"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Can Your CPAP Make You Sick?

I keep hearing radio commercials about high-tech cleaners for positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, that are used to treat sleep apnea. Bacteria and mold can accumulate in various parts of the device. Just a touch of a button, the ads say, and all of the unwanted organisms lurking in CPAP pumps, tubes, and masks can be blasted into oblivion. Your CPAP system can be sterilized and able to use when you sleep.

But can a CPAP system really cause illness? And if that’s the case, do we’d like space-age technology to scrub a CPAP machine?

Wait: What is a CPAP system and why is it needed?

A CPAP machine is among the best treatments for people who are suffering from sleep apnea, a condition that causes you to stop respiration periodically during sleep. Sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles calm down a lot that they block the airway.

CPAP keeps your airway open. A CPAP system consists of a small bedside pump that pushes a robust stream of air through a tube and right into a mask that you just wear when you sleep.

CPAP is related to many other advantages. It helps reverse the risks of sleep deprivation, corresponding to hypertension, increased risk of heart disease and stroke, and weight gain.

And a study published online June 13, 2019 The Lancet It has been suggested that CPAP use reduces depressive symptoms in patients with sleep apnea and heart disease. “Anything that can improve sleep can improve mood, and if you treat insomnia, it also improves mood. This is not the first study to demonstrate that,” Dr. Epstein says. “But this study shows that CPAP also improves mood in people with another serious health complication.”

The Dangers of Dirty CPAP Machines

Do CPAP Systems Really Get Dirty? Yes, they’ll harbor germs in the event that they are usually not cleaned. “The mask sits on the face, in contact with the organisms on the skin. Over time, the bacteria and oils on a dirty mask can give you skin rashes or infections,” says Dr. Epstein.

Another danger – a few of that are mentioned within the advertisements – pertains to the insects you possibly can inhale from the dirty water reservoir within the air pump. Water is required so as to add moisture to the air you breathe through the mask. Otherwise, the air can be very dry.

“But if standing water in a cistern isn't cleaned regularly, there's a chance for bacteria or mold to grow, which you can breathe in,” explains Dr. Epstein.

“Breathing in these organisms can make you sick or aggravate problems related to conditions such as asthma, reactive airway disease, or other lung conditions.” If you get sick incessantly or your CPAP smells musty, it may very well be an indication that the device just isn’t clean.

Cleaning Your CPAP Machine

The excellent news is that you just are less prone to get sick from a CPAP machine when you clean it recurrently. Here's how:

  1. Wash the mask, water chamber, and tubing every morning in warm, soapy water. Make sure the tubes are submerged in order that the water flows through them. Allow all parts to air dry.
  2. Once every week, wash the headgear and filter, and soak the water chamber in a bit white vinegar to forestall mold growth.
  3. If your machine has a disposable filter, change it every month.

Sounds like a variety of work? This is why CPAP cleaner ads are catching people's attention.

Hi-tech cleaner

Two sorts of sanitizing systems in the marketplace mean you can place the CPAP parts contained in the machine, press a button, and operate the machine. One uses activated oxygen (ozone) to scrub the CPAP parts, and the opposite uses ultraviolet light. Dr. Epstein says they seem to work. “But I'm not aware of any comparative trials that machines are better than hand washing,” says Dr. Epstein.

The biggest profit is convenience, which comes with a price: about $250 to $350 for a single machine. Is it definitely worth the money? Dr. Epstein leaves that answer as much as you.

But whether you purchase a elaborate CPAP cleansing system or use good old-fashioned elbow grease, investing in cleansing can pay off in the long term.