When to Replace CPAP Supplies?

For the longest time now, you are trying your hardest to combat sleep apnea. Medicines here and there, lifestyle adjustments, and a daily dose of CPAP therapy. For those who are new to the concept, CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. What it basically does is utilize a CPAP device to pump pressurized ambient air through a mask and tubing to the nose and mouth to open those clogged airways caused by sleep apnea. In concept, this therapy fixes the breathing stoppages and makes your sleeping experience better.

But have you bothered to check your CPAP supplies, considering your repeated therapy? There could be something in there that may do more harm than good!

CPAP Components

Typically, a CPAP therapy composes a bouquet of components such as:

  • Mask
  • Cushions/pillows
  • Headgear/chinstrap
  • Filters
  • Tubing
  • Water chamber
  • CPAP device

The usage concept of these things is comparable to our usage concept in toothbrushes or razors. For instance, things like mask and filter accumulate dirt, oil, and bacteria over a course of continuous and prolonged usage. Certainly, these particles will enter your body if you ignore them and the therapy may do more harm than good.

Guide to replace CPAP Parts

Factoring in the wear and tear, here are the guidelines on how often you should replace CPAP components:

  • Replace your mask every 3 months. The mask is an integral part of CPAP therapy since it delivers the pressurized air to your airways through your nose or mouth or both. If you notice that the mask is giving you unnecessary leaks, then it is a good signal that the mask should be replaced.
  • Replace your cushions/pillows as often as 2 times per month. The cushion is the part of the mask that touches your face, and it is the part that provides comfort. Over time and use, the silicone on the cushion or the nasal pillow can become soggy and not be as comfortable. This wear and tear can lead to air leaks, irritation, discomfort, and redness in the mask area and may require calibration of mask straps.
  • Replace your headgear and chin strap every 6 months. These parts make sure that the mask is securely worn on your face. Prolonged usage may cause them to lose durability and elasticity, leading to over-tightening and discomfort. When these things occur, the headgear and chinstrap probably need to be replaced.
  • Replace your filters every 2 weeks. CPAP filters make sure that the air being delivered from the machine is clean and free of harmful particles. Prolonged usage will eventually wear them out or become clogged. Chances of the filter being accumulated with dirt become higher if the surroundings are humid or dusty. Make sure to inspect your filters regularly and if necessary, put them on a CPAP cleaner before use. But a replacement is needed if the filters start showing signs of wear and discoloration.
  • Replace your tubing every 3 months. Tubing is the passageway of pressurized air from the machine to your airways. Over time it may suffer from wear and tear which results in poor air pressure than required. If the tubing loses transparency and incurs small tears, it is time to replace it.
  • Replace your humidifier water chamber every 6 months. A humidifier provides moisture to the air you breathe, preventing you from having a dry nose and throat, and aids in keeping your mouth closed while you sleep. If the humidifier develops cracks, pitted areas, or discoloration, best to discontinue use and have it checked for replacement. Reminder: always make sure to use distilled water in your water chamber.
  • Replace your CPAP machine every 3-7 years. The heart and soul of the CPAP therapy. Also, the one that perhaps has the most tedious job of supplying pressurized air to your airways daily. With that, it is only natural that your CPAP device loses its shine from the time it came out of the box. This is also factoring your usage habits, travel, and the severity of wear and tear. If the device stops working or malfunctions, contact your provider immediately. Much better if the product you purchased has a warranty.

Clean your CPAP Supplies

Earlier it was mentioned that cleaning your components is the first option. While it is not meant to substitute a total replacement, cleaning your entire CPAP gadgetry is a non-futile effort to maximize their intended lifespan. It also prevents you from hurriedly purchasing all the supplies, saving you some extra bucks.

There are a couple of ways to clean your supplies, and they are:

  1. Use of soap and quality clean warm water, and;
  2. Use of a CPAP cleaner

CPAP Cleaner

Soap and water may not be enough when cleaning your CPAP machine. A CPAP cleaner uses sophisticated technology such as UV light or activated oxygen to effectively clean your CPAP equipment and kills germs and bacterias.

Final Thoughts

As with all other things, your CPAP devices need time and care too. Ensuring that they are in absolute tip top shape and looking good as new makes a world of difference in treating your sleep apnea.

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