The adjustment process for each patient who is prescribed CPAP therapy treat sleep apnea is unique, as the experience of each patient with sleep apnea is a unique combination of symptoms and consequences of the disease.
Most patients will require a period of adjustment to the presence of the CPAP mask on the face and the feeling of air pressure delivered by the CPAP unit. The time of this adjustment is variable, can range from a few days to a few weeks. Some patients need months to adjust to CPAP. The most important recommendation for patients who start any CPAP therapy is not to give up. Persistence will make them win. Ask your clinic or sleep laboratory what you should do to get help if you have persistent difficulties.
Can I experience side effects with the use of a CPAP machine?
Most patients will encounter the side effects of the CPAP machine at some point in their experience with it. The most common side effects are related to mask or pressure. Some patients experience claustrophobia with some CPAP masks. Some patients develop nasal congestion, while others may experience rhinitis or a runny nose. While the most common side effects are simply discomfort, serious side effects are very uncommon. Also, research has shown that CPAP side effects are rarely the reason why patients stop using their CPAP machine. Simple changes can help minimize the side effects of CPAP: Here are some tips:
- Make sure the mask fits properly. A mask that is too big or too small can be uncomfortable.
- Nasal symptoms often respond to thermal humidification of the air. Most CPAP machines come with thermal humidifiers, but many patients do not use them.
- Try to adjust the mask by all means. This standard error leads to cover up the discomfort and damage to the skin. If uncomfortable air leaks occur, think about switching to a different mask.
If you experience any of these side effects of CPAP or suspect that you may need to reduce air pressure, talk with your specialist to review the data and determine the best way to change the pressure setting or make other changes.
Fortunately, CPAP is relatively safe, and the most common complaints are related to masking discomfort or air pressure.
Skin marks or rashes
The CPAP mask can leave marks on the skin if it does not fit correctly. It is possible that this can cause sores or even ulcers on the bridge of the nose. People with sensitive skin can also develop a rash or skin irritation. Mask linings, loosening, or a better-fitted mask can alleviate these symptoms.
If the mask does not fit correctly, the air can escape from the edges. It can get worse if you change your position during the night. The masks that cover the nose and mouth are more prone to leakage. These leaks can be noisy and bother your partner in bed. Leaks can also reduce the pressure delivered. The leak can be reduced using a nasal mask or nasal pillows. If there is too much air pressure, it escapes around the edges of the mask or mouth. Talk to your doctor to change the settings.
Dryness in the nose or mouth
The dryness of your nose or mouth can cause nosebleeds or even damage to the gums and teeth. The use of a hot humidifier and a heated tube can help make your CPAP more comfortable. If your mouth opens while you sleep, the air can escape, and that can lead to a dry mouth. You can use a face mask that covers both the nose and the mouth to correct this. If your nose is dry, a nasal saline spray may help.
Upset when breathing
There is a period of adjustment because it is not natural to breathe against pressure. Although it is easy to breathe, you may find it challenging to adapt. This may improve over time but may also cause insomnia. In some cases, you can start from a lower initial pressure can be useful.
If you wake up and your stomach is full of air, it can be a sign of too high pressure. Instead of supporting the upper respiratory tract, excessive air can enter the stomach through the esophagus. As a result, belching, gassing, and bloating can become common problems. Lowering the pressure may help to alleviate this, or the use of medication for heartburn may be helpful.
Development of central sleep apnea
Some people will begin to experience central sleep apnea, in which the retention of breathing occurs in response to CPAP. If central apneas did not explain most of your breathing disorders before you started but now has more than five events per hour, it can be complex sleep apnea. This sometimes resolves over time or may require a change in therapy by lowering the pressure.