10 Side Effects of the CPAP Machine

The CPAP machine will help with your apnea. Unfortunately it is not the most comfortable thing in the world. Here are 10 symptoms to expect and what to do about them.

1. Claustrophobia – Having the mask on will probably be uncomfortable, especially initially. Use it as much as you can bear to begin with, but try to increase the duration each night. It can help to challenge, and maybe even reward yourself if you make it through the night

Don’t use straps that are too tight. Use it while awake, in the hours before bedtime to get used to the sensations. Anti-anxiety drugs may help if things get unbearable – ask your doctor if this option is for you.

2. Blocked nose or irritation – The CPAP machine air is very dry. The air may cause a response in the delicate nasal areas, often a dripping nose, sneezing, blockages or stinging. You might also have occasional bleeding from the nose. Humidification of the air, which your machine may be able to do can help with these symptoms. If your machine doesn’t have this feature, find one that does.

3. A mask that fits poorly or loses pressure – There are masks in all sorts of shapes, from full face to nostrils only; many come in different sizes as well. Try a range of masks until you find the best one for you. The CPAP helps with your symptoms but isn’t a cure; you may need to wear the mask every night for a long time. Find one that fits properly

Facial hair like beards and moustaches along and dirty oily skin may stop the seal from being properly air tight. Take care of your face and the mask and the performance may well improve.

4. No improvements – It can be disheartening when the CPAP machine interrupts your night. Try to remember the positive aspects of the treatment, consider keeping a diary nad record if headaches lessen or you feel less tired in the morning. Goals or personal competitions can help to keep the mask on. If the sleep apnea is not improving after a period of months consult your health professional

5. Unable to nose breath – Sleep apnea is relieved by pressure to the throat behind the nose. If you can’t breath through your nose than it may not be effective. Surgery may be needed if there is an underlying problem with your nasal passages. Over the counter medication to help with flu symptoms may also be effective. There are a range of full face masks that may be more suited to you

6. Pressure and headaches – You need to allow the pressure from the machine to escape from your bodies cavities. Normally air will go through the ear, however if you have a cold or flu the blockage may prevent this. Use of the machine may need to be halted until the symptoms clear

7. Bloating – You should not experience an excess of air in your stomach while using the machine. Flatten your sleeping alignment so that air is not blocked in the throat. Use only 1 pillow. The pressure may also be set too high

8. Noise – Older models can have a distinct humming or vibration. Keep the machine as far away from you as physically possible if it’s disturbing. Newer models are much quieter

9. Interfering with the tube – Knocking or tangling the cords and tubes can be one of the most annoying problems. The more you use the CPAP machine the better you will get at sleeping with it. Use blankets to keep obstructions away from you and position the machine where it will be more difficult to hit.

10. Removing the mask at night – Don’t remove the mask during the sleeping hours. Disconnect the apparatus from the machine. If you leave the mask on for these night tasks you will probably start using it again.