Tips for Successful Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) Device Use
Tips for Successful Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) Device Use

Medication, Devices & Supplements

Tips for Successful Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) Device Use

  1. Begin using your PAP device for short periods of time during the day while you watch TV or read.
  2. Use your PAP device every night and for every nap, making it part of your bedtime routine. Using it less often reduces the health benefits and makes it difficult for your body to get used to it. If you are having problems remembering to use the yourPAP device every night, ask someone you trust to hold you accountable for using it or consider joining a support group.
  3. Increase your level of comfort by making gradual adjustments to your mask, tubing, straps and headgear until you get the right fit. If these small adjustments don’t work, you may need a different mask or headgear. You can also try using a special bed pillow that is shaped for a PAP mask and/or hose.
  4. If the pressure feels too high, use the “ramp” mode on your device so the air pressure increases slowly to the proper prescribed level. Ramp mode will start your device on a low-pressure setting and gradually increase the pressure over time. This way, you should be able to fall asleep when your device is on a lower setting. If this does not help, talk to your healthcare provider about different types of PAP machines.
  5. Nasal congestion can sometimes be a problem with PAP treatment. You may use a saline nasal spray to ease mild nasal congestion.
  6. More severe nasal or sinus congestion may be helped by using a nasal decongestant. If you continue to have problems, please contact your sleep physician for alternatives.
  7. Some PAP devices have heated humidifiers, which are chambers filled with water on a heater plate. This feature ensures that you are breathing warm, moist air through your mask. Use a humidifier that fits your PAP model if you have a dry mouth, throat or nose.
  8. If you are using a heated humidifier and the tubing fills with water, turn down the heat settings on the humidifier and keep the PAP device at a level lower than your head.
  9. If you find the sound of the PAP device to be annoying, place a mouse pad or foam under your PAP device to dampen the sound. Do not place your device on a carpet.
  10. Clean your mask, tubing and headgear once a week. Add this to your calendar so that you do not forget to do it.
  11. Regularly check and replace the filters for your PAP device and humidifier.
  12. Closely work with your Respiratory Therapist, Sleep Technologist or home equipment supplier to make sure that you have the PAP device, mask and the prescribed settings that work best for you.

Frequently asked questions

  1. What are the benefits of PAP therapy? PAP therapy will increase your energy levels, improve your mental alertness, mood, quality of sleep and quality of life.
  2. If I lose weight will I cure my OSA? That depends. Some people have shown decreased symptoms from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) after losing weight and removed from their PAP machine, whereas others have not. However, if you are overweight, losing weight will always improve your health and decrease your risks of developing other health issues
  3. How long will I need to use this machine? PAP therapy is just that—therapy. As long as you have OSA, you need to do something to improve your quality of sleep. After many years of experimenting with surgeries, oral appliances, special bed pillows, etc., PAP therapy is the gold standard for relieving and improving symptoms of OSA.
  4. What is "ramp" and what is its benefit? The ‘ramp’ mode allows a lower pressure to be delivered for a designated period of time (usually 5 - 45 minutes) to allow you to relax and fall asleep easier. The pressure will then gradually increase to a prescribed pressure that controls your OSA.
  5. Do I need to use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) all night? Almost as soon as you stop CPAP, your OSA will come back. You should use your CPAP whenever you sleep, even during daytime naps. Some people find this hard, but you should try to use it all night, every night. Remember that if you do not use it, it does not work. Recent studies show that the more you use it, the more you will benefit.
  6. Are there any dangers associated with PAP devices? PAP is extremely safe. If you are having surgery, talk to your surgeon about when it is safe to use CPAP. This is especially the case if the surgery is on your nose, airways or eyes. Many surgeons and anesthetists prefer their patients to bring their CPAP to the hospital with them because it helps during the recovery process after the surgery.
  7. What happens if I have a blocked nose and a cold? Using PAP with the humidifier can help your blocked nose. Using a full face mask is an alternative if you have prolonged nose obstruction. A nasal spray or decongestant can help with nasal or sinus congestion.
  8. Can I use my CPAP with a battery? Yes. The batteries usually last on average from four to six hours depending on the capacity. For further details, please contact the supplier.

© Copyright 2017 Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. All rights reserved.

This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala Healthcare, and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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