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CPAP side effects?

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tbachCPAP +0 points · 16 days ago Original Poster

A little background ... I have been using my CPAP (now BiPAP) since my 2001 diagnosis ... I'm sure in many ways that it has saved my life. Before diagnosis, I was falling asleep waiting for the traffic signal to change from Red to Green ... a half mile from my home ... in the morning. I fell asleep while eating, and quite often while watching TV or working on my computer. My sleep study was weird ... technician could not get a "baseline" because I was not able to fall asleep ... wires stuck to my body everywhere/unfamiliar bed/ unfamiliar surroundings. He told me that since I was not falling asleep, he was just going to put the CPAP on me and see what happened. After putting the full facemask on me, he left the room to "make a few adjustments on his console" ... and I WAS OUT FOR THE COUNT! Five hours later (shift change) I awoke, having had the best night's sleep in years. Everything was clearer ... lights were brighter ... the difference was amazing. Within the week, I had my CPAP at home, and have never stopped using it since then ... even for naps, if they are planned. At the time, I was 61 years old, and in much poorer health than I imagined. A year later, I had two heart attacks within 24 hours, leading to a stent implant and complete life change! I was grossly overweight, had high cholesterol, ate anything I wanted, and didn't exercise at all ... that's what people do when they have nothing else to do, I would tell myself. I credit my life change to an astute rehab nurse who asked me on the morning after my stent implant, "Mr. Bach, could you tell me what happened yesterday in your own words?" To which I responded, "Well ... I had this episode ..." "EPISODE, HELL!!," she exclaimed! "You had two heart attacks, and I guaranty that if you don't learn to live with your coronary heart disease, you will surely die from it!" No wiggle room there. It was the double slap to the face I needed. I changed my diet completely, cutting out fats and excess carbs, and began to exercise every day. Eighteen months later, I had lost 65 pounds, and my exercise repertoire grew from the treadmill, to weight training, swimming, bicycling, and lots of cardio. I truly felt better than I had in my entire life.

17 years later, I have managed to maintain most of my weight loss, at around 175 pounds. My diet is still very healthy, and I continue to exercise several hours daily. I still rely on my CPAP to provide a decent night's sleep. I am beginning, however, to wonder about the possibility of CPAP use having unwanted side effects. Over the past couple of years I have reoccurring problems with my eyes ... minor infections and tear duct problems. In addition, my hearing has started to circle the proverbial drain ... I wear hearing aides, which I do believe help, but notice that when I first wake up in the morning and take off my mask, I can hardly hear anything. As the morning wears on, some of my hearing returns ... I notice that because I do not wear my hearing aides at the gym - they get in the way ... I definitely hear better within a couple hours after rising.

Wondering if anyone else out there suspects eye and/or hearing problems being adversely affected by CPAP therapy.

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Sierra +0 points · 16 days ago Sleep Innovater

I have noticed a feeling of slight dizziness about 1 hour after getting up on some mornings. Can't say I have noticed much difference in hearing, but I am getting close to needing a hearing aid. No step change though, and the hearing loss has been gradual over a number of years. I've only been on PAP treatment about 10 months.

I am not a medical professional, but your story reminded me of an article I read and saved a link to. It is about an individual that suffered hearing loss attributed to PAP usage. Some details are missing from the article, but it claims he was diagnosed with an AHI of 58 and a set pressure of 15 cm based on a titration. He gained weight and apparently self titrated to a higher pressure that was not given, other than it said he turned it up to the machine maximum (so could have been 20 or 25 cm most likely). In any case he eventually suffered a hearing loss which was eventually treated with prednisone and cipro. It sounds like he had some kind of inner ear infection which potentially was aggravated by the pressure. In any case here is a link to an article. This is something you may want to get checked by an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist.

Otic Barotrauma Resulting from Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

I guess the message in all of this is to do everything one can to limit the pressure used to treat apnea, but some conditions do require more. Do you monitor your PAP machine with SleepyHead to see how well it is doing for you? With most Auto machines, SleepyHead can tell you a lot. Could there be any opportunities to reduce pressure? The other route to go would be to get a lab titration test.

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tbachCPAP +0 points · 16 days ago Original Poster

Thanks for feedback ... I will check on article. I'm not hooked up to SleepyHead yet, but get daily reports from MyAir, and also daily reports from my Sleep Number bed ... seems like someone's always lurking around ...

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Sierra +0 points · 16 days ago Sleep Innovater

SleepyHead can give you a lot more detailed picture of what is going on during the night. Only basic information gets transmitted to the MyAir app. This is what ResMed machines transmit over the air compared to what is stored on the card.

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bonjour +0 points · 16 days ago

MyAir can be used as a guide to measure effectiveness, but different treatments, applying pressure in different ways, may be better able to treat your apnea. What does My Air say about Central Apnea, Obstructive Apnea, Hypopnea, Flow Limits, Snoring? Each of these are tweaked differently. Sleepyhead lets you focus on your events, not just your average. And yes, sometimes it is a balancing act, especially when you have both Obstructive and Central events as the ROT treatments for these are in general the opposite of each other.

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tbachCPAP +0 points · 12 days ago Original Poster

Thanks for help ... Guess I need to check out Sleepyhead

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