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Frequently Asked Questions 

Q: What is Hypopnea?

A: An episode of overly shallow breathing or an abnormally low respiratory rate. Our auto algorithm establishes a baseline of patient flow based on a moving flow signal window. When your device detects a hypopnea as a 40% reduction in flow lasting at least 10 seconds, followed by a recovery breath, then a Hypopnea event is recorded.

Q: What is Apnea?

A: An apnea is a pause in breathing, lasting 10 or more seconds.

Q: What is AHI?

A: The Apnea–Hypopnea Index (AHI) is an index used to indicate the severity of sleep apnea. It is represented by the number of apnea and hypopnea events per hour of sleep. The apneas (pauses in breathing) must last for at least 10 seconds and are associated with a decrease in blood oxygenation. Combining AHI and oxygen desaturation gives an overall sleep apnea severity score that evaluates both number sleep disruptions and degree of oxygen desaturation (low blood level). The AHI is calculated by dividing the number of apnea events by the number of hours of sleep. With AHI, a lower number is better; any number under 5.0 is ideal. Your AHI number displayed in DreamMapper will fluctuate and change every day based on your breathing the night before. The AHI number displayed in DreamMapper will fluctuate and change every day based on your breathing the night before. Your goal is to obtain an AHI as close to 0.0 as possible. Any number under 5.0 is ideal.

Q: How do you interpret the AHI (Apnea Hypopnea Index)?

A: The AHI measures residual apnea, a number lower than 5 shows that you have been corrected. The lower this number, the better is the correction.

However, if it is higher, it is necessary to try to understand why. There are several reasons for this:

• Insufficient pressure. In this case, as the settings are determined by your sleep care coordinator, if you are insufficiently corrected, your sleep care coordinator's opinion will be essential.
• Significant leaks. When this occurs, effective pressure is insufficient.
• Look for external factors that may alter your apnea index and result in ineffective pressure, in particular alcohol intake, the use of sedative drugs, etc.


If the index stays at 15 or is greater than 15, you should contact your sleep care coordinator again to undergo sleep monitoring with the mask in order to determine the source of the problem.

These indications do not in any way constitute a diagnosis; when in doubt, consult the sleep care coordinator who is monitoring you for your sleep apnea syndrome. 

Q: When should I start feeling better after beginning to use my CPAP device?

A: Patients can begin feeling better within two to four weeks, though some people may take a little longer.

Q: What if I snore while using the CPAP device?

A: Snoring while on CPAP should not occur. If it does, contact medical equipment provider. Your pressure level may need to be adjusted.

Q: Should I use my CPAP device when I travel?

A: It is important that you use your CPAP every night. Purchasing travel accessories will make it more convenient for you to travel with your CPAP. Because of increased security measures at airports, it is suggested to keep a copy of your prescription for you CPAP machine with you. 

Q: How can I tell when my mask is worn out?

A: Masks are disposable. Periodic replacement is needed when the mask shows sign of wear and tear. Inspect your mask for stiffness, cracks, or tears.

Q: What do I do if my mask is leaking?

A: It is normal for a mask to leak near the connection of the tubing. If a mask leak is occurring around your eyes or mouth, follow these steps to fix it:

• Check all the connections.

• If your mask has a forehead arm or adjustment feature, try readjusting that first to correct the leak.

• If there is no improvement with the above steps, readjust the headgear straps. The mask should be as loose as possible while still creating a seal. A mask that is too tight against the face can cause leaks to occur by creating folds in the material.

Q: How often should I clean my mask?

A: Wash your mask daily. Wash your face nightly and avoid using skin lotions before putting on the mask.

Q: How do I know if the air is flowing correctly?

A: Check the following:

• That the air from the machine is blowing.

• The air inlet and filter for obstruction or dust buildup.

• The hose for punctures.

If you are still having problems, check with The Dream Sleep Center for assistance.

Q: What do I do if my nose and throat is feeling dry, my nose is congested, or I have nosebleeds?

A: Try adding humidification. (You will need to ask your physician for a prescription.) You may change the temperature setting on the humidifier if you are using a heated humidifier. This condition may improve over time but consult your physician if symptoms persist.

 

I have trouble falling asleep on my therapy or I feel uncomfortable when I first apply the air pressure at night.

Contact The Dream Sleep Center if your CPAP therapy device has a ramp feature, If so, use it to slowly rise toy our prescribed pressure setting.

It is hard to breathe out against the constant air flow.

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

My machine doesn't seem to be working.

• Check the power cord to be sure it is firmly inserted into the back of the machine and the electrical outlet.

• Contact your medical equipment provider if you have any problems you are unable to correct; do not attempt to repair the blower unit yourself.

I just can't seem to adjust to using CPAP.

• Most people will adjust to CPAP in two to four weeks. Occasionally, it may take a little longer due to changing your behaviors and becoming comfortable with the device while you sleep. Or readjusting your body to having a normal sleep pattern versus your previous pattern.

• Call your provider or prescribing physician if you are having problems adjusting to the treatment. 

• Ask The Dream Sleep Center if you are eligible to try bi-level or auto-CPAP therapy which are available.

                         *Per state mandate, please bring your mask with you to ALL of your appointments*

To serve and protect our community from exposure to Covid-19, if you have symptoms of: cough, fever, sore throat, or shortness of breath—please call 48 hours in advance to cancel or reschedule your appointment. ONLY the patient will be allowed in our office, (unless the patient is a minor) at this time. Our Stakeholders appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

© 2020 by Dr. Bradley Smith, D.O. & The Dream Sleep Center
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Dr. Bradley Smith & The Dream Sleep Center

44 Briargate Terrace Pueblo, CO 81001

Office (719) 546-6300 • Fax (719) 546-6111 • Sleep Lab (719) 582-1638

Office Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM

Sleep Lab Hours: Monday-Thursday 7:00 PM to 6:00 AM

Closed on Saturday & Sunday