There are 3 main functions of our nose and upper airway: Heat, Humidify and Filter the airflow heading for your lungs. We’ll get into the filter part later.
Once air enters your airway, before your lungs, your body works to heat it up to body temperature and humidify it to 100% relative humidity, which is the highest amount of water content that can be held at that body temperature.
When breathing normally, we can accomplish this by staying hydrated and drinking water.
Because CPAP therapy delivers airflow at a higher velocity, it is important to supplement that airflow to prevent cracked lips, nasal infections, dry mouth, dry throat, nosebleeds, etc.
But here’s some cool news: if you weren’t using CPAP therapy, and you wanted to calibrate the humidification levels in your environment for sleeping comfortably, exactly the way you desire, it would take a greater amount of work that is more wasteful and less accurate. Picture changing an entire room’s humidification levels.
Remember 2 key points for optimization:
The hotter the air temperature, the carrying capacity of water in the air goes up.
The colder the air temperature, the carrying capacity of water in the air goes down.
Let’s say the air temperature is 97°F (36°C), plus the relative humidity level is 100% at that temperature. Suddenly there is a temperature change down to 93°F (34°C). Because the lower temperature has a lower carrying capacity of water, it begins to rain J. This is exactly why water droplets or rainout occur inside your CPAP tubing.
Tools to Upgrade Your Humidification on CPAP Therapy:
Distilled Water – This is the recommended option since it is water in its purest form. Most water chambers will say to use it on them. The reason is that it prevents calcification and other growth that could occur if you use tap water. Without using it can make it much more difficult to clean over time, especially if you are on the go. Different cities have different levels of Page Break minerals or particulates in water tap water. You can buy distilled water for cheap in some places, or you can also invest in a countertop distiller. Here are some options:
Heated Humidifier – Most modern home CPAP machines (not travel) have a built-in heated humidifier. Below are links on exactly how to change your heated humidifier, also known as climate control:
Heated Tubing – Most modern CPAP machines come with heated circuit which maintains a consistent temperature, end to end on CPAP tubing. Below are links on exactly how to change your heated tubing settings:
CPAP Hose Cover – The 3 C’s of CPAP Hose Covers. Condensation: hose covers help protect tubing from environmental temperature changes and maintain a constant temperature in the tubing, reducing water droplets. Comfort: hose covers are much more comfortable to rest your body against if needed, and they won’t leave corrugations from CPAP tubing on your face in the morning. Cats: The number of users and reviews that tell us their hose cover protected their tubing from a cat who would otherwise bite into their tubing normally was shocking.
HME – Last but not least, is an HME also known as a Heat Moisture Exchanger. An HME looks like a slightly larger in-circuit filter, that recycles your exhaled (humidified) air by capturing it when you breathe into it. This is how the AirMini travel CPAP works without a humidifier, and it can also be a solution for a home CPAP if you don’t have immediate access to a heated humidifier.
Having a basic understanding of humidification can help you calibrate it to a level, potentially more comfortable, than even breathing off CPAP therapy.