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    All About CPAP
    Andie_WebMD_Staff posted:
    Continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP) uses a machine to help a person who has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) breathe more easily during sleep. A CPAP machine increases air pressure in your throat so that your airway does not collapse when you breathe in.

    Health Expert, Michael Breus, PhD, ABSM, tells us on his Sleep Well Blog that "Most people with OSA aren't aware of that they stop breathing multiple times during the night. This results in fragmented, poor sleep, as well as low blood oxygen levels".

    If you're not sure whether you suffer with OSA, sleep studies , which watch what happens to your body during sleep, can be done to find out what is causing your sleep problems.

    "A new study in the journal SLEEP suggests that CPAP therapy can do much more than improve sleep:

    • Patients who regularly use a CPAP machine felt significantly less fatigue throughout the day.
    • Patients who regularly use a CPAP machine also had much more energy.
    • Patients felt considerably less daytime sleepiness, particularly patients who had previously been excessively sleepy or fatigued.

    Do you have any experiences with CPAP? What do you feel the pros and cons are? Share your thoughts and your questions with us below.

    Diabesity responded:
    Initially, I was unwilling to get through the physical discomfort and inconvenience not to mention the stigma of using the machine living at my girlfriends. I persisted and used the CPAP regularly. I expected to feel really refreshed and energized but the changes were subtle like less fatigued, less being able to stay awake in the afternoons, better mood, etc. I did not notice the changes as they developed, but when I quite using CPAP I again felt the full force of the symptom pattern. I relapsed into afternoon naps, low energy level, depressed mood, lack of interest, plus all of the undetectable silent symptoms of heart problems and weight gain. I am going to start back using CPAP; anything else would be self destructive and undisciplined. Will
    madebyhim responded:
    Absolutely no satisfaction at all. Could not tolerate it. Not the noise. Not so much the mask discomfort/getting used to. The main problem...when I used it the constant air flow revved my whole system up, especially my pulmonary system. Hard to sleep or sleep thru the night. Was just as bad off as not having it. My thoracic doctor said there was a certain percentage of the population that could tolerate the CPAP machine for one reason or another. Huge waste of money in my case. Wished I could have found it to be useful though. Apnea is killing me. Moods are atrocious, no energy, growing less and less patient in every area. Causing physical problems/intimacy/weight gain as well. Sucks to be true.
    hleusch replied to madebyhim's response:
    The latest CPAP machines are very small, make no perceivable noise and even have a mode where the air pressure is not constant but is reuced during exhaling. In my opinion the most important factor is a good fit of the face mask ( those masks covering only the nose didn't work for me) and the use of an attached humidifier (low setting).
    lstroud2011 responded:
    I've been using a cpap for around 10 years. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and received my machine shortly there after. I have no doubt it has "saved my life" since I stopped breathing several times at night. I initially could tell a difference using it, but as the years have passed it is less so. I have since had several other issues, but as far as the cpap goes, it took some time getting used to it. I have tried several different masks with it, but always seem to come back to the nasal mask. It has cut into my sex life some, but I guess it's better than the alternative. It does take me a while to get to sleep with it, but you eventually get used to it. I look at it as there isn't much of an alternative, so you learn to live with it.
    pwlewis responded:
    I have had a cpap for 8 years. I am on my second machine now. It is much better than the first. It can report to my doctor my sleeping patterns and events in the night just like a sleep study. The tubing and head gear is much lighter and better desgined than with the old unit. It is still hard to sleep with it all on but the alternative is much worse. I changed my diet and exercise program and lost 50 pounds. This reduced the amount of pressure needed buy my cpap from 13 to 9.
    aceinthehole responded:
    Best thing I ever did. I'll NEVER forget my first night on CPAP. I thought I'd spent about 20 minutes of uncomfortable breathing with the mask on accompanied by wild, crazy deams. When they woke me up, it had actually been 8 hours of CPAP sleep, and I've never felt more refreshed or relaxed. In the 10 years since, I've only gone one night without my CPAP & it was horrible. I never want to be without it again.
    RokLov responded:
    I tried CPAP for three months. Never did get a decent night's sleep, changed the full mask three times. One of the main issues is that I am a side sleeper and move in my sleep. CPAP is not conducive to either. I know the machine works for some people, but hopefully science does not stop looking for something else to give people like myself relief.
    1AlexH1 responded:
    I have experience with both VPAP and CPAP machines. Neither of them was helpful in solving my problem, which is extreme sleep apnea. Supposedly, after three of four sleep tests, all agreed that I wake every 15 seconds or so, due to not being able to breathe. My wife can tell stories of having to continuously jab me in the ribs or shake me, to get me breathing again.
    The machines haven't done any good at all, because I am unable to breathe through my nose, and as of the last time I was given one of these machines, they only fit over the nose, not the mouth.
    My nose has been clogged and I have been unable to breathe through it for most of my life.
    I have had two separate nasal septal resections, separated by 10 years, to attempt to get me breathing through the nose again. Both procedures have failed.
    With an inability to breath through the nose, combined with the noise the machines make, which disturbs my wife, as well as me, I have found nothing positive about them
    I have one of each and would be more than happy to donate them both to a clinic where they might help someone. Clearly, they have not helped me.
    MandibularAdvancementDevice replied to madebyhim's response:
    You should consider a custom made oral appliance for your problem. These are best made by a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine ( ).
    These devices are approved by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for mild to moderate sleep apnea. If you are severe, an AHI over 30, these appliances can still be helpful. We work closely with your physician to optimize the best result possible. Good luck PS Sometimes ENTs and oral surgeons can also be helpful depending on your unique condition. The website has a ton of useful information.
    An_207036 replied to 1AlexH1's response:
    Hello 1AlexH1. You need a full face mask. Click on this link, it is a smaller mask, but still fits over your nose and mouth. There are lots of similar full face masks available.
    Because of your nasal problems, you must use a heated humidifier that fits onto your CPAP machine. It will also reduce the pressure you need for optimal treatment over time.
    Not all machines are noisey, but can it really be worse than your SNORING?
    You mention that your wife can tell stories of having to continuously jab you in the ribs or shake you, to get you breathing again. For the sake of the benefits of the device, she should support you while using it (that is if she wants you to live a long and healthy life...?).
    Read up on the complications of NOT treating your apnea. I found a nicely summarised website you can have a look at.
    An_207037 responded:
    I have severe OSA and was advised to use BiPAP machine with pressures of 18 & 6. I have been using RESMED BiPAP machne for last one year but havent been able to adjust to the jerks of different pressure. Would you suggest that I should try out a CPAP machine instead of the BiPAP unit or can a BiPAP machine be converted to function like a CPAP machine using the same pressure for inhaling and exhaling ?

    koezzy responded:
    I have been using a Bipap unit for my sleep apnea for a little over 3 months. In that time I only missed three days 5 hours to 9 hours of use. When I wake up I am totally drained and tired, but most of all my chest feels like I have a chest cold. This lasts four up to 4 to 6 hours. I have just had a complete physical with no problems as I have had for many years. The technician that I am working with at the company that supplies the Bipap machine is absolutely no help. I am to the point of stopping use, but like the reason of really feeling great after waking up. HELP
    An_237855 responded:
    I have been trying to use my CPAP for about 2 years now. At first, I slept 5 hrs/night and took about an hour nap each afternoon, which my sleep doctor said was OK with him--and I felt much better. My thinking was clearer and I did not sleep during the day other than that one nap. In the past year, however, I stopped taking my Lunesce and my sleep has decreased to only 3-4 hrs/night and I am unable to function until around 4:00 p,m, each day. My nose has been stopping up lately which causes me to wake up. My humidifier doesn't seem to help at all. I have pretty much just given up on my CPAP at this point. I would love some advice on this problem.
    Anon_51772 replied to An_237855's response:
    Hi An_237855, I'm on my 3rd year of CPAP machine. When I have problems with my machine I call the no. on the sticker on my machine where I purchased it and they are versed at common problems and have been able to answer each question. Sometimes I call more than once if their first suggestion doesn't work for me. There was a defect around the time you got your model 2 years ago with the humidifier and they can replace yours at no cost. I go in to my local support shop for that because it is easier for me to see someone even though it's a 20 min. drive. They also show me how to wear/use it better, etc.
    Also, every 6 mo. I replace my head gear and pillows because they do wear out and create leaks. Let me know if you have more questions.

    Helpful Tips

    take meds at some time, don't eat after 7
    I meant the longer reply posted a few minutes ago to to go to donnajune2000 More
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