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Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease
last updated:
Mon, 2/18/2013 1:32 PM

February is Heart Month

According to the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology Foundation, 71% of all patients diagnosed with heart disease have sleep apnea.  50% of Obstructive Sleep Apnea patients have high blood pressure. Therefore, Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome is present in a large number of patients with high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, diabetes, stroke, and irregular heart rhythms.  

If you or your loved one have heart disease and believe you may also have a sleep disorder, consult your physician or contact the Methodist Sleep Disorders Center directly by calling 901-683-0044 to determine your best treatment option.

This information is provided by Methodist Healthcare and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

Keeping your CPAP equipment clean
last updated:
Tue, 10/23/2012 1:59 PM

Continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, is the standard treatment option for moderate to severe cases of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and is a good option for mild sleep apnea. CPAP blows air into a person’s windpipe at a set, steady pressure. This airflow keeps the airway open, preventing pauses in breathing and restoring normal oxygen levels.

Patients who require CPAP supplies can order them conveniently online by clicking here.

Whether you are a patient who has just started CPAP treatment, or a patient who has experienced the benefits of this treatment for many years, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how to clean and disinfect your respiratory equipment. Check out these tips from for how to keep your equipment in pristine working order.

Cleaning and disinfecting your respiratory equipment is essential to the life of the equipment and to your health. Whenever moisture is present, from water supplies, from body humidity, or any bodily fluid, bacteria can grow. If your equipment is not properly cleaned and dried, bacteria builds up and can lead to infections in your body, especially in your airway passages. Also, the oils in your skin and the minerals in tap water can cause premature breakdown in the materials used to manufacture your CPAP equipment, especially your mask. Therefore, we recommend the cleaning and disinfection schedule be followed diligently.

Daily cleaning removes dirt and oils that may harbor germs. Disinfection actually kills germs that may lead to infection. Remember to always wash your hands prior to handling your CPAP equipment.

To wash your CPAP equipment:
Only use a mild, non-lotion detergent. Do not use soap or strong dish washing detergents such as Dawn or Joy. Avoid detergents that use strong perfumes or dyes. We recommend using a dishwashing detergent like Ivory Clear, Palmolive, or Dial Anti-Bacteria for cleaning your equipment.

To disinfect your equipment:
Mix 1/2 oz. (1 tablespoon) of Control III with 2 quarts of water in a plastic container. The solution can be reused for up to 14 days. If the solution becomes visibly dirty, make a fresh batch. First wash and rinse your CPAP equipment, then soak it in the Control III solution for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly (allow water to run for 3 minutes) with tap water and then allow to air dry. Cover dried parts with a clean towel until the equipment is reassembled. To dry your CPAP tubing, hang over a doorknob or hanger. Alternative to Control III - Wash equipment with warm, soapy water, rinse and then soak equipment in a 50/50 solution of white distilled vinegar and water for 15 to 30 minutes. Rinse well and dry as instructed above.

Drying Hints:
Always hang tubing away from direct sunlight, as this will cause the tubing to become yellow, brittle and crack over a period of time. DO NOT attach the wet tubing to your CPAP unit to blow-dry it. The moisture from the tubing can drain back into your machine. Moisture in your unit can cause sudden pressure increases or short circuits.

Cleaning the CPAP unit:

  • Unplug the unit before cleaning it.
  • Never immerse the unit in water.
  • Using a cloth slightly dampened with water and dish detergent, wipe the outside of the unit.
  • Using a cloth dampened with water only, wipe the outside of the unit again.
  • Use a dry cloth to wipe the unit and then let it air dry.
  • Make sure the unit is thoroughly dry before plugging it in.

Cleaning and Disinfecting the Humidifier:

  • Empty any remaining water after each use.
  • Never immerse the unit in water.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Immerse the humidifier in warm, soapy water.
  • Fill the humidifier with the soapy water and shake the humidifier vigorously.
  • Rinse with clean water and allow to air dry.


  • Mix disinfecting solution (1 tablespoon disinfectant per 2 quarts water).
  • Soak the humidifier in disinfectant for 10 minutes.
  • Be sure the disinfectant completely covers and fills the humidifier.
  • Remove the humidifier and shake out the excess solution and rinse with distilled water.
  • Allow to air dry.

DO's and DON'Ts:

  • Don't use alcohol-based products to clean your mask, because it can cause the materials to become hard and brittle.
  • Do follow the recommended cleaning schedule.
  • Don't use any caustic or household cleaning solutions such as bleach on your CPAP equipment.
  • Do change your disposable filter frequently.
  • Don't put headgear in the washer or dryer.

CPAP Equipment Cleaning and Disinfecting Schedule


Cleaning Frequency


Disinfecting Frequency

Non-Disposable Filters (gray)


Mild soapy water, Rinse, Air Dry

Not Required

Disposable Filters

Change as needed 1 to 2 months

Do Not Wash

Not Required

Hose (without humidifier)


Mild soapy water, Rinse, Air Dry

Not Required

Hose (with humidifier)


Mild soapy water, Rinse, Air Dry

Once a week

Mask / Nasal Pillows


Mild soapy water, Rinse, Air Dry

Once a week


As Needed

Hand wash, Mild soapy water, Rinse, Dry

Not Required



Empty water daily; Mild soapy water, Rinse well, Air Dry

Once a week


As Needed

Dust with damp cloth, No detergents or sprays

Not Required

If you or your loved one requires CPAP supplies or any other home medical equipment, please visit the Methodist Home Medical Equipment Online Store at

Type 2 Diabetes and Sleep Apnea
last updated:
Fri, 6/15/2012 8:39 AM

The majority of patients with type 2 diabetes also have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is the most common type of sleep apnea and occurs when an airway is blocked or has narrowed during sleep.  While these two conditions are irrefutably linked, it is difficult to determine which one induces the other. A better understanding of the relationship may have important health implications for patients of either condition.

The interactions between obesity, OSA and type 2 diabetes are extremely complex and involve multiple pathways. Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with alterations in glucose metabolism and therefore places patients at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  Because sleep apnea increases stress on the body, blood sugar levels rise, which makes it very important for patients with type 2 diabetes to have OSA treated.  Undiagnosed OSA may interfere with lifestyle treatments for diabetes.

While it is uncertain where the relationship originates and which condition induces the other, acknowledging the link between type 2 diabetes and OSA enables health professionals to better inform and treat patients.

If you suffer from type 2 diabetes and have trouble sleeping, consult your physician or contact the Methodist Sleep Disorders Center directly by calling 901-683-0044 to determine you best treatment option.

This information is provided by Methodist Healthcare and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.


The truth about common sleep myths
last updated:
Mon, 5/16/2011 3:37 PM

Quality sleep is one of the most important--and often misunderstood--keys to a healthy lifestyle. Kristi Lester, Manager of the Methodist Healthcare Sleep Disorders Center, shares why some of the things you've heard about sleep may not be the real story.

Myth #1: When a person is snoring, they are getting really good, restful sleep.

Reality: Although snoring appears harmless and more humorous when Larry, Curly, and Moe are doing it, snoring is a sign that not enough air is going into a person's windpipe. Snoring or pauses in breathing often indicate a serious, life-threatening sleep disorder known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Myth #2: I can function just fine with 5 or 6 hours of sleep.

Reality: The vast majority of adults function best with 7.5 - 8.5 hours of sleep every night. Many individuals who get less than that amount struggle with memory, problem-solving, and emotional problems.

Myth #3: I never discuss my sleep problems or concerns about sleepiness with my primary care physician because it really isn't important to my health.

Reality: Sleep isn't just "a break" from our daily lives. It is an active state important for renewing our minds and bodies each day. We spend one-third of our lives sleeping. There are more than 80 sleep disorders that lead to a lowered quality of life and poor health. Many disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea are life-threatening, as they may lead to heart attacks, strokes, depression, and other debilitating diseases and conditions. Sleepiness is often a complication of untreated sleep disorders and endangers lives every day by contributing to traffic accidents. You should always discuss any concerns that you have regarding sleepiness or your sleep in general with your primary care physician.

Myth #4: People who are sleepy during the day are "lazy."

Reality: Excessive sleepiness often indicates that the person is not getting enough sleep or that he or she has a sleep disorder that requires treatment. People with daytime sleepiness often fall asleep at traffic lights and stop signs, while watching television, during meetings, or while sitting in front of a computer. This is not normal behavior and a person should talk with their primary care physician about these issues.

Please tune in to Comcast Cable Channel 18, WYPL's The Power of Sleep in May 2011 where Dr. Merrill Wise will discuss these and many more common myths about sleep and sleep disorders. The Power of Sleep airs every month on the following days and times:

Mondays - 3:00 a.m.; 9:00 p.m.
Tuesdays - 12:30 a.m.; 6:30 a.m.; 6:30 p.m.
Wednesdays - 4:30 a.m.; 11:00 p.m.
Thursdays - 12:30 p.m.
Fridays - 3:00 p.m.; 9:00 p.m.
Saturdays - 2:00 a.m.; 10:00 a.m.
Sundays - 6:00 p.m.


Kristi Lester is the Manager of the Methodist Healthcare Sleep Disorders Center. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Please call the Sleep Disorders Center for more information at 901.683.0044.

10 Steps to Better Sleep
last updated:
Tue, 11/02/2010 10:25 AM

In today’s busy, 24/7 society, many of us fail to allocate sufficient time or attention to our sleep. Healthy sleep is a fundamental aspect of our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. When sleep problems occur, the impact on our quality of life is significant and we may experience problems with alertness, productivity, safety, mood regulation, and physical health. 

The following Ten Steps to Better Sleep provide a good place to begin assessing sleep health:

  1. Make sleep a priority in your life. Establish a consistent sleep/wake schedule that provides adequate sleep every night. Most adults function best with 7-9 hours of sleep. Teens and young adults generally require 8.5-9.5 hours per night.
  2. Avoid activities or habits that work against good sleep: avoid caffeine after 3-4 p.m., avoid strenuous exercise in the evening, and avoid stressful activities such as paying bills or emotional family discussions during the 2 hours prior to bedtime.
  3. Maximize your exposure to bright light in the morning and minimize your exposure to bright light in the evening. Bright light has a significant impact on timing and quality of sleep and alertness.
  4. Discuss concerns regarding medication side effects that involve sleep with your healthcare provider. Certain medications may cause daytime sleepiness or affect ability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night.
  5. Avoid using alcohol to help fall asleep. Alcohol may help hasten sleep onset but it also fragments or disrupts nighttime sleep.
  6. Learn how to recognize sleep problems in your life. For example, excessive daytime sleepiness can present with difficulty focusing or completing tasks, irritability, poor memory, and difficulty with brief “lapses” or micro-sleeps.
  7. Insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying sleep) is a common sleep problem that can occur due to many different factors. Discuss insomnia concerns with your healthcare provider and seek help from a sleep specialist if initial interventions do not help.
  8. Breathing problems such as loud habitual snoring, or gasp-like sounds during sleep may signal the presence of a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is an important medical disorder that can be associated with a variety of other chronic health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, stroke, chronic headache, and depression. This problem requires evaluation in a sleep center, followed by development of a treatment plan.
  9. Drowsiness while driving is a potentially life-threatening problem. Recognize and acknowledge your drowsiness, and avoid driving when you are sleep deprived or if you are experiencing drowsiness due to medication effects or a sleep disorder.
  10. If you or a family member is struggling with a chronic sleep problem, gather information by keeping a calendar or sleep log, and seek help by consulting with your primary care provider or a sleep specialist!


Merrill S. Wise, M.D. is a neurologist and Board-certified sleep medicine specialist affiliated with the Methodist Healthcare Sleep Disorders Center. All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and not of their employer. Information provided here is for medical education only. It is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. Please call the Sleep Disorders Center for more information at 901.683.0044.


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Methodist Healthcare is an integrated health care delivery system, dedicated to the art of healing through our faith-based commitment to minister to the whole person. 1211 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38104 • (901) 516-7000