Let’s have a look at the various search terms people use to find sites like cpap.co.uk and other CPAP or OSA related websites. By digging through the access logs, we can spot the common, strange and sometimes funny queries people type into Google or Yahoo to get an answer.
“Sleep Apnea + will I die?” This web surfer must have been in a fair bit of worry and doubt. To answer the question, it is unlikely you will die from sleep apnea. People only die from sleep apnea if they let this condition go untreated. They could (worst case) die in their sleep from a lack of oxygen or get brain damage and die later. Others fall asleep at the wheel and die in the subsequent car crash. Others carry on living in a constant state of sleepiness for so long they put so much stress on their body they develop cancer or heart failure. On the bright side, with treatment such as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) all of these scenario’s can be avoided quite comfortably. Talk to your medical professional or in the various Sleep Apnea and CPAP patient and user forums to get answers to all your doubts, worries and questions.
“Sleep clinics UK“, “Sleep lab Edinburgh“, “NHS Sleep Clinics” etc. These searchers seem to be looking for a sleep clinic near to where they are. We have a sleep clinics map here, it features clinics in the UK, USA and Canada. CPAP-Europe has a map with all UK clinics here. The Sleep Apnoea Trust has a map here. Between the three of them, you should be able to find a sleep clinic from Devon to Aberdeen and London to Glasgow.
“Side effects of CPAP” or “Side effects of using a CPAP machine” - Generally, if all is set up well, there are few to none. The most common one happens when the mask fits poorly so you get air blowing in your eyes. Some people swallow air when the pressure is too high and they may feel a little bloating. Otherx occasionally get a skin rash from the mask rubbing against their face. But generally, these can be overcome with quality equipment, good preparation and proper care.
“Alternatives to a CPAP machine” , “CPAP Alternatives” - The professional medical consensus is that CPAP is the best treatment for sleep apnoea. However, for some people, alternatives to CPAP could work well. Those alternatives could sometimes also be tried in conjunction with CPAP therapy in order to improve the underlying cause of the obstruction in OSA. Whether or not the following are a good option to explore for you depends on your doctor’s opinion.
Alternatives to CPAP include mandibular advancement devices, which is like a gum shield for Rugby players. It helps position the jaws in such a way that the tongue and throat is less prone to blocking the airway. A splint could also achieve the same goal by forcing the airways open. Some have reported that singing tones the muscles in the back of the mouth and throat in such a way that they experience fewer collapses of the airway. Yet others resort to surgical intervention such as nasal, septal and adenoid surgery. These are intended to remove blockages or improve the airway. Tonsillectomy or uvulo-palato-pharyngoplasty (scrabble, anyone?)could also be beneficial. These remove or reduce the size of the tonsils to avoid them blocking the airway. Somnoplasty is similar, in that it makes tissue around the airways shrink in size so the air passages open up and are less prone to collapsing.
“Where can I buy a CPAP machine?“, “UK CPAP Shop” or “Where can you buy a CPAP machine?” - Most people wait for the NHS to supply one. Those who choose not to wait for months, or in some cases years, have the option to pay for CPAP therapy with their own money. Respironics CPAP machines can be bought online or via the phone from CPAP-Europe.com. That’s where I got my Auto M-Series from. ResMed machines can be bought direct from ResMed. The BS&SAA can supply GoodKnight machines. I don’t know if they sell directly or just via the NHS but Fisher & Paykel’s website is here.
“Can I claim the VAT back on CPAP?” - You generally don’t have to pay VAT in the first place but if yo have paid VAT on the equipment and it is for personal use then you should be able to claim it back. CPAP equipment is eligible for relief from Value Added Tax under Group 12 of the Zero Rate Schedule to the Value Added Tax Act 1994. If you are in any doubt as to whether you are eligible to receive goods or services VAT Exempt you should consult Notice 701/7 - “VAT reliefs for disabled people” or ring the National Advice Service on 0845 010 9000.
“How much are CPAP machines?” or “How much does CPAP equipment cost?” - This varies per model but an entry level CPAP machine costs around £250 with advanced models like autotitrating machines going up to £500. A basic mask starts at around £50 with more advanced models going up to £130. Whilst the machine should last for many years, the mask tends to need replacing every 12 to 18 months. Maintenance of the machine involves replacing filters every now and then. This tends to cost you around £15 a year. Electricity costs for running a CPAP machine have been calculated to be as low as 6p per hour or around 50p per night.
“What is the best CPAP machine?” or “Who makes the best CPAP machine?” - There’s no way of giving a correct answer to that one. As these are life critical devices you can expect every brand to deliver continuous positive airway pressure machines that do the job perfectly, consistently. Though to give you some idea, if you define ‘best’ by the amount of research and development, experience and market perception, it is safe to say that the Respironics REMstar M Series range and the ResMed S8 family are the creme de la creme in CPAP land. They have so much technology packed into them, it would probably make NASA proud. I don’t think you can go wrong with either manufacturer.
That’s enough search coverage for today, if you liked this exercise, we’ll pick some more at a later stage.