Why Do You Need a Prescription for Air?


    Snoring and sleep apnea are serious health problems.

    Often times, bad sleep quality seems to lead to weight gain, which leads to more snoring.  Spouses are often the first person to realize when someone has a snoring problem.

    But in order to do something about it, doctors feel it’s necessary to do a sleep study, which leads to a bad night’s sleep for patient, and depending on their insurance, considerable medical expense.

    Sleep studies used to be vitally important because first generation CPAP machines needed to be calibrated manually to get the pressure right to keep the airway open.

    Too much pressure could cause a person to choke in their sleep.

    But the days of the old CPAP machine calibrations have been gone for nearly 20 years.  Most of the machines on the market today are highly intelligent, and automatically set themselves to help the patient keep an open airway without any calibration needed.

    Basically, doctors are making patients jump through a number of hoops and spend lots of money so they can get a prescription for air.

    How many people are living with breathing obstructions and how many spouses are dealing with snoring in the middle of the night because of expensive tests that are no longer necessary?

    Believe it or not, there are a number of fairly inexpensive machines that will help keep your airway open in the night available online.

    Machines have been used to keep people’s airway’s open at night since 1981 when Dr. Colin Sullivan recognized the benefit of keeping a constant pressure in the airflow when he used the motor from his mom’s vacuum cleaner to create a prototype.

    Before his invention, the best treatment was getting your throat cut with a tracheostomy.

    It took five years, but eventually his invention caught on.

    Keeping a constant pressure in the airway kept it open, ending snoring.  The soft palate, uvula and tongue stayed out of the airway and all the snoring vibration stopped.

    Now most of the machines are automatic and even record how well you sleep through the night.

    Most of the initial concern about CPAP was obstructive sleep apnea which means people missed breaths.  This led to the BiPAP (bi-level positive airway pressure) which can compensate for all airway restrictions.

    And if the device is automatic, there is no need for any calibration.

    Now there are many different devices, mask types, special pillows and even models with built in humidifiers.  These machines are very quiet and are able to be customized for an individual comfort.

    The question is, why do we need all the testing?

    If you don’t need any additional pressure, the machine won’t give it to you.  Why does your insurance company insist you do all the testing and then limit your choices as to the brands you can use?

    And why can’t people easily get used machines without a prescription?  Most of the units you get from the sleep specialist are rental units which have been used by someone else already.

    I Googled “used BiPAP machines” and found hundreds available from $150.

    I also Googled “what is the danger of using an automatic BiPAP machine?” and didn’t find any.  The biggest danger is, there was a remote possibility a sleep study might find other issues besides the snoring.

    But the question is how many people are not getting this needed device because of the cost and need for a prescription and/or sleep study?

    According to the website Sleepapnea.org, 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea and 38,000 die from it each year.  If, for $150, you could get a device to keep your airway open and you didn’t have to go to the doctor and subject yourself to a sleep study, would you try it?

    How many spouses would buy it for their snoring partner to try?

    After all, what are you really getting when you get this prescription?  Well in short, air.