dx OSA Oct/2012. Husband and I are CPAP "duelies" for 6 years now. Respironics system one and Swift FX for her nasal pillows. Husband has ResMed AirSense 10.
SF East Bay Area, California
My PR system one was originally set on Flex - 2, which means my machine provides 2 cm less pressure on exhale - all night long including my 5 minute ramp period. I love the comfort of my therapy and my nightly AHI is usually in the 0.56 to 0.89 range, which sleepyhead states is "pretty darn good". I've been using the Flex - 2 setting from the get-go and now it's 6 years later. There doesn't appear to be any harm done by my machine having been set up this way.
There's a confidence that comes in allowing the clinicians to set and adjust the treatment pressures. They understand the particular apnea that I have and assume full responsibility for its' treatment. They know the ins and outs of sleep studies and pressure settings and which patients could benefit from what. After all, they went to school for a long time to do what they do, plus many of them have lots of experience at the treatment "helm" of patient care.
If I doubted that I was getting the most advantageous treatment, I would call on my clinicians and ask them what they thought of thus and so and would it be ok, since I have access, to make the following changes to my therapy. And then I would listen to what they had to say. Isn't this one of the benefits of a good clinician/patient relationship? I should think that professional advice would be preferred. Don't you?
I just did a search and found a related post by sleeptech (some months ago) who confirms that ResMed AHI data gets compromised when you get large leaks over 30% of your sleep time (and the dreaded red frownie face). I'm fairly confident in sleeptech's posts. Apparently the machines just can't handle excessive leaks. Nevertheless, sleeptech also states that if the AHI, in the presence of excessive large leaks, has not risen over 4, then the patient , as long as the leaks are not waking him/her up, can safely ignore the red frownie face.
My husband experienced something similar, through watching me, in my days before CPAP, and in my sleep, suddenly stop breathing for over a minute and a half. When I came to, he was shouting over me and shaking me and tears were running down his face.
This was a life changer for me. I set up an appointment with my primary care physician for the very next day and CPAP became a part of my history after that.
icarus: You really don't have to go into detail with your doctor about what you have experienced in your sleep. I didn't. Just tell him/her that you're really worried that you might have sleep apnea. At the most, tell him/her that you've noticed your breathing gets all choked up in the night. That's true, isn't it? Or, tell him/her what your wife has reported to you (Often, these are the very best tip-offs for doctors). It's very inexpensive for these health insurance companies to allow a home sleep study (one night)...and then you will know exactly what you've got...or haven't got.
That's OK, but the sleep dentist is not supposed to install dental devices for apnea before the patient has had a sleep study and a medical professional (i.e. M.D.) has issued a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea. A lot of patients don't understand this and think they have apnea (because they snore and because they're fatigued during the day) and go straight to the dentist to get a device because they don't want to mess with CPAP. The unresponsible dentists don't mind this at all and promptly give them what they are asking for. This is perfectly legal, by the way, but it is outside the ethics of responsible patient-centric care. Plus, it's dangerous, besides, for obvious reasons.
This is news to me. How did you discover that ResMed is not confident in their machine's ability to accurately detect apnea events during periods of major leakage? How did you discover that they deliberately suppress the reporting of apnea events?
Fixed pressure CPAP is different from auto CPAP and is used for different apnea conditions. Please check with your doc over the changes you have made in your treatment. Ask him or her whether the change is OK for your particular type of sleep apnea. If it is, then request that the change be recorded in your medical record. This way, your clinicians can keep track of your treatment and you won't be at a disadvantage when you get passed around among providers...like in an emergency. It's always good to cover yourself.
Before you go through a lot of rigmarole over the leaks, check on your AHI numbers each night. If your numbers are under 5, then you are, with your CPAP treatment, experiencing the average number of apneas per hour that a person without obstructive sleep apnea experiences. If you find this is true, that your AHI is under 5, then just fuggidaboudit and have a great night's sleep.
I agree with Sierra that this is a mask problem and not a problem with your machine. While all these leaks are going on, what does your nightly AHI look like? My husband's mask leaks like crazy, yet his AHI (Apnea/Hypopnea Index) stays under 3 or 4 each night. So, the leaks, even though they are noisy, produce awful leak numbers and earn him a red frownie face on his machine, are not really an issue. If your AHIs are over 4, then you have mask leak troubles that must be addressed.
About the sore eyes. The air that's escaping could be from your mask exhaust, independent of your mask seal. Mask exhaust sometimes ricochets off bed covers, bed pillows or parts of your body that may inadvertently be in the way and gets directed back into the eyes. I have dry eyes yet am no longer troubled by air getting in them because I use an eye lubricant each night before I go to bed.
Everyone is different, but the one that has helped me so much is a product called Systane Nighttime preservative-free eye ointment. It isn't all that expensive and you don't have to have dry eyes to use this. The soreness tells you that your eyes are drying out from the escaping air. Try this and see if you can get your sore eyes to go away. Squeeze about a quarter-inch long strip of the ointment inside the lower lids of each eye. Your doctor's office isn't being helpful with this because they know it's a minor issue, so matter how uncomfortable it might be for you. Doctors like to deal with the life or death problems.
What is the status of your chest pain? Have you checked in with your doctor yet about it?
Really, your other questions about CPAP can and should wait until you've taken care of this.
For women of any age, the sign of chest pain can be deadly because.....we women tend to dismiss it and by the time the cause is found, well...it's too late..
I would check in with my primary care physician, if I were you, and just tell him/her that you're worried you might have obstructive sleep apnea and could you please have a sleep study. Only a physician may diagnose OSA. The best we can do here is to guess...and you need more than that.
The meaning of "apnea" is "without breath". Some signs of OSA might include having to get up a lot in the night to go pee, daytime sleepiness, fatigue, snoring at night (not everyone with sleep apnea snores), excessive movement of the body in your sleep and irritability and other mood problems, including depression and anxiety. There are many chronic health conditions associated with OSA.
If it is found, from your sleep study and from a doctor's diagnosis that you have obstructive sleep apnea, it would be in your best interest to get it treated ASAP.