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New and wondering what I need?
Had a sleep study last week and a call today confirming apnea and an appointment for a titration study. Both the study and doctor visit are a month away! I'm reading the forums and taking notes but confused.

I get that I should just go with a top of the line since Medicare and supplemental will cover much of it. Besides, it makes sense to get the best technolgy because it will be outdated in a couple years. I see several units mentioned and need to confirm with insurance company. But what about the other stuff? Several accessories are mentioned such as a pulseox. Is there something specific I should get? Is this an add-on that is not covered or should I get doc to include in my prescription? Is a humidifier extra? If so, how do I know I need it and is it covered if I ask for it later?

Second, pets. I live with 5 cats although only one sleeps with me (usually end of bed). Any special problems with this? Fur buildup in machine?

Roughly, how much are supplies going to cost? While I'm ok now, I am on disability and money could become tight, so I need to plan ahead.

I don't have any numbers yet. I expect I won't get them until I see the sleep doc in June again. I was diagnosed with bradycardia last Fall, but the foggyness and tiredness has rapidly increased since February, even with regular trips to the Y. I'm anxious to get going on a treatment!

My bro has had a bipap for a few years but I've never known much about it other than shlepping it to the hospital when he is admitted and buying distilled water. So my knowledge is pretty slight.

Any help or suggestions are appreciated. I do find that I breathe better sleeping on my side with a small fan blowing at my face. Have to buy a new one though.
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The machines have filters - keep them changed regularly - every month or two depending on environment - and not have furballs in the units. Biggest threat from pets is flatulence near the machine intake. Concentrated, pressurized farts delivered straight into your nose are bad juju. It can be worse than it sounds.

Some folks have also reported psycho pets that attack the tube and mask and then use it as a chew toy.

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Hi Mosquitobait,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
Check out this link: http://www.apneaboard.com/wiki/index.php...ne_Choices
There is lots of great information there on which machines to buy, or, which ones to avoid.
Hang in there for more responses to your post.
Much success to you as you start CPAP therapy.
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Hey, welcome to the forum! Relax and don't stress while awaiting the titration study. The titration study will determine which pressure ranges work for you in the sleep states. Using that the doc will write the prescription. In the meantime if you aren't on a loaner machine, sleep on your side or stomach.

The DME (or online vendor) can sell hypoallergenic filters for the machine. There are five furred things in our house. Even the regular ones keep the large stuff out of the machine, like fur and dust bunnies. My cat likes to play with the hose, unfortunately while attached to my face. My dog has been most forgiving as I have several times rolled over and dragged the hose which pulled the machine off the night table onto him.

I found the hardest part was getting used to the mask. And hose. And not rolling over too many times.
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I never understood why they put titration a so far out for people, but it is what it is I guess. Definitely check out the wiki section on top of the page. Best of luck on your journey!
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Hi, and congratulations on getting this problem recognized. You will probably live longer, and certainly have a better quality of life if you can sleep well. My mother was never diagnosed with sleep apnea, but my brother and I are both convinced she suffered from it and that it significantly shortened her life because during her last 20 years or so she never got a good night's sleep.

As for Medicare plus supplemental insurance, that's what I have. When you get your machine, Medicare pays 13 months of "rent" on it to the DME. After that point, if you have met the compliance requirements, after those 13 months, you own the machine.
As for supplies, your doctor can also write prescriptions for those, and there is a standard from Medicare on providing the "consumables" such as masks, parts for masks, water tanks, hoses, chin straps, etc. Some are replaced every 6 months, some every 3 months, etc. But all covered by Medicare and a good supplemental.

At first, for some people, getting used to the equipment is annoying. That's why it's a good thing that you have found this forum. Even after 6 years of CPAP, I learned so much the first days I started reading here. For example, I've used nasal pillow type masks but never knew that I could use a water-based gel on my nose to make a better seal and keep my nose for getting irritated and sometimes drying out. So just for a week or so, I've had less hassle with my mask!

When I first started out, using the machine 4 hours a night, the minimum then required for compliance, seemed a burden. But I'm so glad I persisted. I really do think I might not have survived until now without the CPAP therapy.

I've done fine so far without an oximeter, but I'm looking at getting one to watch my blood oxygen levels. I don't think my diagnosis warrants a prescription for that, but I'll ask my MD when I see him in a few weeks.

Just to say again -- some of the people on this forum know a whole lot more about sleep apnea than my young MD seems to. If only because they've experienced it.

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The great news is: Medicare and most private insurers cover scheduled replacements of all mask parts and other supplies (including CPAP machines, but we’ll talk about those in an upcoming blog post). Ask your insurance provider how often it will cover the replacement of each part. Your equipment supplier can answer any questions about this and even help you fill out and process any necessary forms. Based on Medicare coverage, we suggest that you replace:
Every month
• Mask cushions and/or nasal pillows
• CPAP machine filters
Every 3 months
• Mask frame (not including the headgear)
• CPAP tubing
Every 6 months
• Mask headgear
• Chin strap (if applicable)
• Humidifier water tub
Keep it clean
Cleaning your equipment as recommended is also key to ensuring that it works as well as possible for as long as you need it to last. Your mask’s user guide will tell you exactly when and how to clean each part.
For free Medicare assistance for your state check out this page. http://www.seniorsresourceguide.com/dire...onal/SHIP/
or here http://www.medicareinteractive.org/
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(04-15-2015, 01:25 AM)Mosquitobait Wrote: Had a sleep study last week and a call today confirming apnea and an appointment for a titration study.

Ask for a copy of the sleep study results. They have to give it to you. It will tell you if you have the simplest, most common, and most easily treated type of sleep apnea, which is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It will also tell you if you have mild, moderate, or severe OSA. These categories are based on your AHI, which is the number of times per hour that you stop breathing (or your breathing is restricted).

When you have your titration done they will fit you with either a nasal mask or, if you are a mouth-breather, a full face mask. If you have trouble exhaling they may switch you to a bi-level CPAP machine (also called a BiPAP or a VPAP) that reduces the pressure when you exhale.

Based on the results of the titration they will prescribe a CPAP or a bi-level CPAP machine for you. This is when you make the most important decision. You will buy the machine (even if it's your insurance company paying, it's still you making a purchase) and you want to make sure you get a good machine. You will be keeping this machine for a few years so you want to get this right.

I highly recommend reading this wiki page:


The durable medical equipment (DME) providers have a very bad reputation for providing substandard service. They can be either dishonest about the machine choices available to you, or ignorant of those choices and their cost. Usually it's both. Often the people at the DME who you talk to don't really know about the machine choices available to you and are just telling you what their supervisors have told them to tell you.

You hear a lot about the problems with medical care in this country and in every other country. Well, when it comes to medical equipment providers, those problems are much much worse.

All the rest of the stuff you asked about is stuff you can figure out later. In fact, you pretty much have to because you can't know things like which mask will fit you better until you actually wear it for a night or two. Costs for supplies vary depending on your insurance company. Stuff that they say will last only three months, like a hose or a mask, can actually be made to last much longer. I've been using the same hose for over a year. Not because I have to, but because it's still as good as new and I keep it clean and dry.
Apnea Board Moderator

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Since your titration study is a month off, now is the time to get all the information you can.
You won't know until after that study what type of CPAP they will recommend, or what your needs will be.
There is a wealth of information here.
Whatever they recommend, don't accept anything less that a Fully Data Cabaple Auto machine.
Be sure your Doctor writes the Script stating exactly for what your want, or your supplier will try to sell you a Brick. You need to be knowledgable and one step ahead of them.
Sad, but this is just the way it is.

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" Is a humidifier extra? If so, how do I know I need it and is it covered if I ask for it later?"

A humidifier can be extra, or the insurance/DME will consider the APAP and humidifier all one package deal. YES, a good humidifier SO important!

My sister used my hubby's old "brick" (no real data, just hours of use, virtually no use at all as far us useful data) for about 2 months until her auto fully-data capable machine arrived, she found her throat and nose dried out to a painful degree. The first night with her RP System One WITH humidifier was such a relief for her.

So in my ever so humble opinion (GRIN!) Get The Humidifier WITH the fully data capable APAP!!!

(APAP = adjustable to your bodies needs/autoset as opposed to only one setting until the machine is manually adjusted)

Best to you on your journey.
Evpraxia in the Pacific Northwest USA
Diagnosed: 44 AHI when supine, O2 down to 82%
Treated since 20 Sept 2014:: 0.7 AHI, Settings 7-15, EPR on Full Time at Level 3
Better living through CPAP/APAP machines!
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