CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It’s a form of therapy whereby the respective CPAP machine is applied for purposes of increasing the supply air pressure on the patient’s throat so that ones’ airway does not crumble or become disabled of its function. CPAP form of therapy is often prescribed by doctors to an individual suffering from heart failure or obstructive sleep apnea, where one has trouble breathing.
CPAP type of therapy has been proved to working effectively in treating patients ailing from severe and mild obstructive sleep apnea. However, in as much has the CPAP machine has helped in treating conditions associated with difficulty in breathing, its continuous use leads to a number of side effects on its users.
Just to name a few, here are the five most common side effects of CPAP therapy that all CPAP machine users should be well aware of:
• Nose or mouth dryness
• Sore Nose
• Skin irritation
• Stomach Bloating
• Occasional Headaches
1. Nose or Mouth Dryness
Due to lack of humidification from the use of a CPAP machine, the corresponding nasal pathways suffer from dryness. The nasal passages should ideally be humidified or moisturized. Therefore, such dryness implicated by the air emanating from the CPAP machine brings about irritation within the nose to extend that the nose is congested as a result of excessive production of mucus. The nose irritation caused by the use of the CPAP machine can cause the nasal pathways to bleed due to moisture deficiency.
Mouth dryness results from the leaking of the CPAP mask. This is because where the CPAP mask does not have a good fit on the patient, the patient’s mouth can fall out of the mask and stay wide open. When the mouth is left wide open, the air within the mouth eludes, leaving the mouth and tongue very dehydrated to the extent that the lips become unpleasantly chapped.
Nonetheless, to counter mouth and nose dryness, doctors recommend that if the mask is leaking out of a faulty MPAP mask, have it replaced. If not, adjust the settings of the chinstrap of the said mask with guidance. Another option would be to try a different type of mask altogether, with the prescription of the doctor.
2. Sore Nose
CPAP therapy patients risk squirts from the CPAP machine where its mask does not fit one like a glove. However, on the other hand, fastening up of the CPAP machine head gear exerts too much pressure on the nasal pathways that later results into a swelled up nose. This kind of swelling is common around the nose bridge area and right below the nose.
It is advised that where one seems like one has to tightly fasten the headgear of the CPAP machine for it to fit the patient adequately, it is a clear indication that the headgear is either too old, too large or in the wrong style and should, therefore, be replaced. However, if none is the case, one is recommended to try and alter the pressure settings on the CPAP mask with guidance.
3. Skin Irritation
Where a CPAP therapy patient has the CPAP mask tightly fixed on his or her head, the mask will likely leave marks on ones’ face due to prohibited blood circulation around the tightly fastened area. Patients with sensitive skin are likely to suffer a great ordeal of skin irritation, especially where the CPAP mask is made out of the latex material. To lessen the chances of skin irritation, one is advised to wear a better fitting CPAP mask.
4. Stomach Bloating
Bloating of the stomach as a side effect of CPAP therapy is a pointer that the CPAP therapy patient has been ingesting air derived from the CPAP machine. Stomach bloating is generally caused by air being confined in ones’ intestines and colon. Stomach bloating can be eradicated by having the CPAP therapy patient change position of ones’ sleeping and seek further assistance from the doctor.
5. Occasional Severe Headaches
It has been observed that when a CPAP therapy patient is suffering from frequent headaches, it emanates from high blood pressure or interrelated with a sinus condition that the patient suffers from. When the CPAP machine is applied and a portion of the sinus cavities are clogged up, the circumstance created is a difference in pressure between the segments of sinus cavities affected.
Such pressure differences between the sinus cavities can cause the sinus kind of headaches or just the general kind of headaches. To counter the sinus-based headaches, it is advisable to apply the same medical attention that one would apply while managing sinuses. One of the most recommended ways of doing so, especially for a CPAP therapy patient, is through the use of heated CPAP humidifiers.
Heated CPAP humidifiers are recommended because they add moisture into the CPAP machine which solves a number of issues for the patient, including nose dryness and managing of sinuses.
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In conclusion, as much as there are various effects from enrolling on CPAP therapy, such effects can be avoided and managed through various acts of diligence such as ensuring that the mask is well fitting and incorporating a CPAP humidifier to manage all the effects evolving around dryness. Overall, the effects of CPAP therapy do not quite override the merits of enrolling on it as they are manageable.
However, there are other proxies to CPAP therapy such as using a Microvalve and having it installed and sealed into your nasal system for purposes of maintaining an airway. Before enrolling on any alternative treatments for Obstructive Sleep Apnea, seek medical advice.