Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that affects millions of people around the world and most experts agree that it is best controlled by the use of a PAP device.
Often simply referred to as OSA, obstructive sleep apnea can be worrisome -- with serious health implications.
A positive airway pressure or PAP device combats sleep apnea by delivering a constant flow of pressurized air to the nose and/or mouth through a system of tubes linking a small generator to a mask.
The pressurized air forces the air passage to remain open thus allowing the user to sleep normally and without the constant interruptions caused by OSA.
As with most medical devices today, there is a range of models to choose from -- and whether buying a PAP online or in a store -- it is important to select the type of device that is most suitable and appropriate for individual needs.
Although sleep apnea is more common than many people realize it is not something that should merely be assumed because of sleeping problems.
The condition must be properly diagnosed by trained professionals. This is done by undergoing testing in a recognized sleep laboratory -- or via a carefully monitored sleep study at home.
The results of the tests will be fully analyzed before any recommendations are made regarding the best course of treatment.
When obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed, the doctor or specialist will recommend positive airway pressure therapy and a suitable mask type depending on the patient.
Whether buying a PAP device online or in-store, a prescription is necessary -- and it is prudent to follow your doctor’s advice on the type of device and mask that best suits your personal requirements. This is important as different devices come with different pressure settings and features.
Some of these may be necessary -- while some may not -- but the buyer should be aware of the precise specifications of the device under consideration, and whether it can deliver the precise PAP therapy required or not.
Any device (and accessories) should only be purchased from a recognized and authorized vendor -- and should be new rather than used. Although reconditioned devices can be cheaper, this is often a false economy as there is no guarantee the device will function as it should.
The pressure may not be calibrated correctly, and there is always the unseen risk of air leaks, bacterial build-up in the tubing system or faults in the generator.
It is better to be safe when it comes to an important purchase such as a PAP device and these should only be obtained from:
Physician. Once supplied with the sleep study results, a physician can determine the most suitable device for the OSA patient --trusting a sleep company that provides PAP devices after a home sleep study can save you time and money while ensuring compliance with the therapy.
Sleep Clinic. If the sleep evaluation test was conducted at a sleep clinic, it may be possible to purchase the device and accessories directly from the clinic. This will ensure professional guidance is given -- and also provide the opportunity to try out the device and various mask options.
Medical Supplier. Many medical supply companies now carry a range of PAP devices and accessories. Trained staff should be able to provide suggestions and advice based on the prescription and sleep study results.
Online. Buying a PAP online is very common nowadays and provides the biggest number of options. Any online purchase should only be made through a recognized and authorized dealer -- and caution should be exercised, as not all websites are trustworthy or approved.
There are numerous positive airway pressure devices available on the market --and professional guidance is necessary to choose the most suitable one for an individual's needs.
A doctor's prescription will provide clear instructions as to which type of device is best -- and also provide the correct pressure settings to be used.
It is vital that the doctor's orders are followed if the therapy is to be effective. Choosing a device that is cheaper, or cannot perform at the required level, is a foolish exercise as well as a waste of time and money.
The same is true of purchasing the necessary attachments and accessories including masks, air hoses and filters.
Only purchase any attachments from authorized dealers and ensure they meet the specifications of the device being used. Poorly fitting masks and air hoses will lead to leaks which will reduce the level of air pressure required to be effective.
Not all masks, air hoses and filters are compatible with all devices and users should be aware of this before making any impulsive purchases.
To ensure the best outcome: purchase the most suitable PAP device, use compatible accessories, and follow the instructions provided on the prescription and the instruction leaflet provided with the PAP machine.
A top-quality PAP machine cannot guarantee the results if it is not operating at its optimum level. Failure to follow doctor's orders, using inferior accessories, and failing to follow proper maintenance procedures will only negate the benefits of PAP therapy -- and fail to deliver what is required: an undisturbed and restful sleep!