Is Your CPAP Working?


Hey Sleep Warrior, 

Ever feel curious about whether your CPAP machine is really working?

Well, you have the tools to find out right at your fingertips. And this, my friends, is with something called the AHI - or apnea hypopnea index. One of my patients calls this his ‘tuna’ score - since AHI spells out ‘ahi’. 

Let's dive in.

First, let's clarify what AHI is. The AHI measures the severity of sleep apnea by counting the number of apneas (complete stoppages of airflow) and hypopneas (partial reductions in airflow) you experience per hour of sleep. These are important because they affect how restful your sleep is and can impact your overall health.

AHI categories are:

  • Normal: Less than 5 events per hour
  • Mild: 5 to 14 events per hour
  • Moderate: 15 to 29 events per hour
  • Severe: 30 or more events per hour

Knowing your AHI is crucial for diagnosing sleep apnea and is the first step in managing it effectively. The higher the AHI, the more severe your sleep apnea is, and the greater the association with long term health problems if left untreated. 

So when my patients come in for a CPAP follow-up, there are a couple of primary things I need to know. First, how their symptoms are doing—whether they feel more rested and alert during the day and if they are comfortable on their machine. Second, I need to ensure that their CPAP machine is effectively treating their sleep apnea. The machine AHI gives us this vital information. I want to see that their residual AHI is less than 5.

A fun exercise that you can do, is to compare the AHI from your initial sleep study to the AHI on your CPAP machine. It's not only about feeling better; it’s about seeing the tangible proof right there in the numbers.

For anyone using CPAP, seeing a lower AHI on your machine compared to your initial diagnosis can be incredibly motivating. It's a clear, numerical reminder that your treatment is working and that your sleep—and subsequently, your health—is on a better path.

Thanks for being here, I’ll see you next week!

Waiting on a Machine or Just Getting Started With A CPAP? 

Due to the recent recall and general delays in healthcare services, many people are forced to wait to get their CPAP machines. There are things you can do to prepare, so download the first of its kind guide with actionable tips you can start on today.


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