Forum · CPAP Pressure Too High?

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[-] ConscientiousEmeraldElephantseal6146 +0 points · over 1 year ago

I just started using a cpap a month ago for mild sleep apnea. The dr has the levels set at a 5 for the amount of pressure to use during the night. It hasn't done much in the way of giving me more energy. SO...my brother has one and let me borrow it. His adjusts during the night to how much pressure you need when you stop breathing instead of staying at a 5 all night. Last night I used it and the records are showing that it went up to a 14 during those times that I stopped breathing. However, I woke with a migraine at 4:30am. Could this be from the added pressure? Would love some opinions as this is so new to me.

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[-] LoyalRedVioletWombat3981 +0 points · over 1 year ago

I think headaches can be caused by low oxygen. At least in my case they can.

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[-] GenerousBeigeSeal2208 +0 points · over 1 year ago

I have an auto pap and it sets my pressure to 14 if I let it. That was very uncomfortable. So I limited the max. p to 4 I had the same outcome, i.e., an average of less than one event per hour. Something wrong with the way apap determines appropriate pressure? I'm glad I took control of the machine because I was ready to give up since 14 required use of a very uncomfortable full face mask.

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[-] BrainsNeedSleep +0 points · over 1 year ago

PAP machines are definitely something to be careful about. From what I understand, pressure changes of as little as 1 are or can be significant, so going from 5 up to 14 is pretty huge. Also, changing the settings on the machine oneself without input from a competent -- repeat competent -- care provider can be kind of dangerous. I'm hoping we get some info on here on how these machines work.

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[-] DanM +1 point · over 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

Hi @ConscientiousEmeraldElephantseal6146. APAP machines that adjust pressure can sometimes climb to higher pressures if they are attempting to compensate for mask leak or if they detect periods of severe breathing. For some patients, the higher pressure can be uncomfortable. Higher pressures can also cause other issues for patients who do not need those pressures. Many physicians will limit the pressure depending upon specific patient needs. It is difficult to say if using your brother's machine pressure caused your migraine, but higher pressures can sometimes cause headaches, ear pain and other symptoms. If you suspect you need more than your prescribed 5 cm of pressure and are concerned about your lack of energy, I encourage you to talk to your sleep physician to see if your treatment needs to be evaluated. Best wishes!

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[-] SincereSlateGrayChinchilla8811 +0 points · over 1 year ago

I just received my CPAP machine, an F&P Icon+. Last night I tried the machine for the first time. I found the air pressure was too high at 4.0 units. I was unable to lower the pressure and now believe 4.0 is the lowest possible setting. I don't know what to do. The air flow is suffocatingly high. Any suggestions on how to reduce or mitigate the problem?

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[-] BrainsNeedSleep +1 point · about 1 year ago

I will have to disagree politely with @DanM here and say that exhalation relief on some machines -- I don't know your F+P -- can make ALL the difference between using and not using your PAP. Some of us are claustrophobic and while my pressures are higher than 4, if you are not used to it and get panicky feeling, I would not want to "get used to it" -- I'd take the thing off. Ask your DME, if you can't tell from the manual, if there is some sort of flexible exhalation adjustment on that machine -- and if you can't stand the air, even with Dan's great suggestions for trying to get accumstomed to the machine/mask, then ask for the DME to swap you to something WITH that air relief. It is NOT necessary to suffer needlessly with these blasted contraptions, IMO, and I am adamant about some of these issues. Respironics has something called "C-Flex;' ResMed has their own version, I forget what it's called. In any event, the machine automatically backs off the pressure a little bit so you don't have to struggle to exhale. Good luck.

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[-] DanM +1 point · over 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

Hello @SincereSlateGrayChinchilla8811. The feeling you are experiencing is not uncommon for some patients. I felt the same way when I started using CPAP. 4 cm is generally the lowest amount of pressure a CPAP machine can provide, and air being forced into the airway is a new and very different feeling. If you are experiencing difficulty exhaling, that sensation usually resolves with time and practice as you build strength in the muscles used for breathing. Some patients find that wearing their CPAP machine for practice while awake and reading or watching TV very helpful. I generally encourage patients to try wearing it in some place other than the bedroom, like in the living room or den, for practice to see if this helps reduce the sensation. Keep us posted on your progress, and thanks for posting!

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[-] dogrescuer +0 points · over 1 year ago

I have been on CPAP therapy for about a month. My pressure is set at 6-18. Ever since starting CPAP I have had dizziness, popping in one ear and now an ear infection. I haven't felt well since starting. I went to the doctor and he told me I had fluid in that ear but my pressure was fine when I asked if it could be too high. Now I have gone to my internist for the ear infection and it isn't getting any better, still have ear pain. Can this be related to a too-high CPAP pressure?

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[-] IntellectualPuceCapybara2359 +1 point · about 1 year ago

When I was using the humidity function, my one ear kept getting clogged. Drs. Could not figure it out. Finally chiropractor suggested it might be from too much humid air and then I stopped using the humidifier and ear problem cleared up! No problem since.

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[-] DanM +1 point · over 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

Hello @dogrescuer. CPAP may cause ear popping and discomfort for some patients, but this is usually temporary. CPAP should not "cause" and ear infection, but the pressure can be uncomfortable while using treatment with an ear infection. Some physicians recommend temporarily not using treatment while an ear or sinus infection heals if there is too much discomfort or irritation. I would suggest speaking with your sleep physician about a recommendation regarding use of treatment or the possibility of lowering pressure while your ear heals. As a CPAP user myself, there have been times when I have not been able to use my treatment for a day or two while recovering from an ear or sinus infection. Hope this helps, and please keep us posted on your progress!

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[-] Llewor +0 points · over 1 year ago

Hi,

I have been using cpap (bi level) for 3 years and 4 months. Pressure starts at 4 then ramps up to 11 in 30 minutes. Then it stays at 11 after that. My CPAP had helped me a lot. I was on hypertension medication before CPAP and my doctor took me off from medication 2 months after started using CPAP. I did not have any discomfort at all on my first day using CPAP. It was like magic. I woke up very much refreshed feeling really good which I never had for many years. It really worked well on me from the first night I used CPAP. However, I had observed 2 side effects. At first I did not attribute it to CPAP. But later on I realized these alleged side effects all started after using CPAP. First, is the weight gain. I have gained 25 lbs from the time I started using CPAP. . This is in spite the renewed energy. After using CPAP I had all the energy to exercise. I visit the gym at least twice a week. I do walking during summer. The second side effect is that I wake up in the middle of the night with numb thigh, either on left or right, but not both at the same time. I went to 2 physiotherapist, 2 chiropractors and 2 massage therapist. All of them said I had a tight muscles on my lower back. They did all they could to loosen up the muscles but the numbness did not go away. My chiropractor told me CPAP maybe is one of the factors causing the numbness. With CPAP I go to a very deep sleep, very deep enough that I do not move my legs at all causing my thigh to numb. Is there anyone here who had experienced the same. I am now planing to switch to an auto CPAP. Any comments or advise will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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[-] DiligentApricotLeopard8586 +0 points · about 1 year ago

I would suggest getting a new mattress. Most back pains, etc are because the mattresses are too old and no longer support our body. Think of what. 15 year old sofa would look like if you sat in the same spot for 10 years. If you can.t afford a new bed then try an egg crate mattress topper. I use it for camping and I feel like great.

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[-] SusanR +0 points · over 1 year ago

First, Its really wonderful to hear how improved your blood pressure and sleep quality are with CPAP!--and how diligent you are at using CPAP. Keeping blood pressure from elevating is one of the most important things for preventing heart disease and strokes. And of course, sleeping more soundly and feeling alert are essential to feelings of well being.

As far as weight gain--your observations are very astute. For years we all hoped that with increased alertness and energy levels, people using CPAP would expend more calories and lose weight. Although we sometimes see that, a few studies now are reporting modest weight gain with CPAP. One idea is that the previous work of breathing during sleep--repetitively trying to breathe against a blocked air passage---goes down once the throat is kept open with CPAP. So those calories you spent struggling to open your throat are no longer being burned up. Its far better to breathe than to struggle to breathe, though! My colleagues and I are now even more earnestly counseling our patients on diet and exercise as adjuncts to CPAP. Kevin Gleason wrote about this issue of weight gain on our Research page (check that tab out).

I have not heard of the numbness before in relation to CPAP. Trying to make sure you are as comfortable as possible and not staying in one position while on CPAP may be helpful.

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[-] wiredgeorge +0 points · over 1 year ago Sleep Commentator

SusajR, Since being on a BIPAP for the past 5 months or so, I have never once gotten up to go to the bathroom at night and I sleep very soundly. I don't move either. I found sleeping with my normal pillow caused me to have a screaming sore back most mornings and found that elevating a bit helped a bunch. During the first three months I never slept on my side nor moved at all and as of late, I found that if I awaken a bit, I can now go back to sleep if I have gotten more than 4 hours deep sleep (prior I couldn't) and I can sleep on my side at that point. That is the only way I can change positions at this point and mask seal becomes a bit of an issue. I am finding that things are evolving over time and I am adapting to therapy and feel a whole lot better. I will say that since being on PAP therapy, I have to really watch my diet as I am slowly gaining weight in spite of eating substantially less. Could be my metabolism is also winding down with age.

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