Do you have sleep apnea, but aren’t too sure about using the CPAP machine? Do you or your bed partner think it’s too noisy? Is your CPAP louder than your snoring?
When you begin using your CPAP, you will likely feel relief right away. You’ll be more rested, more alert, and have an improved mood. After a few weeks of use, your cognitive function can improve. Obese people with sleep apnea can even lose weight with regular CPAP use.
Regular use of your CPAP will reduce chances for serious cardiovascular conditions, like stroke, heart attack, or an irregular heartbeat. Your body will function more efficiently because there is a constant supply of oxygen-rich air.
Even if you’ve used a CPAP before, you might be surprised by how quiet newer machines can be. Some are even less than 30 decibels, or about as loud as a whisper. A big part of keeping your machine quiet is keeping it clean and wearing a well-fitting mask.
Changing CPAP Settings on Your Own
Three words: Don’t do it.
Let’s consider another condition responsible for strokes or heart attacks: high blood pressure, or hypertension.
When you’re first diagnosed, the doctor will try a medication he or she thinks will work. The doctor will consider your overall health history, other medications you take, how high the blood pressure is, and even your family history.
The doctor will want to see you within the next week or two to make sure the medication is working for you, and to see if there are any side effects.
If the medication isn’t right, the doctor will try another, and see you again in another week or two. The process is repeated until your blood pressure is successfully controlled with minimal or no side effects.
Your sleep medicine doctor wants to reduce your risk of stroke or heart attack, just like the doctor treating hypertension. He or she will want to know if the treatment is working, and if there are any side effects, again, just like the doctor treating hypertension.
Is it good to consult your doctor before modifying your medication for hypertension.
Is it good to consult your doctor before modifying your CPAP settings outside the recommended range.
Signs Your CPAP Pressure is Too High
There are many symptoms that can be associated with a CPAP pressure that is too high. Some of the same symptoms can occur for other reasons. It’s always a good idea to call your sleep medicine specialist to help determine if you pressure needs adjustment.
Signs Your CPAP Pressure is Too Low
A pressure that is too low can be just as dangerous as untreated OSA. Again, establish and keep an open line of communication with your doctor, and keep regular follow up appointments.
Many people who have OSA become frustrated with some of the side effects from the CPAP device. They feel the benefit of using the CPAP does not outweigh the risk of untreated OSA.
The symptoms and risks of untreated OSA aren’t necessarily loud, they can be insidious and result in serious medical conditions or, in some cases, premature death.
Conditions associated with untreated OSA include:
Changes can be made if you aren’t comfortable with using your CPAP. If your mask doesn’t fit well, or is uncomfortable, try something different. The most effective mask is one you will use regularly.
You may experience other problems with CPAP use. Again, these are easily treatable:
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can easily be treated with a CPAP device. The CPAP may not be comfortable for you, or it may not work well for you.
If you feel your CPAP setting is too high or low, call your doctor. You may need to have your setting adjusted.
Correct CPAP settings are important to controlling sleep apnea. If your setting is too high, you could have gas or significant congestion. If your setting is too low, you face the same risks as if your OSA isn’t treated at all.
It’s important to create and maintain an open line of communication with your sleep medicine specialist. He or she has successfully treated most issues you’ll experience. Their objective is your well-being.