"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 shall be blasted into oblivion. Your CPAP system shall be sterilized and able to use whilst you sleep.

But can a CPAP system really cause illness? And in that case, do we want space-age technology to scrub a CPAP machine?

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

A CPAP machine is top-of-the-line treatments for individuals with obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that causes you to stop respiration periodically during sleep. Sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles loosen up a lot that they block the airway.

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

CPAP is related to many other advantages. It helps reverse the risks of sleep deprivation, resembling 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 aren’t 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 – mentioned in a few of these ads – pertains to the insects you’ll be able to 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 shall 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 might be an indication that the device is just not clean.

Cleaning Your CPAP Machine

The excellent news is that you just are less prone to get sick from a CPAP machine in the event you clean it frequently. 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 little bit white vinegar to stop mold growth.
  3. If your machine has a disposable filter, change it every month.

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

Hi-tech cleaner

Two forms of sanitizing systems available on the market permit you to 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.