Eighteen million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where your breathing is interrupted during sleep -- sometimes hundreds of times during the night. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you know the importance of using your continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy as prescribed by your doctor on a nightly basis.

A CPAP can be a life-changing device, leaving you more refreshed after sleep while aiding in the prevention and treatment of several other health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart failure and diabetes. For those with sleep apnea, traveling with a CPAP machine can be challenging. Many CPAP wearers choose to leave their devices at home because they do not feel comfortable bringing it with them. However, it is essential to feel your best for an important business meeting or to truly enjoy vacation. There is no reason treatment should keep you from traveling and getting a good night's sleep!

"The key to CPAP therapy compliance is working with our knowledgeable respiratory therapy team to determine what portable CPAP options and accessories will work best with the patient's lifestyle," said Gennie Anderson, Prism Health Care respiratory therapy manager.

Did you know that a CPAP machine will run on any power supply in the world with the right adapter? It has also been approved by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for travel and use abroad many airlines and most do not count a CPAP case as part of the carry-on limit because it is medical equipment. They also do not usually charge an additional fee. Your CPAP may run on 12V batteries, just check with the manufacturer or your home medical equipment provider. These features help make it a bit easier to travel with your CPAP.

CPAP travel suggestions

• Write down your home medical equipment provider's phone number for support/emergency supplies.

• Pack an extension cord, just in case.

• Bring the correct electrical adapter when traveling outside the U.S. Your CPAP machine will automatically convert to the appropriate voltage.

• If traveling with your humidifier, use bottled water if you cannot find distilled.

• Bring your CPAP device as a carry-on so that it is not lost or damaged.

• Add some extra time to go through security.

• Be prepared to have the CPAP X-rayed or inspected by security agents.

• If you decide to use your CPAP while in flight, it is a good idea to contact your airline two weeks in advance to make sure you will have access to a power outlet.

• Do not use the humidifier while in flight -- during turbulence or a bump in the road, water could spill into the machine and damage it. In addition, you may not have access to enough voltage to run both the CPAP and the humidifier. Simply turn your humidifier setting to "off."

For the avid traveler, CPAP manufacturers have begun to produce smaller devices aimed at helping a CPAP therapy patient travel with ease. While these devices are not commonly covered by insurance, they do offer significant convenience due to size and unique humidity options and can be an ideal secondary device. If you would like to learn more about sleep apnea solutions and accessories for travel, visit www.prismhc.com/cpapweek.

Prism Health Care Services is a medical supply and respiratory equipment company that offers clinical solutions and over-the-counter products for people suffering from sleep apnea and many other home care products designed to keep you safe in your own home.

Stop by our location at 1337 Basswood Road, Schaumburg, IL 60173 to view the latest portable CPAPs and other sleep accessories so you don't lose sleep while traveling.

To learn more about the latest innovations in sleep therapy, sign up for any of several events held every day during Sleep Therapy Innovations Week Oct. 30-Nov. 3 by visiting www.prismhc.com/cpapweek. Discounts will be offered during the week.

This story is sponsored by Prism Health Care.

For more information, call Prism Health Care at (800) 493-7200 or visit www.PrismHC.com.