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No doctor supervision: Buying an APAP without a doctor
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Cutter Offline

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Machine: ResMed S9 Elite
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Sex: Male
Location: Kansas

Post: #1
No doctor supervision: Buying an APAP without a doctor
[parts of this thread were copied from our old forum]

Quote:Jeremy wrote: Dec 11 2005, 08:42 PM Post #1

In response to my kicking/screaming/odd sleep patterns and excessive morning grogginess and daytime fatigue, my girlfriend suggested that I might have sleep apnea. I read up on it and was surprised to see that two of the most common causes of sleep apnea are small jaws and large tonsils. My jaws are so small that I have had eight teeth removed to make space in my mouth, and my tonsils are so big that I was recently disqualified for a healthy volunteer study at the NIH involving MRI's of the mouth and throat. Also I've broken my nose four times which probably doesnt help. So it seems obvious that to some degree I have sleep apnea.

The problem is that I have no health insurance. I just graduated college and I'm (for lack of a better word) a starving artist. I'm trying to save up for a ring to propose to my girlfriend and we're trying to save up for a house. My piano man salary can not cover health insurance that would include sleep apnea treatment. (The only insurance I would consider is catastrophe).

That said, I have been doing research myself on CPAP, BiPAP, and APAP. I understand that these machines are recommended under doctor's supervision. But I don't need to spend 8 years in medical school to use a machine that merely blows air. How harmful could air be? Pluse, if I got an APAP there's no risk. If it really does automatically adjust to your need, then what could go wrong? If I'm actually just a hypochondriac, the machine wont be fooled and I'll just sleep with a placebo. If I do have a destructive apnea, this machine could drastically improve my quality of life. Considering health insurance is not an option, would anyone strongly object to my purchasing a used APAP somewhere and wingin' it?

And please, don't respond to this post telling me that I shouldn't be getting married if I can't afford health insurance or that I should get health insurance. Obviously it would be best if I could have a doctor's supervision but I can't. Someday I will but I don't want to wait. So would I be putting myself at risk by getting an APAP myself?

Thank you.

Quote:henry wrote: Dec 13 2005, 07:21 PM Post #2

Jeremy, one problem in the U.S. is that you need a doctor's prescription for APAP (and they are not cheap) or CPAP, but then you'd have to know what level of pressure you need for it, which really can only be done by an overnight stay at a sleep center.

If you found someone who would be willing to sell you a machine without a prescription, they would be violating the law and there are penalties if they are caught. Not sure if you can easily find someone willing to take that risk, unless it's a close friend or relative who has an old machine. Most doctors will not simply write you a script for CPAP without first sending you to a Sleep Center for evaluation, due to their fear of a lawsuit.

Quote:jeremy wrote: Dec 15 2005, 05:55 PM Post #3

thanks for the input.

but with an APAP, there is no need for a doctor to recommend a pressure setting. unlike the CPAP, the APAP machine does this automatically (or so i have heard).

am i wrong?

Quote:henry wrote: Dec 16 2005, 11:16 AM Post #4

Dec 15 2005, 05:55 PM
thanks for the input.

but with an APAP, there is no need for a doctor to recommend a pressure setting. unlike the CPAP, the APAP machine does this automatically (or so i have heard).

am i wrong?

Jeremy , i'm not sure, but I think you still have a pressure range for APAP that you would need to set; does someone else here have experience with APAPs and can tell us?

Quote:nosbig17 wrote: Dec 20 2005, 10:28 AM Post #5


There is some risk in just about everything we do!

If you have OSA and it is not treated your vital organs are not getting enough oxygen when you go into deep sleep, your sleep quality deteriorates, you feel sleepy during the day and have trouble concentrating for any length of time.

Many of our countrymen want to be free to do as they please. However, when things go wrong they want someone else to be responsible and pull their bacon out of the fire. I think this may explain why there are roadblocks and detours for someone like you.

I have been on the hose for going on ten years. Some years back an ad ran in our paper for a CPAP set up, (flow generator, mask, humidifier, etc.) I bought it for a backup. Since it was smaller then my other CPAP I used it when traveling. A couple of years ago my son was complaining, about being tired and sleepy during the day, and his wife about his snoring. He learned about OSA and borrowed one of my CPAPs. During the next few of weeks he increased the pressure by 1/2 cm H2o every couple of nights until he got to 9cm H2o, at that point the snoring virtually stopped and he was feeling better during the day, not as well as he had hoped for but better. Then he decided to have a sleep study done and his perscription is 10 cm.

A little over a year ago I noticed that I was getting sleepy during the day. While talking to some DME people I was told that I should be retested every 3 to 5 years. My Dr said that he would send me for another sleep study but I asked him to perscribe an APAP. After a couple of weeks on the new machine I'm feeling better.

My insurance will spring for the sleep studies but not all of the APAP, they would rent another flow gererator as well but I'd have the DME people, looking over my shoulder, monitoring my compliance. When a third party is paying your bills you have to follow their rules. The saying "Freedom Isn't Free" might apply.

While it is not impossible for you to get treatment outside the system it will probably take alot of effort. I urge you to get treatment soon.

Quote:ConnCarl wrote: Jan 1 2006, 07:43 PM Post #6

Jeremy, any medical doctor can prescribe CPAP. Tell your story to your primary care physician (or any GP, for that matter) and he or she would very likely be willing to write you a scrip for an autopap.

Many doctors (even some sleep specialists) prescribe autopaps "wide open", or set to a range of 4-20cm of pressure, the factory default. With most autopaps, you can connect the unit to your PC after a week or so and view your apnea/hypopnea events and pressure requirements.

There is a certain amount of validity to your theories. But $75 or $100 for an office visit and a script for CPAP is a good investment, IMHO.

There are a number of options for buying CPAP equipment on your own, without insurance. There are often slightly used machines available for very modest cost, either through a DME provider, or a site such as Yahoo Auctions. Unfortunately, autopaps represent the higher end of the CPAP market, and while they aren't much more costly than a straight CPAP when new, they tend to command quite a premium on the used market.

Good luck whatever you decide to do.

"You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred." - Superchicken

Quote:SuperSleeper wrote: Apr 2 2010, 08:00 AM Post #7

For those considering an auto-CPAP or APAP machine rather than a standard CPAP, we have a page that explains the benefits of APAP. Go to:

Apnea Board Administrator


DONATE to Apnea Board

Change your own pressure - Get the Clinician Setup Manual for your CPAP here

Quote:zonk wrote: Dec 29 2011, 10:33 PM Post #8

I find this discussion very interesting, it is similar what Professor Barbara Phillips saying.

An interview with Professor Barbara Phillips
Edited by zonk, Dec 29 2011, 10:59 PM.

Quote:jdzorro wrote: Jan 8 2012, 07:01 PM Post #9

This will be fine for me. Similar to S9 I wanted
I am so sorry you can't get an APAP easily. You need one I think more than a ring. If you don't seek help, you may not be around for a wedding. Do either of you have parents that could help? It really is so important that you get treated. Not knowing much about all this, do have an Apap and I think it would be safe if you had one. The pressure 4 is too low for me, but maybe good to start off with, then set for the low to high range and let it figure out your needs. Having gained 21lbs back since last yr this time, I know my machine just worked it out for me. I think 7 as my beginning awake flow could be upped to 8 or 9, but I have not messed with that. Please try any way you can to get what you need. I think it is the MOST important thing you can do asap.

Thinking about this more. I wish there was some foundation to help people with this apnea problem to get help. Doctors don't often recognize the seriousness of the problem and the rest is a medical insurance econonomy mess that makes me very sad. I think this forum can help you behind the scenes with private messages? There is more than one way to skin a they say.
Edited by jdzorro, Jan 8 2012, 07:06 PM.

This post is a natural product. The slight variations in spelling and 
grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and in no way 
are to be considered flaws or defects.
(This post was last modified: 02-25-2012 12:36 AM by Cutter.)
02-24-2012 11:47 PM
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