• By Clay Rollyson
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There are few side effects to using CPAP and going bald probably isn’t the first one that you thought about. However, it is something that we have had mentioned as a concern from our customers over the years. Obviously, nobody wants to lose the hair that they have. So, let’s take a deeper look why it happens and how to fix it.

What Causes Hair Loss on CPAP?

No, the CPAP Machine is not making you bald. The issues that we have heard regarding loss of hair on CPAP have all centered around headgear and frames on the CPAP mask itself. In most cases it centers around the masks that have silicone frames or straps that rub against the hair on your head. The silicone is tacky and as you move at night it pulls the hair out of your head. There are a couple options to help.

Options to Eliminate the Hair Loss on CPAP:

The main thing that you have to do is to get a barrier between your hair and the silicone parts of the mask. Below are a couple options that may give you some relief.
  1. One of the options would be a generic mask frame wrap. Many CPAP masks come with a frame wrap of some sort, because they know this is an issue. One of those would be the DreamWear. You simply wrap the velour wrap around the frame and Velcro it in place. This provides a smooth surface for the frame or headgear to move as you move. Without the pull.
  2. You can also try out a hair cap. These are obviously a bit more involved, but they do work. You can find them at almost any hair shop or Walmart. Simply put the head cap on before bed and then fit your CPAP mask over top of the cap. This will give you a comfortable mask fit without any pull on your hair what-so-ever.

Which CPAP Mask Cause Hair Loss

Most CPAP masks are designed to be as comfortable and effective as possible. The balance of comfort and effectiveness is the most difficult part of making CPAP masks. And because everyone has different preferences and features there are a ton of different style out there to choose from. Most of them feature fabric headgear that moves gently around the head without pulling or abrasion, while others have silicone frames that surround the head. The ones like the DreamWear cradle or the N30i have awesome features but may cause pulling of the hair. This is because the frame that delivers the air from the top of your head to the nose is silicone. For other CPAP users even the fabric headgear can pull hair. Using one of the Mask Frame Wraps can allow use of these CPAP mask options without the pulling of your hair.
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  • By Clay Rollyson
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Over the years we have had a TON of CPAP users that run out of water during the night, and until now we didn’t have much of an option. After reading that feedback for the 1000th time, it hit me that there is an option. In this blog we are going to take you through the process of how to add extra humidity without running out of water in the middle of the night.

How does the humidifier on the CPAP work?

The first thing that you have to understand is how the humidifier works. Your CPAP most likely has an integrated heated humidifier system. This means that you are adding water to a tank nightly and the CPAP uses that water to humidify the air you are breathing. Most humidifier chambers are about 300 ml, which is not a lot of water. The chamber has a metal plate on the bottom that is heated, allowing more of the water to evaporate into the air passing through the CPAP to you. The higher you heat the water the more water evaporates into the air you are breathing.

Why is the CPAP running out of water?

So now that you understand how it works let’s discuss why it runs out. Because you only have so much water available in the water chamber you will only have so much time available with humidity. Most CPAP water chambers will allow for at least 8 hours of usage. However, if you have conditions where the air in your home is dry then it may absorb a lot more water from the CPAP as it passes through the humidifier. This means that what was meant to last 8 hours, may only last 4 or 5. Then you wake up dry as the Sahara Desert with an empty tank. Time to offer a real solution.

 

How can I fix the limited water issue on my CPAP?

Unless you enjoy waking up in the middle of the night to add water to you CPAP, then you probably need a solution. Finally, we have an option for you. We have used the HC-150 external humidifier for years with Ventilators and older style CPAPs. Now, we are using it as an addition to your CPAP to add extra water volume and humidity. The HC-150 holds an additional 400ml (13.5oz) of water. This will at least double your water capacity. Now, let’s learn how to use it properly.

How to use the HC-150 External Humidifier Properly:

Setting up the HC-150 is pretty simple. There are things to keep in mind to make sure that it is running properly. The first thing is to make sure that you have the short adapter tube running from the back of the CPAP into the top of the HC-150 humidifier. Then you will connect your longer CPAP tube to the outlet of the HC-150 and to your mask. It is best to use the smaller adapter hose from the CPAP to the HC-150 to avoid pressure loss.

How to Adjust the Settings when using the HC-150 on CPAP:

This is where the rubber meets the road. You have to be careful to make sure that you don’t add too much humidity and cause “rainout”. The best way to do this is by adjusting up slowly on a night-by-night basis. To start with we recommend turning the integrated humidifier on the CPAP off and leaving that water tank empty. Start with the HC-150 alone to see if it will be enough. Start the HC-150 setting at a little over 2 on the front dial. Then turn it up nightly as needed to keep from drying out. If you max out the HC-150, and still cannot get enough humidity, then you can add water to the CPAP and gradually increase the humidifier setting on the CPAP to add in even more humidity. It may also be smart to add in a tubing insulator like one of our tube wraps to help reduce the chance of “rainout” condensation in your CPAP tube.

Things to keep in mind when setting up the HC-150 this way:

There are a few things that you should be aware of when setting up an external humidifier like the HC-150 on your CPAP machine. Let’s dive in a little deeper on that front:
  • Don’t go overboard to begin with– Work the settings up slowly. If you add too much humidity up front, then you may end up blowing water in your face because of “rainout” condensation.
  • Stick with our recommended tubing setup– You don’t want to add in too much tubing length, because it can affect pressure.
  • Start with the HC-150 alone– You may find that the HC-150 does a great job of keeping you humidified without having to add in water to the CPAP chamber at all. You can always add that in if the HC-150 isn’t enough.
  • Heater plate it HOT– Be careful not to touch or let anyone else touch the heater plate. It can be really hot.
  • Remember to turn it off– It has a manual on/off button. Make sure you turn it off in the morning after you turn the CPAP off.
  • Best to keep it lower than yourself– In case there is excess condensation in the tubing, the water will drain back into the HC-150 chamber instead of in your face. They recommend keeping it on the floor which seems silly but keep this in mind.
  • You can’t use heated tubing– If you are currently using heated tubing on your CPAP then you will have to switch to standard tubing. You can add in a tubing snuggie to help insulate the tubing and prevent rainout.

What else can the HC-150 humidifier do for me?

  • Use with Travel CPAP– The HC-150 external humidifier may also be a good fit for people wanting to use a Travel CPAP. Almost all travel CPAPs do not have humidifier, so it may be a good add on to that setup.
  • Sub it in for a broken CPAP humidifier– From time to time the integrated CPAP humidifier may fail. If money is short or you can’t get a new CPAP, then the HC-150 may be a good use.
  • Double down on humidity– Some CPAP user just don’t get enough humidity from their CPAP humidifier. In that case you can add the HC-150 in to double the humidity output. Be careful not to add too much in this case.

HC-150 Accessories:

Maintaining your HC-150 CPAP Humidifier:

  1. Switch off the HC-150 and unplug from the power cord
  2. Detach the water tank and allow it to cool.
  3. Wipe the HC-150 exterior with a damp cloth and mild dishwasher detergent. Note: do not use harsh abrasives or solvents, as these may cause damage.
  4. Daily- Rinse the water chamber and breathing tube with warm soapy water. Rinse well and allow to air dry.
  5. Weekly- Soak the inside of the chamber for 10 minutes in a 1 part white vinegar 2 part water solution. Rinse thoroughly and air dry before use.
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  • By Clay Rollyson
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Philips Respironics has issued an Urgent Medical Device Correction on a handful of their Nasal and Full-Face CPAP Masks. All of these CPAP masks have magnets on the headgear straps. These magnets are designed to help you attach and detach your headgear more easily. However, they can cause issues for certain CPAP users. Let’s dive into the details of what this might mean for you below. You can read through the formal notification on the Philips website by clicking here. Click on any of the words in blue to see details on the items in blue.

What Implants and Devices are affected by these CPAP Mask Magnets?

Contraindication: Use of the mask is contraindicated for patients and their household members, caregivers, and bed partners that may be in close vicinity to patients using the masks, that have implanted devices that may be affected by magnets, including but not limited to:
  • Pacemakers
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD)
  • Neurostimulators
  • Magnetic metallic implants/electrodes/valves placed in upper limbs, torso, or higher (i.e. neck and head)
  • CSF (cerebral spinal fluid) shunts (e.g., VP (ventriculo peritoneal) shunt)
  • Aneurysm clips
  • Embolic coils
  • Intracranial aneurysm intravascular flow disruption devices
  • Metallic cranial plates, screws, burr hole covers, and bone substitute devices
  • Metallic splinters in the eye
  • Ocular implants (e.g., glaucoma implants, retinal implants)
  • Certain contact lenses with metal
  • Implants to restore hearing or balance that have an implanted magnet (such as cochlear implants, implanted bone
  • conduction hearing devices, and auditory brainstem implants)
  • Magnetic denture attachments
  • Metallic gastrointestinal clips
  • Metallic stents (e.g., aneurysm, coronary, tracheobronchial, biliary)
  • Implantable ports and pumps (e.g., insulin pumps)
  • Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulators
  • Devices labeled as MR (magnetic resonance) unsafe
  • Magnetic metallic implants not labeled for MR or not evaluated for safety in a magnetic field

Which Philips Respironics Masks are affected?

There are 4 CPAP mask models that we have sold that are affected. They are the Amara View Full Face, DreamWear Full Face, DreamWisp Nasal, and the Wisp Nasal CPAP mask. All of these models feature magnets on the headgear straps that can be an issue for affected CPAP users. For most of these models there is not resolution, and you would need to change mask models. For one however, there is a quick and easy resolutions. Below we go over the individual affected masks and appropriate models that would be similar if you need to make a change.

What do I do if I am affected by the Magnets on the CPAP mask?

All 4 of these masks affected by the Urgent Medical Device Correction have either a comparable alternative that we can recommend or might even be able to be resolved with a quick alternative clip. Let’s look at each of the masks individually to see what might be best for you.

DreamWear Full Face

The DreamWear full face is a Minimal contact full face CPAP mask. It features magnetic clips that are built into the cushion of the mask. For this mask there is no resolution that will allow you to continue use of the DreamWear Full. This means that you would need to seek out an alternative. Unfortunately, the only direct competitor to this mask would be the F30i from ResMed, but it also has magnets. So, your best bet would most likely be the Evora Full Face by fisher and paykel. It has a similar fit with a fairly low profile, but it does have a front tube attachment.

Amara View Full Face

For the Amara View there is a pretty nice and easy way to continue use of this mask without magnets. The only thing necessary is to purchase the older style manual clips for the Amara View. These clips allow you to manually clip the headgear into place without the magnets being attached at all. To view these manual clips, click here. If you would like to change models entirely, then the Evora Full Face would again be your best bet.

DreamWisp Nasal Mask

The DreamWisp is a tough one to resolve. This is because it is the only Nasal CPAP mask that has an over the head tube connection. Because of that you will have to sacrifice something in the change. You can convert to a standard Nasal CPAP mask without magnets like the Eson 2 or Mirage Fx. This allows you to keep the standard “over-the-nose” nasal fit. If you would like to keep the top-of-head tube connection you would move to a nasal cradle design like the Evora Nasal, DreamWear Nasal or the N30i.

Wisp Nasal Mask

The Wisp Nasal Mask is another tough one to replace. That is because the headgear and frame are pretty unique. There is no frame in front of the nose which gives you a nice clear line of sight while wearing the Wisp. Masks like N20 and the N10 which would be very similar to the Wisp also have magnets. So, in this case again you would have to go to a more standard style Nasal Mask with a traditional frame like the Eson 2 or Mirage FX to achieve the traditional nasal fit. You can also consider a Nasal Pillow mask or Nasal Cradle mask to achieve the open line of sight.

What does ResMed say about their Mask Magnets?

I reached out to my representative at ResMed to see where they stand on the Mask Magnet issue. Since ResMed has quite a few CPAP masks that feature really nice magnets, I was concerned. Please keep in mind that this is the response on the day that this blog was written. If this response changes, then I will do my best to update this information. I will also clarify that despite the word “recall” below, I have not heard the word “recall” from Philips or anyone else so far.

ResMed’s Response:

“We are aware of the September 6, 2022, recall of certain Philips masks due to a safety issue with magnets that may affect some medical devices in or on a patient.  ResMed is carefully reviewing the issues outlined in the FDA’s recall report, as we do with any relevant regulatory activity in the market. We believe our (ResMed) masks are safe to use.  While some ResMed masks use magnets in the lower headgear straps and the frame to assist with ease of closure and a secure fit, these masks contain magnets designed to a strength below the guidance from the International Commission of Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) for use of magnets in this setting, and ResMed masks provide instructions to users about the use of magnets in proximity to other medical devices.  We will consider whether additional work is needed to further demonstrate the continuing safety of our masks that use magnets. ResMed continually evaluates our products against applicable regulatory standards, industry guidance, safety standards, and good clinical practice, as they develop.”      
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