Learn Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to go to a sleep laboratory to be tested for sleep apnea?

The vast majority of patients do not have to go to a strange Sleep Lab to be tested. You can be tested in the privacy and comfort of your own home with a portable easy-to-use diagnostic device.

My girlfriend snores. Is it possible that she has Sleep Apnea?

Yes. About 9% of all women have some degree of sleep apnea. Home testing is an excellent option for women who don't want to sleep overnight in a laboratory.

I just started using an Auto PAP device at night. When should I start feeling better?

Most patients begin feeling better within the first week. Some patients may take a week or two longer. If you have any concerns, you can talk to one of our Sleep Care Specialists.

My husband has a mustache and a beard. Will he have to shave these off?

Only if you want him to. But it isn't necessary to achieve successful PAP therapy.

Will I still snore if I am using an Auto PAP and Mask?

No. Snoring while on Auto PAP should not occur. If it does, your pressure level may need to be adjusted.

Could Sleep Apnea be affecting my sex life?

Decreased sexual drive (libido) in females and erectile dysfunction in males may accompany Sleep Apnea. Abnormalities in sexual function can be related to the Sleep Apnea itself and its complications.

Many people with Sleep Apnea are overweight. Besides body-image issues, Sleep Apnea sufferers are often tired and lack energy. Some individuals may also have high blood pressure and diabetes. Treating Sleep Apnea often results in a dramatic improvement in the quality of life.

I often wake up with a headache that sometimes lasts all day. Could this be caused by Sleep Apnea that I'm not sure I have?

Clinical studies have taken a careful look at the connection between morning headaches and Sleep Apnea. In one study, results show that about 34% of the people with Sleep Apnea group reported having morning headaches. The people with more severe Sleep Apnea were more likely to wake with a headache, and some woke up in the middle of the night with a headache. Morning headaches also were more common in women than in men.

Some clinicians believe obstruction of the airway while sleeping (Sleep Apnea) causes carbon dioxide(CO2) to build-up in the bloodstream (a condition called hypercapnea). There is also a decrease in oxygen (O2) in the bloodstream which is called hypoxemia. When these two events combine the body responds by increasing blood flow to the brain by dilating the blood vessels that run through it. When these blood vessels dilate, headache pain results.

The good news was that treating Sleep Apnea with PAP therapy eliminated the annoying nighttime and morning headaches in 90% of the patients. Carbon dioxide is reduced and oxygen is increased. As normal CO2 and O2 levels are established in the body, the blood vessels will constrict and the pain will subside.

I'm not overweight. Could I still have Sleep Apnea?

Yes. While many people with Sleep Apnea are overweight, the condition occurs among people in all weight categories. In fact, the majority of Sleep Apnea patients are not overweight. These people still suffer from the same symptoms of loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, high blood pressure, cardiovascular complications, morning headaches, memory problems, feelings of depression, reflux, nocturia, and impotence.

Is there a support organization for Sleep Apnea sufferers?

Indeed. The most popular organization is AWAKE (Alert, Well, And Keeping Energetic) sponsored by the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA). To find the chapter nearest you, click here.

How often should I replace my PAP filter?

Washable, or foam filters, should be rinsed with clear, running water and allowed to air dry. This should be done at least every two weeks, though preferably every week. Remember, this is the air you are breathing at night. Filters should be replaced every 6 months. Disposable (or fine) filters should be replaced once a month. Tubing should be replaced every 30 days. Expect a PAP Mask to remain effective for about six months.

Sinus infections and nasal congestion are often a result of the failure to care for and replace disposable equipment regularly. Staying up to date on your equipment replacement is easy with our reminders.

My skin seems irritated and I have marks on my face after wearing a PAP mask. Is this normal?

Absolutely not. Your mask may be too tight, or you could have the wrong mask size. Nasal pillows may provide a better fit. Our Sleep Care Specialists will be happy to help you. Whether you’re an existing SleepQuest customer or not we provide this service to patients at no cost.

Do I need a prescription to purchase a PAP device?

If you are purchasing a PAP Machine, a PAP Humidifier, or a PAP Mask, we do need a copy of a prescription written by your doctor. However, a prescription is NOT required if you are purchasing any other supply items.

Will my insurance pay for a diagnostic test and PAP therapy?

Nearly every insurance plan covers sleep apnea services. Depending on your plan, you might have a deductible, or a company-funded Health Savings Account that you can pay out of. Even without insurance, an at-home sleep study is always cheaper than an in-lab test and the cost can often be broken up into a convenient payment plan using a credit card, a medical financing card, or even a monthly out-of-pocket payment.

How does an Auto PAP differ from a regular CPAP?

An Auto PAP responds to the individual's needs throughout the night providing a range of pressures that support the airway in order to keep it open. The device supplies only the required pressure necessary to keep the airway open thus patients sleep at lower pressures for roughly 80% of the night. While in non-REM sleep the device remains at lower pressures and only increases pressures to a higher level when a patient is in REM sleep and OSA is at its worst. In order to keep their airway open, the device will increase pressures just enough to keep the airway open and prevent the patient from awakening. APAP adjusts automatically to the changing needs throughout the night for each patient.

The CPAP device gently blows normal room air at a fixed pressure through a tube which attaches to a small comfortable mask worn over the nose, or both the nose and mouth. The gentle flow of air is carefully measured to be just enough to keep the airway opened and unobstructed. The airflow also prevents snoring, so sleep is quieter for both the patient and the bed partner. In general, a prescribed fixed pressure of over 10 cm H2O is less comfortable than an Auto PAP because instead of the same fixed inspiratory and expiratory pressure, the Auto PAP spends 80% of the night at lower pressures during non-REM sleep.

What is a Bi-Level (BiPAP) machine?

A BiPAP machine uses two pressure settings for your therapy; a pressure that is set when you inhale, and a different pressure that is set for when you exhale. The inhale (inspiratory) pressure is always greater than the exhale (expiratory) pressure. This type of machine is usually used for people who have difficulties with a normal CPAP machine, or for people who have other conditions along with their sleep apnea.

About SleepQuest

"From my very first visit at SleepQuest, they offered friendly, prompt and professional service."Julie P.
"I traveled from Gilroy to Redwood City because of your knowledgeable staff."Geoff D.
"Before, I met with a Sleep Care Specialist, I had felt so awful for so long. Now, I feel like a new person with renewed energy and hope. I can’t thank SleepQuest enough for all their help."Christie V.
"I choose SleepQuest because their Sleep Care Specialists are always friendly, patience, and helpful."Jin T.

Expert Guide to Sleep Apnea 

This guide to understanding Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) was written by SleepQuest’s Chief Scientific Officer; William C. Dement, M.D., Ph.D.


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