Recent studies have suggested that consuming red wine may significantly benefit your health; and millions everywhere parlayed this data into “Sure I’ll have another glass; it’s doctor recommended”. One sentence into this blog you may be wondering how drinking red wine remotely relates to CPAP and sleep apnea. Great question, but this blog is more about the effects of alcohol and life changes that affect CPAP users on fixed pressure CPAP machines and how the new wave of Auto CPAP machines (APAP) can offer a greater advantage to your therapy. Relax, the party is not over yet; more on the red wine shortly.
So, right now all of you long time CPAP users must be asking yourself “What the @#$% is an Auto CPAP machine?” . Most people familiar with CPAP or are on CPAP know it’s functionality from its acronym (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), so let’s focus on the continuous part. The continuous means your CPAP machine blows one continuous pressure (excluding ramp time, that time when it is building up to therapy pressure) and example would be 8cm/H2O, or as some of you refer to 8 pounds of pressure. Trust me; you do not want 8 pounds of pressure blowing into you. So blah, blah, blah, where am I going with this?
Rather than drag it out to the end, I’m going to tell you my 2 main points right now (I DO expect you to finish reading all the blog though, I may reveal something witty or ramble on about how much I love ResMed and vintage fishing lures).
Remember that painfully dreadful night(s) you spent in the sleep lab with all those electrodes and sensors hooked up to you? I am willing to bet that you were on your best behavior that night and did not consume any alcohol before your sleep study (tsk tsk, remember the sleep doctor told you not to deviate from your nightly routine). Well, unfortunately for you, during your CPAP titration portion of the study, the sleep technologist did not get to see the exploits of your fully relaxed and depressed airway as a result of the effects of the 2005 Pinot Noir (like how I circled back to the wine, clever huh?). So what this means is they titrated you to something like 8cm/H2O instead of the 11 or 12 cm/H2O you may need when you introduce depressants into your system. So when those weekend nights get a little crazy, and you feel sluggish the next day, do not go blaming your CPAP machine; it’s didn’t know you were drinking.
Remember when you said you were going to diet and exercise and lose some weight? Did that happen or maybe you slipped a little and put a little more weight on? Anyways, these two variables will contribute to the amount of CPAP pressure you may need to fully provide that pneumatic splint to stabilize the airway (keep the tissue in your throat from collapsing your airway). If you were on 8 cm/h2O when they titrated you 2 or 3 years ago, you may need more than that to keep you airway open (or less if you were successful with that diet). A fixed pressure CPAP doesn’t know if you have been naughty or nice and it’s programmed to give you what it knows; and that’s the you from the last time you spent the night in the sleep lab.
I know, I know, get to the point Smith. An Auto CPAP machine is a CPAP that automatically increases and decreases the CPAP pressure based on the physiologic information it receives from your airway. What this means is, it knows when there is closure or partial closure and thus increases the delivered pressure and it knows when the airway has stabilized and decreases the pressure. I could go on and on about how much better Auto CPAP machines are compared to dinosaurs…cough cough, I mean fixed pressure CPAP machines, but just to humor you, I’m going to give you bullet points.
And now you know drinking red wine relates to CPAP and sleep apnea. If I have completely confused you just call us and ask us why Auto CPAP is better. We may even cut you a deal and give you a ResMed coupon code (sorry ResMed). By the way, I do enjoy a good cabernet sauvignon (hint hint).