure seal so that air cannot pass through your lips. When used in combination with a nasal mask, this induces nose breathing, allowing you to receive uninterrupted therapy all night long.
CPAP + SomniFix - the Sleep Apnea Power Couple
Tens of thousands of CPAP users have turned from frustration to complete satisfaction after discovering SomniFix Strips. By using SomniFix Strips in conjunction with a nasal mask, users have taken their CPAP therapy from a couple hours per night a few times a week to full, uninterrupted nights every single evening. Your CPAP device is necessary for your energy levels, restfulness, and long term health. Stop dreading restless nights and instead experience great sleep with a CPAP device. Click here to learn more about SomniFix for CPAP.
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