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Always headache when wake up with CPAP machine

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headache +0 points · about 1 month ago Original Poster

After 2.5 year using CPAP I see my cognitive functionality only slightly improved, while all the rest of the symptoms still the same: easy irritation, bad memory, bad decision making, bad multi tasking, bad concentration.

What funny is that: quite sometimes I feel more fresh and much less headache if I fall asleep WITHOUT the CPAP (of course I would wake up after some minutes due to my normal AHI of 40).

About me: Age 40, AHI measured of 40 beginning 2016, started using CPAP (Philips Resmed System One) since March 2016 until now, on CPAP that is AHI 0.5. I can easily fall asleep on the bed within a minute, but waking up using CPAP I always have a headache, and this headache last the whole day.

Other health issues: Hepatitis B (non active), Asthma (mild, not on medicine).

WHAT WORST FOR ME IS: I AM EASILY ANGRY WITH MY KIDS AND WIFE, WHICH DAMAGES MY RELATIONSHIP AND MY FAMILY.

Please help me. I am living in the Netherlands and doctors here know shit about my problem. Since 2 years I am diagnosed by a Psychological Institute for my bad concentration and high irritation, but they have found nothing, except they think I might have an Autism that makes me angry if my kids and wife do something out of my expectation. And the hospital describing the CPAP to me stops wanting to see me after they see my AHI of 0.5.

Thanks.

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Sierra +0 points · about 1 month ago Sleep Enthusiast

I am not a medical professional and can't offer you any medical advice. About all I know is that the causes of headaches are often difficult to pinpoint.

With a diagnosed AHI of 40 and it being now controlled with CPAP to the 0.5 level, certainly suggests it must be well optimized from an AHI point of view. That said some find it helpful to track their CPAP treatment with a free software program called SleepyHead. It provides very detailed data tracking and display. It may show some opportunity for comfort improvement, such as lowering pressure or setting limits differently. If you are interested post back and I can help you with it. The software needs a PC or Mac computer with the capability to read a SD card.

It may not apply to you, but I read an interesting article today that found there was an optimum amount of sleep one should try to get and there are negative symptoms not only if we sleep too little, but also if we sleep too much. I suspect that sleeping too little includes getting a poor quality sleep as well as just a short sleep. The recommendation was to get 7-8 hours per night. Here is a graph that indicates what happens when we sleep too much or too little. STM is short term memory, and the others are obvious.

The article at this link:

In Search of Sleep's Sweet Spot

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headache +0 points · about 1 month ago Original Poster

Thanks for your reply,

I gave up using Sleepy Head after 2-4 months studying it directly after the first months on CPAP, because I have not found anything strange. Probably my machine was not able to record more data to SleepyHead, or I was not able to read it correctly.

I sleep 7-8 hours per day.

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Sierra +0 points · about 1 month ago Sleep Enthusiast

Sounds like sleep time is not a problem. I assume your machine is the Phillips Respironics System One. If so it should be compatible with SleepyHead. The amount of data that can be kept on the SD card varies by machine, but I believe it just starts to overwrite old data when it fill up, and should continue to collect new data.

The only thought would be whether or not there is room to back off the pressure and gain some comfort. Your AHI is so low that may be a possibility. I also find that these machines work best when the pressure is confined to a narrow range, or even at a fixed pressure. And there are some comfort options on how it ramps up to pressure which can help if utilized.

You also mentioned you had asthma. I believe in some cases asthma can be helped with some breathing assistance provided by a BiLevel machine. That is one which uses a higher pressure on inhale compared to exhale. The difference is pressure support. I have no experience with that though.

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Sierra +0 points · about 1 month ago Sleep Enthusiast

I found the link below that has comments by four doctors on what might be causing morning headaches when being treated with CPAP. A pressure that is unnecessarily high was mentioned, as I suggested earlier. Also some comments about optimizing the air humidity and temperature to minimize any sinus congestion/pressure issues. Are you using the optional heated tube humidifier?

Why is my CPAP giving me headaches?

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headache +0 points · about 1 month ago Original Poster

Hi there, Very nice, This is my machine and setting

Mask: Mirageā„¢ FX Nasal CPAP Mask with Headgear

Humidifier: PR System One 50 Series Heated Humidifier

Setting: CPAP pressure 9 H2O, Machine = PR System One REMstar Pro CPAP Machine with C-Flex Plus

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Sierra +0 points · about 1 month ago Sleep Enthusiast

I am familiar with that mask, as my wife has used that one. The machine I am not so familiar with. Both my wife and I use a ResMed. Does that machine also have a heated hose as well as a heated humidifier? On the ResMed when you have the heated hose, you can set the air temperature and put the humidity control on automatic to get pretty comfortable results. For what it is worth, my wife has now changed from the Mirage FX to the F&P Brevida and finds it more comfortable with fewer leaks. However, mask preference is very personal. I prefer the ResMed AirFit P10 nasal pillow over the Brevida.

In any case my thoughts would be to try SleepyHead again. If you can post some daily reports here, I would be happy to give my thoughts on what may be any opportunities for improvement. With an AHI of 0.5, it may be possible to reduce pressures some to improve sleeping comfort, and reduce the potential for sinus issues. On a PC all you have to do is maximize the Daily report screen, press the F12 key, and it saves an image file in the SleepyHead Screenshots directory. With File explorer, just left click and drag that image file to the body of your post.

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headache +0 points · about 1 month ago Original Poster

Hi there,

I will do SleepyHead probably this week or next week. I am chaotic with everything now. Thanks

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headache +0 points · about 1 month ago Original Poster

Hi there, I am using that Heated Humidifier https://www.sleepwatchers.com/product-p/in6t.htm

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sleeptech +0 points · about 1 month ago Sleep Commentator

Elevated CO2 levels can cause headaches. I'm not sure how you would go about having that assessed where you are.

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headache +0 points · about 1 month ago Original Poster

CO2 level where I live is normal, air quality index of 36, which is good.

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Sierra +0 points · about 1 month ago Sleep Enthusiast

I believe sleeptech is talking about CO2 levels in your blood. That is one of the things measured when you do a sleep test. Oxygen is also measured which tends to be the inverse of CO2. If O2 goes down, then CO2 then typically goes up. There are fairly inexpensive O2 meters that clip on your finger and monitor your O2 levels overnight. If you get one that is compatible with SleepyHead, I believe it integrates the results with your other sleep data. When you click on the Oximetery tab in SleepyHead it will give you a list of compatible machines.

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sleeptech +0 points · 29 days ago Sleep Commentator

Sierra is correct, I was talking about the CO2 levels in your blood, not in the air. They are not usually measured in a standard sleep study because to do so requires some specialised and very expensive equipment. Some labs don't have this equipment and so having your CO2 levels checked can be tricky.

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headache +0 points · 20 days ago Original Poster

Hi there, sorry for a late response. I have an Spirometry and I will see how I can connect that with Sleepy head data

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SleepyMommy703 +0 points · about 1 month ago Sleep Commentator

I find that my neck position changes when I'm using my CPAP and I get neck pain/headaches from that. Chiropractic adjustments have helped me tremendously. I am trying to find the right pillow but in the meantime if I make sure I have more neck support as I'm falling asleep it's helpful.

I also had the pressure set too high at one point and that caused some headaches/facial pain.

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headache +0 points · about 1 month ago Original Poster

I do see that my headache is much increased if there is no water in my heated chamber. So one cause is found. Thanks everyone.

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headache +0 points · 19 days ago Original Poster

There seems to be a link now between my physical symptomps (headache, chest pain) and my cognitive functions, together with sleep deprivation. It is about the blood O2/CO2 level

1) Doctor's diagnosis & treatment Asthma was found, and "Budesonide + formoterol fumarate dihydrate" (e.g. Symbicort) was prescribed Not sure about COPD: I have quickly a shortness of breath while running, but in daily physical work I look like normal.

2) My CO2/O2 measurement

  • I have a Spirometry to measure O2, sometimes I see 93% when I feel tired, but normally it is around 94-96%
  • CO2 measurement: I have never been aware of such one. From the hospital there were 2 sleep tests before and after CPAP, with some sensors attaching to my body. But the hospital has never told me enough on what was measured.

3) My sleep symptomps

  • Short sleep of 30 min only gives me more headache and brain "strangeness". It used to be my power nap before age 20, now I am 40.
  • Direct headache anytime waking up
  • Always a chest pain as if my lung is "too dry" or "not enough oxygen"
  • Waking up often or notice that I am dreaming chaotically.
  • These symptoms (headache, chestpain and dreaming) are only reduced if window is open, even in winter.

4) My cognitive symptomps

  • Bad concentration on computer: Very quickly distracted on computer, would switch between task very often. Examples: (a) Open the computer to do a certain task, but if laptop has already some tabs opened then I would read those tabs first and sometimes forget what I wanted to do, or even if I remember I don't have the energy or wanting to do that anymore. (b) While reading an article I would click on links to read another article before finishing the first, and keep on wandering that way
  • Lower IQ: I used to be proud of my IQ: good memory, high thinking speed including the ability to do mental math calculation very quickly, not anymore.
  • Forgetting things: e.g. eveyday I need to find my phone at least once even if "it was just around 1 min ago"

5) What I do to improve my health

  • Walk outside to think: Boost upto 300% of concentration: I can think deeply, can connect dots in my understanding of things, can have good overview of things to design things at helicopter view (I am a computer programmer).
  • Breathing with awareness: it is either a slow but deep breathing (Taichi exercise) or a slow, deep and hard breathing (Sanchin exercise as in this video also incorporates a hard muscle contraction https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kybxNOlnl20). Manytimes when I am stuck while trying to solve a problem, if I do a Taichi or Sanchin breathing I will come back to my desk and BUM, the solution arrives.

6) Links

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headache +0 points · 7 days ago Original Poster

So my headache problem is helped 50% by

  • Using Budesonide + formoterol fumarate dihydrate
  • Having water in the heated humidifier Thanks for your help that triggered me into this finding.
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