If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it may feel overwhelming and confusing. What you can do for yourself after the initial diagnosis is to learn more about sleep apnea and how it affects your life. Here are a few pointers and questions to ask that can guide you through the next steps.
1.WHAT KIND OF SLEEP APNEA DO YOU HAVE?
Determining what kind of sleep apnea you have will help you to understand the treatment that you have been prescribed. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea and is caused by a partial or complete obstruction of the upper airway. Central Sleep Apnea can be associated with certain medical conditions and is caused by the brain not sending the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
2.KEEP A RECORD OF ALL PAPERWORK
The initial diagnosis will provide a baseline for future treatment and gives evidence of the severity of your condition. Discuss the results of your sleep study with your doctor and ensure you understand the details of the prescription he is administering. The information you have will also be important when your CPAP provider assesses what type of equipment you need.
3.TALK TO YOUR INSURANCE PROVIDER
CPAP/Auto CPAP equipment is not covered by Alberta Health Care, but private insurance companies may pay the cost. Check with your insurance company so you know what costs they cover. Given that the cost of equipment can be between $1700 - $2500, it is important to determine what you are insured for, what documents you need for approval and what costs are covered if replacement parts are required in the future. Keep all receipts because you may be able to claim medical expenses on your income tax.
4.LEARN ABOUT THE EQUIPMENT AND HOW TO TAKE CARE OF IT
There are many different machines available and it’s a good idea to become familiar with the terminology. Knowing the difference between CPAP, Auto CPAP AND Bilevel machines will help you to understand more about the best way to treat your condition. A skilled provider can assist you in determining what options are right for you. There are many products available and you will need assistance in getting the right equipment and services. Professionals can advise you on the correct way to use your machine and instruct you how to properly care for it.
5.MAKE A COMMITMENT TO HEALTH
Be proactive in the treatment of sleep apnea. It is important to use your equipment as prescribed and maintain usage on a continual basis. In addition to this, there are several behaviors and lifestyle changes that can help with sleep apnea. Losing weight might help to relieve constriction in your throat and getting daily exercise is also beneficial. Quitting smoking or eliminating alcohol consumption before bedtime are other lifestyle changes that can be beneficial in reducing some symptoms related to sleep apnea.