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Difficulty breathing with cpap

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Difficulty breathing with cpap

Postby sports_fan72 » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:38 pm

Hey everyone, im new to this forum and pretty new to the cpap machine. I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea (36 disturbances/hour) and my doctor recommended a cpap machine. I have a respironics mask that only covers my nose. The problem is i have difficulty breathing with it. The air pressure is set to 5, i use a humidifier but i feel like i have difficulty both inhaling and exhaling. I have been using the machine for about two weeks and when i wake up i see the mask beside me on my bed. I dont want to tape the mask to my face because of the fear of not being able to breath at night. What are some tips on helping me effectively use the cpap machine. I have not had a single night of good sleep so far. Thanks
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Postby Leastbay » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:57 pm

you are still pretty new to the cpap but I would get your nose looked at on your next Dr. visit. I tried for 8 months to use a mask and am now having surgery to fix my nose. Half of it is totally blocked.
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Postby Linda » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:57 pm

Hi there,

And welcome to the forum!

When you wake to find the mask beside you, is it because you it came off in your sleep and you don't remember it happening? For many people, myself included, in the beginning I would take the mask off in my sleep without remembering doing so. It's the brain taking off that unfamiliar thing on your head. Eventually the brain gets used to it, but it's important to try and go to sleep with it every night if possible, try not to skip nights. Some people here on the forum might have some tips about keeping it on, ways that make it harder for you to take it off in your sleep.

I'm a little doubtful your prescribed cpap pressure is 5. It could be higher. The cpap machines come with a ramp, which the supplier often sets when you get the machine. It starts off at a low pressure, usually 5, and over a set time period, like 10 or 15 minutes or more (whatever it's set to), the pressure rises slowly to your prescribed pressure. The ramp is designed mostly for newbies, to help you fall asleep with a lower pressure so your body gets used to it. But it's not for everyone. Some people feel they're not getting enough air, until it rises to the appropriate pressure.

Be sure to have followup appointments. If you still have problems with the breathing of it, contact the doctor or your equipment provider and set up an appointment. It could be just getting used to it. Some people can only sleep with the mask a few hours at first but that gradually increases. But if you continue to have breathing problems, it could be something else, especially if you have trouble breathing against the exhale. You might need a different type of cpap machine or a change in the settings. Or you might need a different type of mask for your type of breathing.


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Postby sports_fan72 » Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:51 am

Thanks guys. I seemed to have trouble exhaling at first and would wake up and knowingly take the mask off. Now i take it off and its beside my bed and i don't remember taking it off. As for the pressure, this is the initial setting. I have another sleep study scheduled to determine which air pressure is best for me. I don't think i have trouble exhaling anymore because i unplugged a little rubber that is on the mask and the air escapes so CO2 escapes. I went to bed last night at 11pm and set an alarm for 1am to see if i had taken the mask off within that time span. when i woke up at one it was beside my bed.
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Postby Linda » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:48 pm

I'm only guessing, but it sounds like they set you up with an auto cpap until you can have the overnight titration sleep study. Might that be correct?

If true, then indeed you might be having some trouble with breathing. The auto cpap is set with a range of pressures within which the pressure changes depending on your needs. It's not set at one specific pressure like most cpap machines. The proper long term use of an auto cpap is for that range to be narrow, for example from 8 to 12. But when they set you up with an auto cpap, they often set it at the full range (5 to about 20). Sometimes when using that wide a range, the machine is fooled by breathing (with mask leaks and other reasons), making the pressures rise and fall too much too fast, making it difficult for breathing sometimes.

If this is your situation, and if the breathing problems continue, contact the doctor who set you up with the machine. They might be able to make a temporary adjustment to make the breathing easier, until you get tested.


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Postby sports_fan72 » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:25 pm

yes, its on 5 for now until my next sleep study.
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Postby sports_fan72 » Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:16 am

can anyone give me recommendations on masks that are comfortable. I don't want a full face mask either. Thanks.
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Postby detcord » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:49 am

"I don't think i have trouble exhaling anymore because i unplugged a little rubber that is on the mask and the air escapes so CO2 escapes"

Not an expert but all masks have vents built into them specifically for that mask. The little rubber that you unplugged is probably a port for supplemental O2 if it's required. I imagine your leak rate will be pretty high with that unplugged, and may/will give you less than optimum results. If you're not a mouth breather, a lot of people seem to like the Swift FX. Very comfortable.
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Postby sleland » Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:51 am

Hi sports and welcome to the forum. You are going to find wonderful people and info hear - keep browsing, reading, and asking.
Mask choice is really the key to success and everyone's face is different. I am fairly new to this "game" and after four months, have finally found the right mask for me, I hope. I went through three sizes of the Mirage Quatro full face mask and thought it was going to work but I couldn't get leaks around my eyes controlled. The Mirage Liberty sounded like the solution - considered full face but it's really nasal pillows plus a mouth mask. Some folks swear by it but again, I couldn't get leaks controlled - just didn't fit. I have now spent two wonderful nights with a Swift LT for Her - nasal pillow mask with minimal contact with my face. I do need a chin strap to keep my jaw from sagging open, but even with that I find this mask the best of all I've tried. Moral of the story - start with one that is comfy at the DME's office, but don't hesitate to go back - again and again and again - until you find one you like.
Severe sleep apnea diagnosed 4/2010
Resmed S8 Autoset II w humidifier
Swift LT for Her
Pressure set at 6 - 16
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Postby vivey » Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:03 pm

5 is too low for me. I feel like I'm sucking air trying to breath. I had it bumped up a couple and now I don't have that feeling of not being to get enough air. I know for a fact that this is common at levels as low as 5. Ask to have it adjusted and see if that helps.
Ave of 51.7 events/hr (severe) with 58% oxygen saturation.
ResMed S8 AutoSet II APAP w/3i humidifier. Range is 8-15. Mask is Swift FX w/med pillows.
My husband also has OSA - we're just a pair of Hoseheads in love!!!
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Postby tokyo43 » Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:11 am

I think you're on the right track by looking for a new mask. Be prepared to try several.

We need more information before we can give a mask recommendation. Do you mostly sleep on your back, side, stomach, all of the above? What's uncomfortable about your current mask? Leaks? Straps? Pressure points? Too Bulky?

What I did was look at the reviews on cpap.com and pick out the most recommended nasal pillow. The FX and the Breeze are highly rated if you want to try nasal pillows. My breeze is much better than my old nasal mask, but I'm still not 100% satisfied so the search continues.

Irrigation won't fix a damaged nose so if you tend to breath through your mouth, have ever broken your nose, or if it just seems difficult to breath through your nose see an ENT. It only took my ENT 15 minutes to check out my nose. Subsequently had my septum repaired and it did help.
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Postby sports_fan72 » Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:47 pm

I mostly sleep on my side/stomach. I cant fall asleep when sleeping on my back. I have loosened the straps a bit and it feels more comfortable now. I think its because of 2 things. 1) the low pressure because I havent had my titration study yet and i definately need more pressure. 2) I kinda sleep on my face and i cant do that anymore and when i try, it feels really uncomfortable and hurts my neck. I woke up after very little sleep the other day and realized my neck was killing me. the mask makes it really uncomfortable for my neck. I am going to buy a big pillow that is really comfy and see if that helps.
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Postby tokyo43 » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:14 am

I like to turn my face into the pillow also. Almost impossible to do with a bulky nasal mask. Very easy to do with the Breeze mask, although the vent blowing into the pillow is very annoying. Since you're a stomach/side sleep I would try nasal pillows.

Once your pressure is set higher it'll be easier to breath, but it seems kind of strange that it's still that much of an issue after two weeks. My pressure is 5 and although it's more comfortable with it set higher it's not at all unpleasant.
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