Sleep Apnea Interviews

Jason Sazama

One of the most interesting videos about overcoming CPAP and Mask problems are the ones from freecpapadvice by Jason Sazama.

Jason's helpful and educational videos are already famous on YouTube, and you might want to learn more about him and his experience in sleep disorders.

We immediately asked Jason for an interview, and he was kind enough to grant one to us. Here now is Jason Sazama, the free advisor in CPAP machines and sleep disorders!

Meet Jason (TheLankyLefty27)!

1.Hi Jason, please take a moment to tell us about yourself and your work, and anything else you'd like us to know about.

Hello Remy. I appreciate the interview request. I am a fairly private person so I don't really like to talk about myself much. I will tell you that I am a graduate of Gonzaga University and have done work on the A.P.P.L.E.S. project at Stanford.

I work as the Lead Polysomnographic Technologist at an Accredited California Sleep Center and also run my own Polysomnography Scoring Business. I'm also working on a CPAP mask cleaner that actually works.

I see that soap and water isn't working and am starting to wonder if increased upper respiratory infections with CPAP use is caused by lack of cleaning. It's hard to determine when this is self reported. I suspect people are being completely straight with me.

I am currently trying to add more content to my web site named Really it's a place where people can go to find information about all things sleep.

It started out just being focused on Positive Air Pressure therapies, but I can't just leave out parasomnias and other sleep related disorders!

2. Your videos about CPAP equipment are an inspiration for any patient with sleep apnea, and your tips are already circulating on the most respectful websites and forums about sleep disorders and CPAP. What was your motivation to teach others how to have a better treatment with CPAP?

Thank you. I have actually had quite a bit of positive feedback regarding my website and helping people through difficult times adjusting to CPAP.

I see about 4-6 patients a week for counseling sessions when their doctors determine that they are at a breaking point with their home PAP therapy. My true motivation is a deep frustration about inefficient patient education.

When these patients were set up by their home health care companies they were given mask, machine, and a slap on the behind with a half-hearted "good luck with that." This is a little like throwing a 14 year old the keys to the car and having them parallel park in the middle of Manhattan.

If I help out 6 patients a day, it takes me about 6 hours. This is inefficiency that literally keeps me awake at night. Most of the information I share isn't real complicated. It's just that nobody has taken the time to explain all the pitfalls that will occur when somebody uses CPAP.

I know a great deal of people fall through the cracks after they are diagnosed with sleep apnea. After an expensive diagnostic test and possibly another treatment test the are just expected to figure it out for themselves. Many haven't even been shown how their machine works or how to put their mask on properly.

That's where my website comes in. The videos are on YouTube and on my website (with text and in a more organized format....I think). This allows people to find the information they are seeking and learn as the need arises and at their own pace.

3. What attracted me most about your videos was that they are much different than a typical video about CPAP. Rather than feature the quality of the masks or CPAP machines, you take an observational tone and talk about how to avoid the problems that could appear when the patient tries to use them. For the most part, what would you say is the most often asked question and concern you hear? And do you have an opinion on why you think that is?

Yes, a typical CPAP video is professional! (laughing)

I've heard quiet a few questions. Probably the most often asked is about the pressure that they are on. They ask "Is 10cmH20 a normal pressure to be on?"

When I hear this I know that they haven't been educated by their physician or by their home health care company. The answer is that there isn't a normal pressure. The pressure is just an indication of the energy needed to keep the upper airway open during sleep. This varies greatly in people.

CPAP or BiPAP pressure is a prescription just like any medication and should not be tampered with. For example: I am on high blood pressure. At 0mg I have high blood pressure. At 10mg I pass out when standing. At 5mg it is very well controlled.

The same can be said with the pressure prescription. Too low or too high isn't effective and will not control sleep apnea.

In the example, I know what the pill is treating. With people using CPAP I don't think that people actually realize the purpose of it and how it relates to their sleep.

4. Many patients with sleep apnea quit CPAP therapy within the first year. In your opinion, what is the most important thing to know to encourage the patient to continue his treatment?

Finding the correct mask and learning how to wear it. This causes a great deal of frustration for me. "Professionals" that set patients up with masks don't give them comfortable masks, or even masks that fit the patients. I've seen full face masks that rest on the patients lip. Patients don't know any better because the world of sleep medicine is completely foreign to them and often don't even know to question the fit of the mask. Then they go home and try to sleep in discomfort, get frustrated, and ultimately quit.

Finding the proper mask is like dating. You don't marry the first mask that comes along. (well...I did with my wife, but that a statistical anomaly) Try several out and get opinions on what is best from your sleep center. Or better yet, check out and look at my mask reviews. I give opinions based on me trying them out, as well as feedback I receive from people I loan them out to.

5. Are you planning more videos about CPAP equipment in the future? What other CPAP problems would you like to speak about?

Absolutely. The actual CPAP machines I don't really have an opinion about. Mask I absolutely have an opinion about! When more masks come out and I have had enough time to evaluate them properly I will put out another video. I am currently working on three that I can think of.

I think the main problem is an overall lack of education and communication on the part of the clinicians, physicians, and the patients.

6. In some of your videos we see in the background a picture with your 3 year old son. Does he knows how helpful your videos are for many people around the world? Does he ever participate in your activities?

No, I try to keep my work time and family time separate. My wife is proud and very supportive, and that means everything to me.

7. Jason, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to us. For this last question, please explain to us what it was that first got you into the science of sleep disorders and why you are so passionate about it. People get inspired reading about other people’s hobbies, so please take us back to that point in time in your life when you really got interested in it.

I was working in Physical Therapy and didn't really care for it. I was considering entering a Physician's Assistant Program when I shadowed a Sleep Tech for one night and was very intrigued.

I already had the required education for it and at the time it was cutting edge science that I wanted to be a part of.

Thank you Remy. I appreciate you giving me a voice. I think that your website is wonderful in that it educates. That is the key to everything. Empowering people to educate themselves. 

Thanks again to Jason for a tremendous interview, and we wish him all the luck in the world with his website, his job, and we hope he will make more helpful videos about CPAP and sleep disorders.

Please visit freecpapadvice today.

› Jason Sazama Interview

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