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Millions of Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a disorder thatis characterized by pauses and interruptions in breathing whilesleeping. While the numbers are high, unfortunately, many peopleignore the problem, thinking it’s just harmless, normal snoring. Orthey don’t treat it properly, even when they have a diagnosis froma doctor. But in either case, not taking care of the problem can beseriously detrimental to your health.

The word “apnea” comes from Greek, meaning “without breath,” andit doesn’t take much to imagine why it would be problematic. Ifyour spouse says that your snoring is keeping him or her up atnight, it might be the first indication that you should see yourdoctor.

It’s important to note that while sleep apnea largely affectsmen, people older than 40 and the obese, it can affect anyone -even children. In addition to snoring, symptoms you should watchfor include headaches, feeling poorly rested after waking andexcessively tired throughout the day, waking up with dry mouth,difficulty staying asleep and more.

If your doctor does diagnose you with sleep apnea, you’re on theright track to avoid the complications of the disorder, which canrange from depression to high blood pressure to heart attack. Oneof the most common and effective treatments for sleep apnea is aCPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which has to beprescribed by a doctor. Patients wear a mask connected to themachine by tubes, and it enables them to breathe uninterruptedthroughout the night.

However, one of the most common pitfalls for patients using thisas a treatment for sleep apnea is not maintaining their CPAP supplies. Without aproperly fitted mask and tubes, filters and pillows in goodcondition, the treatment isn’t as effective, leading to poorersleep, not to mention the risk of complications arises again.

Another concern, cited in a recent study, was that bacteriagrowth on CPAP masks dramatically increases as the mask ages. Theamount of bacteria found in year-old masks was four times more thanin masks that were one to three months old. The study also showedthat the amount of bacteria on older masks didn’t decrease, evenwith extensive cleaning. That’s just another reason why it’simportant to replace masks and other supplies often.

Fortunately, replacing supplies doesn’t mean you have to keep abunch on hand. With the help of CPAP providers such as AmericanHomePatient, you can get supplies sent directly to you, right whenyou need them – and shipping is free. You can order supplies at thesite,, or callthe toll-free phone number, (877) 290-2208. After your first order,you’ll receive reminders when it’s time to replace yoursupplies.

While CPAP machines and supplies are typically covered byinsurance plans, anyone who has insurance knows that filing claimscan be a complicated and long endeavor. To make the process easier,American HomePatient has experts on staff who will take care of theprocess, even for patients on Medicare.

Getting sleep apnea diagnosed is the first step in fighting apotentially dangerous condition. Once you know that you’re dealingwith sleep apnea, it’s essential to make sure that you’re treatingyour condition correctly. With a little help from your doctor andCPAP supply providers, you can rest easy knowing that you’re takingthe right steps to improve your health.