09 March 2019

Conflicts of Interest. Avoid!

“As long as Greed is stronger than compassion, there will always be suffering.”
- Rusty Eric 

It’s probably apparent to other people, there are Conflicts of Interest operating within the sleep apnea industry. Avoid them at all costs as it may be to your detriment.

Some years ago, I went to a sleep equipment shop to buy a battery power backup should there be a power blackout and I had no access to electricity. As a result I would not be able to use the sleep apnea machine and have a great night’s sleep.

I had gone into the shop with the intention of buying a ResMed battery system. The staff explained the advantages of an alternative system. The backup battery system that was recommended for power blackouts was better and much cheaper than the ResMed setup. In fact it was approximately one third of the price. I thanked the staff for their honesty as they could easily have sold the more expensive and less useful ResMed battery system. 

I asked the staff “Why not put on their website the advantages of this particular backup system versus the ResMed battery backup system?” The reply was and I quote “If we did that, ResMed would stop selling to our shop!” 

Another great example of Conflicts of Interest was when I was first diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea in 2010 and I went to receive my machine and mask and other equipment. In the previous blog post Stop CPAP causing Mask Leaks, I mentioned that Masks are very personal. A great mask for one person may be a terrible mask for someone else. My first mask, a nasal mask, ResMed LT Activa whilst liked by many people was to me a terrible mask. In fact, it was and still is the worst mask I have used. The mask did end up in the garbage bin.

Why was this particular mask, my very first mask? I had no choice. The staff did not show me any other masks despite me asking about them. I asked what about nasal pillows and other nasal masks? What about a full face mask? What about other brands of mask? The staff advised that based on my facial features, this is the best mask for you. I asked again why? The answer was the same as the answer that I was given a few moments earlier. 

The ResMed LT Activa mask was heavy and bulky. Lost its seal after 3-6 months and gave me skin rashes. When moving from side to side, the mask would lose its seal and leak due to the mask hitting the pillow or the hose pipe pulling on the mask. I would wake up continuously during the night. The mask cushion would also go up and down like a yo-yo and make a noise as the pressure increased and decreased. 

I thought the sleep medical specialist and staff knew what they were doing. Masks are very personal. A mask that suits one person may not suit another person. Have a mask that you feel comfortable with and suits your style of sleeping. The staff did not ask about what sleep position I slept or what pillow I had. No. They advised that this is the best mask for you! 

There are other questions they could have asked such as whether you move from side to side and lie on your back, are you claustrophobic or do you want to read a book with your mask on before going to bed? 

Due to smallness, I recommend you first try with nasal pillows and nasal masks. Generally, the smaller the mask is, the smaller the leaks. At the equipment supplier, make sure they explain and you try the different types and brands of masks. Use a mask that is comfortable and practical to you. This is critical as it is you who will be sleeping with the mask each day not the equipment supplier. Details of my "perfect" mask are at Stop CPAP Mask Problems and Issues. 

Where are the Conflicts of Interest?

After I saw the sleep specialist and received a ResMed CPAP machine, you walk down the hallway within the same business premises and you see staff to be supplied with a ResMed mask and get some initial training. The training was basic and not extensive. How to put the mask on? How to fill the humidifier with water? Do not touch the settings on the machine! 

Some months later, I was advised by staff that the Sleep Medical Specialist only dealt with ResMed machines and ResMed equipment. The specialist in the room next to my specialist only dealt with Philips Respironics machines and equipment.  

The medical specialist had no intention of offering or allowing me to try any other brand of equipment or mask or a different mask as no doubt it wasn’t in their interest to do so. There is only one logical reason why the medical specialist would do such a thing. Money! 

How did the Sleep Medical Specialist determine that a ResMed machine and mask was better than a Philips Respironics machine and mask or any other Brand and vice versa? What evidence and research studies did they base their decision on? There are many different Brands and hundreds of different masks available. Why pick this particular mask over all others? 

Avoid Conflicts of Interest by the medical specialists and equipment suppliers. Find another sleep specialist and equipment supplier should they not wish to spend time to explain things to you and allow you to try different masks. 

As many of the Sleep Medical Specialists are not educating themselves and their patients, it will be up to you to educate yourself! By doing so, you will have one of the secrets to success to successful sleep apnea therapy.

Should you be having issues with your sleep apnea therapy; CHANGE what you are doing. Get involved in learning about your sleep apnea therapy. Do not become one of up to 80% non-successful, non-compliant and failing patients as detailed on Why is CPAP Compliance Rate Low? 

It is YOUR therapy 

It is YOUR machine 

It is YOUR life! 

You only have one opportunity at life. Make the most of each and every day, free from pain and suffering. Achieve success using the sleep apnea machine and have a great night's sleep.

Should you be having side effects and issues with your sleep apnea therapy, CHANGE what you are doing so that you can wake up feeling refreshed and energized each day.

“Have courage. Be adventurous and Go for it! Overcome your fear.”
- Mrhelpful


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