Questions about sleep apnea?

Your answers are here, welcome to your hub for all things around and sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea

OSA is a condition in which a person stops repeatedly breathing through the night—breathing stops because the throat or “airway” collapses and prevents air from getting into the lungs. Sleep patterns are disrupted, resulting in excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue.

  • Extra tissue in the back of the airway, such as large tonsils
  • Decrease in the tone of the muscles that hold the airway open
  • The tongue falls back and closes off the airway

Evaluation by a doctor specialising in sleep disorders is recommended. Have a sleep study done. A sleep study can provide the doctor with information about how you sleep and breathe. This information will help the doctor to determine your diagnosis and treatment options.

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease and heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Fatigue-related motor vehicle and work accidents
  • Decreased quality of life

Most commonly, positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy is the treatment of choice for OSA. It is non-invasive and can alleviate the symptoms of OSA when used as prescribed. Less commonly, surgery or oral appliances are used, which may be effective in certain cases. Any treatment plan should include weight loss if needed, exercise, and avoidance of alcohol, sedatives, and hypnotics.

  • Loud or disruptive snoring
  • Witnessed pauses in breathing
  • Choking or gasping for air during sleep
  • Restless sleep
  • Frequent visits to the bathroom
  • Overweight/Obesity
  • A large neck or tongue
  • Extra tissue or crowding in the airway

Sleep apnea is a long term condition. The most common therapy is CPAP therapy.

You may have come across two different spellings of sleep apnea – the US spelling ‘sleep apnea’ and the UK spelling ‘sleep apnoea’. The US spelling ‘sleep apnea’ is more widely recognised and we have therefore opted to use this spelling within our sleep apnea website

Mask therapy tips

Cleaning your mask every day is a very important part of mask maintenance. Here are three easy steps to keep your mask clean:

  • The mask should be disassembled per the Instructions for Use. Wash the mask components in warm water with mild soap and air dry. Avoid soap with moisturisers. Do not use bleach, alcohol, or cleaning solutions containing alcohol.
  • Wash your face thoroughly before using your mask. Avoid using skin lotions before putting on your mask.
  • Inspect your mask. Replace the mask if the cushion becomes hardened or if any parts become damaged.

Replacing your equipment is an important part of being successful with your sleep therapy. There are several factors you need to watch for related to replacing your mask:

  • seal deterioration in the mask
  • an improperly fitting mask
  • a mask damaged by improper cleaning

Avoid soap with conditioners or moisturisers. Do not use bleach, alcohol, or cleaning solutions containing alcohol

The headgear does not need to be removed for daily cleaning. However it should be washed weekly or as needed. It can be washed by hand in warm soapy water. Lay it flat or line dry. Do not place it in the dryer.


CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) treats OSA by providing a gentle flow of positive-pressure air through a facial mask to keep the airway open during sleep. As a result:

  • Breathing becomes regular during sleep
  • Snoring stops
  • Restful sleep is restored
  • Quality of life is improved

 – Risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and motor vehicle and work accidents is reduced

Most CPAP users who remain committed to treatment enjoy:

  • Increased energy and attentiveness
  • Fewer morning headaches
  • Reduced irritability
  • Improved memory
  • Increased ability to exercise
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Decreased risk of strokes and heart attacks
  • Increased effectiveness at home and work
  • The improved overall quality of life

Most people begin to feel better within the first week of use, though for some people it may take a little longer.

Snoring while on CPAP should not occur. If it does, contact your doctor. Your pressure level might need to be adjusted.

Yes. Also, if you are having surgery, it is important to tell the surgeon and the anesthesiologist that you are using CPAP at home. You should also inform the doctor treating you for sleep apnea that you are going into the hospital.

Most people will adjust to CPAP in one to two weeks. Occasionally, it may take a little longer if, for example, you are very sensitive to the feel of the mask on your face or the sound of the device. Call your homecare provider or your prescribing physician if you continue to have problems beyond two weeks. Ask if you are eligible to try a bi-level or auto-adjusting device.

Condensation builds up because the air in the room may be cooler than the air coming from the machine. To prevent this condensation from forming, try placing the tubing under the covers to warm it. There are also hose covers, or the best solution for this is the heated tube,

This sensation may improve over time as you adapt to positive airway pressure therapy. Ask your physician about comfort features, such as pressure relief technology or bi-level therapy, which makes it easier to breathe out against pressure.

You can adjust the way your tubing is laying on your bed by placing it under the edge of your pillow where you will not lay on it and block the airflow. You can position the tubing up over the top of the headboard—or through the headboard if it has holes. If you have the Nuance or Wisp mask, there is a loop on the headgear that allows the tubing to be placed in an upward position instead of pointing down.

Check the power cord to ensure it is firmly inserted into the back of the machine and the electrical outlet. If this is not the problem, contact your home care provider. Do not attempt to repair the blower or any other parts from your CPAP machine on your own.

Check that the air from the therapy device is blowing. Then, check the air inlet and filter for obstruction or dust build-up. Inspect the hose for punctures. If you are still having problems, check with your homecare provider or doctor for assistance.