A CPAP prescription is required for CPAP treatment to ensure that the patient gets the correct CPAP treatment for their sleep-related breathing difficulties. Going through a doctor is also essential in the event that other medical problems are causing or adding to the sleep disruption.
CPAP prescriptions are usually only given after a doctor does asleep study to determine the nature and/or the severity of the breathing problem that is causing the sleep disorder.
A sleep study will determine whether it is in fact sleep apnea that is disrupting your sleep. The sleep study will also determine the source, type, and the severity of the sleep apnea.
Self-diagnosis for sleep apnea is not recommended because:
- You may suspect you have sleep apnea, and if you do, you are probably right, but you won’t know the extent of it. You can’t know how many times you stop breathing or for how long. You may not always wake up each time there is an episode.
- Typical obstructive sleep apnea symptoms, such as heavy snoring, may not always be due to sleep apnea. In this case, a CPAP machine is not necessarily the correct treatment. You may be referred for other medical tests if your doctor suspects another cause.
- Your apnea may have a neurological cause- and this warrants a specific CPAP prescription and treatment.
- Sleep apnea type symptoms can result from other conditions. You will need a doctor to rule out undiagnosed illnesses and prescribe a suitable CPAP treatment for a diagnosed condition.
Prescribing the right CPAP treatment:
Once it has been medically established that you have either obstructive sleep apnea or apnea caused by something else, your doctor will prescribe either CPAP or BiPaP treatment. BiPAP for more severe apnea or patients who need dual air pressure settings for inhaling and exhaling. Recommended pressure settings, masks and CPAP accessories are included in the CPAP prescription.