CPAP Machine is a gadget that helps you sleep better if you happen to suffer from sleep apnea or any other obstructive sleep disorder. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. As the name indicates, the machine delivers air, under positive pressure, into the airway passages past through any obstruction. The pumped air is room air. CPAP is a safe treatment that delivers air through any collapsed throat tissues. Though it facilitates the inhalation and exhalation processes, CPAP Machine side effects may make it less compliant for some patients.
CPAP machine is a frequently recommended therapeutic device owing to its high margin of safety. It remains very popular with the patient community. If used with accurate mask fitting and air pressure, CPAP eases respiration and improves the quality of life for the user.
However, according to NCBI, a comprehensive systematic literature review showed a decline in adherence to the use of CPAP over a period of twenty years among its regular users. It raises questions about the use of a CPAP machine as a gold standard for OSA disorder. What could be the CPAP Machine side effects that shadow its repute? Read to know the various parts of the CPAP Machine to know its working. It will help you understand CPAP Machine side effects in a better way.
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Different parts of CPAP Machine
CPAP machine is a small sized device with a hose that is attached to a face mask at the other end. The mask is adjustable and gets fixed on the face by different methods. The air pressure is also adaptable. The latest machines use algorithms and pressure sensors to deliver the required amount of air pressure. The basic amenities of a CPAP machine include:
- A hose
The hose attaches the mask to the machine. It may come with insulation to reduce the buildup of condensation in the tubing. The tube varies in length.
- An air filter
Air filter helps to keep the air germ-free so they are important. They come in disposable and reusable varieties.
- CPAP mask
CPAP masks may be oral, nasal, and oro-nasal. Another variety facilitates the attachment of a mouth device.
A humidifier is an added option. It increases the moisture content of the pressurized air.
- BiPAP or Bi-level pressure
It adjusts the air pressure during the inhalation and exhalation phase accordingly.
- Chin straps
They are helpful in mouth-breathers by keeping the mouth closed during respiration.
CPAP Machine side effects
Though a safe device, CPAP Machine side effects are more annoying in nature than harmful. CPAP machine is an expensive gadget. It would not prove to be a cost-effective remedy if petty side effects are not catered to early in the treatment protocol. So the caretakers should make sure to address the CPAP Machine side effects promptly. Enlisted are some side effects and their remedies.
1: Pressure Sores
The CPAP mask should be fixed accurately to avoid the leakage of air. If it is too tight, it can lead to the development of pressure sores particularly around the bridge of the nose.
Make sure to select the mask that suits your style and fits your size. If you are uncomfortable, it is better to change the mask right in the beginning. One can use nasal pads, which are made of gel. They cushion the nose bridge at the placement area of the mask. It makes convenient wearing the nasal or oro-nasal mask. The hypoallergenic tape serves the function well. Alternatively one can change the style of the mask if the condition allows.
2: Dryness of the respiratory passages
Continuous passage of pressurized air causes dryness of the mucosal membranes of the nose, mouth, and throat. It can culminate into nose bleeds. This particular CPAP Machine side effect is the most common cause of patient non-compliance. Treating it becomes more significant in a cold and dry climate.
Some of the latest CPAP machines are equipped with a built-in humidifier while others can accommodate one on requisite. A heated humidifier adds warm moisture to the air thereby making the use of CPAP Machine convenient.
3: Rash and irritation on the skin
The mask of the CPAP Machine may irritate your skin with time. Avoid using oily moisturizers and make-up while using the machine. This will also help reduce the buildup of residues on the machine parts.
4: A leaky mask
As mentioned earlier, proper fitting of the mask is important in order to maintain proper deliverance of the air pressure. Air leaking from an ill-fitted mask may also produce disturbing noise.
The solution to this CPAP Machine side effect lies in an accurate adjustment of the mask. It may also require changing the style of the mask from an oral to nasal variety.
Some patients may feel claustrophobic when using the CPAP machine for the first time. The nasal or oral mask may deliver a feeling of confinement and detention.
To ease the anxiety, switch to nasal pillows. These are small nasal prongs that are soft and comfortable enough to be worn. Relaxation exercises like progressive muscle relaxation help ease away the anxious feeling.
6: Aerophagia and Bloating
Bloating may pose as a minor but irritating CPAP Machine side effect when extra air enters the stomach. It can be eased away by adjusting the air pressure.
7: Headaches and dizziness
Though rare, headaches may occur as a potential CPAP Machine side effect. The most common cause include blocked sinuses or mal-adjustments in the air pressure delivered.
Make sure to adjust the air pressure, which is not one-size-fits-all. Consult your doctor repeatedly till a comfortable pressure is attained. Try using a CPAP machine with a ramp effect or Bi-level pressure adjustment.
CPAP machine is a device and presents a surface area for the growth of infectious microorganisms. A poorly maintained machine harbors disease-causing agents that pose a risk of infections in the oral or nasal cavities that can spread all through the respiratory tract to lungs.
Make a habit of cleaning the CPAP Machine regularly. Clean the house, tubing, and masks diligently. The water and humidifier chambers should also receive proper cleaning once a week. Daily cleaning should be done with mild soap and water. Weekly cleaning should be carried out with a solution containing three parts water and one part vinegar. If your budget allows, get a CPAP sanitizer or cleaner to do the job for you.
9: Burning sensation in the lungs
Burning sensation in the lungs is a rare CPAP Machine side effect. It occurs because of dry and cold air. The remedy lies in using warm humidification.
10: An overall discomfort
Truth be told, breathing through a mask and trying to sleep is upsetting. Start using the CPAP machine for a small duration of times while you are awake for example reading a book or watching T.V. once you get used to it, try it on during short naps. You will be a lot more comfortable in no time.