Questions People Ask about CPAP Therapy

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Questions People Ask about CPAP Therapy

Despite of its high effectiveness, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) acknowledged as a therapy to reverse the upper airway obstruction in patients with Obstructive Sleep apnea is limited by variable adherence. The biggest factor that leads to quitting this Sleep Disorder treatment is the lack of quality education about the importance of continued CPAP therapy.

Isn’t it extremely disappointing to see the patients go through the entire process from exploring the symptoms of Obstructive Sleep apnea, getting diagnosed for it and knowing the best treatment and then just discontinuing it after a short period of time?

As we believe that well-educated patients would better react to the usage of CPAP and would thrive to make it a successful treatment, we have compiled here few concerns (questions) people have in regard to their CPAP therapy and provided answers for them.

“How can I travel with my CPAP device?”

No matter, if you are travelling for your business or pleasure, you will always want to be at your best and you know you won’t be able to, with interrupted and lost sleep.

“How can I travel with my CPAP machine”- The most frequent question Sleep apnea patients ask when it comes to using their CPAP therapy devices during the trip.

Even with the hassles associated, it is just not recommended to leave your machine at home and allow yourself to suffer all night. Of course, it is not easy to carry your Sleep apnea treatment device along wherever you go. But for that, one should not let the idea of travelling with the machine get them down as by using it every time you would be able to keep all the symptoms of Obstructive sleep apnea at bay.

Believe, even a one day off from your CPAP therapy may bring back, some of the very symptoms that brought you to seek this Sleep disorder treatment at the first place: an interrupted/restless sleep at night, excessive sleepiness during the day or a headache in the morning. Moreover, it is an ideal device for patients who have complaints of heart problems and high blood pressure along with sleep disorders as the change in environment may aggravate their conditions.   

What many people don’t realize is that travelling with CPAP machine has become much easier now than previously thought. Fortunately, there are devices that are specially made for travelling and camping remotely. They are smaller, lighter and much easier to pack along now.

“Why I feel bloated in the morning, after using CPAP?”

If you are bloating, burping and farting in the day, after using CPAP for the whole night, you would definitely think of avoiding it the next time. Well, with these symptoms, you are likely to experience Aerophagia- ‘the swallowing of air’ while using CPAP during sleep. People with Sleep apnea often name it as CPAP gas.

If you have the same problem, you may be relieved to know that half of the patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea are very much familiar with the symptoms of Aerophagia. This problem is common for the first time patients in their first few weeks of Sleep apnea treatment.

But the question here could be, why me and not others?

You know very well that CPAP therapy works by blowing pressurized air into nose that makes way through trachea and lungs and reduce apnea events eventually. Now, for the patients who feel bloated and need to burp or pass the gas, the belief is that right near the trachea, there is an opening that goes to stomach and esophagus and hence, sometimes air gets misdirected and accumulates.

While this situation might make you feel distressful and uncomfortable, be tolerant as it doesn’t lead to any permanent damage and is often relieved in the first hour of waking.

Also, there are certain steps that can help you alleviate such symptoms:

  • You may ask your sleep specialist to reduce your pressure settings as high pressure setting might contribute to air flowing into the esophagus more readily.

  • Changing your sleep positions might not relieve you from bloating entirely but would surely give considerable relief.

“What if I can’t tolerate CPAP therapy, are there any other options?”

CPAP is by far the most common Obstructive Sleep Apnea treatment and for this, it is considered as the ‘Gold Standard’ for treating moderate to severe cases. In order to keep the breathing way open during the night, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) works by delivering steady pressure. It has a high success rate but for the patients who stick to it.

However, there are people who feel uncomfortable and claustrophobic wearing a CPAP mask all night. They complain about dry nose/throat, nasal problems and skin irritation. These problems make them reject the mask for their OSA treatment.

However, there are alternatives for those who can’t tolerate CPAP. Many of the alternatives for Sleep disorder treatments operate the same way with slight differences to make it more tolerable.

  • If you have mild to moderate Obstructive Sleep apnea, you may qualify for a Dental Device. You may decide to visit a specialized dentist to provide you a fitted dental appliance as opposed to the CPAP therapy.

  • Secondly, depending upon the severity of your symptoms, various types of surgeries might also prove to be helpful to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea.

But, before you look for an alternative, make sure you have given an honest effort to your CPAP machine as it is often the best treatment for your condition. With this, we mean that if you have trouble with its mask, you may ask your doctor to provide another one that fits better and if it is the pressure bothering you, you may discuss about an alternate for it.

“How often should I replace my CPAP machine or its parts?”

Regular cleaning of your CPAP equipments including masks, cushions, filters etc. will surely enhance the life of your machine. However various parts in your CPAP device are scheduled to be replaced every so often as the materials in that equipment might breakdown over time.

Most medical equipment vendors will notify you when your equipment is due for replacement. If you are not sure, contact your Medical equipment provider to avoid any unexpected breakdown.

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