If you have sleep apnea, you know it can be quite a change to get used to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment.
Having the right CPAP pressure is essential for effective treatment, but it is key for a comfortable night’s sleep. Because our bodies are unique, there isn’t a single pressure setting that will work best for everyone.
While we don’t suggest changing your pressure yourself, you should be active in your treatment plan. Here are some signs to discuss with your doctor if you think you need an adjustment.
If your CPAP device has too high pressure for your needs, you are likely to experience discomfort.
Difficulty breathing is the most common sign that your pressure setting is up too high. If you are struggling against the pressure from your device, you are likely to wake up often during the night.
Excess pressure is not only uncomfortable, but it can also be harmful. Forced air can enter the ears and cause fluid buildup and leaking. You can also swallow it, leading to gas and bloating.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, your pressure settings are likely too high:
Unfortunately, this variety of discomfort often makes users abandon their machines.
The purpose of CPAP therapy is to provide the least amount of air pressure needed to keep your airway open while you’re sleeping. If your CPAP pressure settings aren’t high enough, you won’t get enough air to meet the requirements.
If your CPAP device is failing to keep your airway open, treatment becomes ineffective.
You will begin to experience the same symptoms of sleep apnea you had before you started treatment. These include:
If you have been wearing your CPAP all night every night and begin to experience symptoms, this is a sign that your pressure settings are too low.
We hope these signs help you recognize when it might be time for a CPAP pressure adjustment.
Remember, you shouldn’t decide your new pressure settings for yourself. Reach out to your doctor to discuss your concerns.
Your sleep doctor may suggest a CPAP titration study to determine the correct amount of air pressure you need. If your machine has it, they may also recommend using a timed “ramp” feature. This setting starts airflow at lower levels then slowly rises as you fall asleep.
If you are struggling with your CPAP pressure settings, contact us today. We are here to help answer any questions about your CPAP machine.