7 Most Common Side Effects Of Using CPAP Machine

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or named CPAP, has a unique and straightforward feature – to deliver air through a maks, into humans airway.

Also, CPAP is considered to be the most effective nonsurgical treatment for common sleep problems, sleep apnea, and snoring.

In general, CPAP is safe to use. However, many talked about numerous side effects that this machine demonstrates from time to time. Moreover, those effects are evident.

The most common complaints are about discomfort from the mask itself or about air pressure.

In general, these issues can be reduced by making significant adjustments to the settings.

Still, don’t make these changed on your own, or you may experience some harmful effects.

CPAP Machine For Safer Sleep

According to the latest data, around 25 million Americans suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). About 60% of them are using a CPAP machine every night.

The truth is that adapting to CPAP therapy can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that conditions such as sleep apnea are dangerous, and it doesn’t get better on its own.

The usage of this machine is popular due to the benefits that you should know about. First, let’s see what the common uses of CPAP machine are:

  • sleep apnea disorder
  • central sleep apnea
  • excessive daytime sleepiness (somnolence)
  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • general health

CPAP Machine Benefits

Since we are all individual, benefits of CPAP machine may vary from person to person, but some general benefits are:

  • After only a few weeks, CPAP therapy should improve your energy, and a certain level of freshness.
  • People with Obstructive Sleep Apnea can experience lower blood pressure.
  • CPAP machine can reduce the redness and puffiness in the face.
  • You won’t experience snoring, anymore.

With so many benefits, why so many people experience the side effects of using this machine?

CPAP Machine Side Effects

If you have sleep apnea and you were prescribed a CPAP machine, you may have noticed some discomfort while using it. That being said, the most common CPAP machine side effects are listed below.

1. Aerophagia

Aerophagia occurs when you swallow a lot of air. That feeling when you do nothing, and you suddenly swallow air, and you feel nausea in your stomach – that’s aerophagia.

This can happen even when you are using a CPAP machine when the pressure is too high for you. The final outcome can be bloating and gas.

2. Discomfort

From our birth, we are custom to sleep without any additional gear around our face or body in general. So, sleeping with a mask on naturally can provide mild or severe discomfort, although this can highly vary from person to person.

Moreover, the mask can feel constrictive and bulky and can make trouble if your favorite sleeping position is sleeping on your back.

In rare cases, discomfort can be felt while exhaling. This usually happens when the pressure is too high.

3. Claustrophobia

Some people can’t bear feeling trapped. Naturally, they feel trapped when wearing a mask. In general, this may resolve over time. Therefore, the adjustment period is so important.

It’s essential to adjust to using the mask gradually. If you have claustrophobia and you are planning to wear a CPAP mask, make sure to talk with your doctor.

4. Mask Leak

This is not a common occurrence, but it can happen if your mask doesn’t fit properly or isn’t cleaned well. In those situations, your mask can leak.

Naturally, when there is a leak, your mask won’t perform properly, it won’t be able to set the pressure. In many cases, mask leak is caused by the wrong size mask.

Luckily, there are different styles and sizes of masks, so your doctor should be able to help you find the best fit.

If the feeling of discomfort is still strong and you don’t feel comfortable, you should try something else.

Make sure that your mask if clean all the time. Otherwise, you can experience irritation.

5. Dry Nose

The dryness of your nose may appear as soon as the leak of the mask happens. A dry nose is a common side effect of a CPAP machine since air is being blown into your airway.

In some cases, nosebleeds can occur as well. If your nose is dry, a nasal saline spray can help. Always make sure that your mask fits well.

A leaky mask can quickly dry out your nose. You can adjust the level of humidification, but you should talk with your doctor first. Never adjust the setting on your own.

6. Skin Irritations

A rash or pressure sores can occur because a CPAP mask fits snug against your face and is worn in the same area night after night. Talk with your doctor about the best medications to prevent skin irritation in the long run.

7. Loud Noise

The noise can interfere with anyone’s sleep, from newborns, teenagers to adults.

As you may guess, or know already, the machine can make strong noise.

Modern CPAP machines are much quieter than those used in the past, but they still can make significant noise. Overall, people can adjust to this feature just like they can to snoring.

Additional Side Effects

Since every person is different, various side effects may occur. Those listed above are just the most common ones. So, if you experience a strong discomfort while using CPAP, make sure that you contact your doctor as soon as possible. Here are some of the possible side effects:

  • awakening due to cumbersome equipment
  • headaches
  • difficulty staying asleep

Adjusting CPAP Setting

As mentioned earlier, some adjustments to the machine can be made. However, this is something that you shouldn’t do on your own. Always speak with your doctor first and, if needed, call in the professional.

Adjusting CPAP settings is not a one-button solution, but a mix of different factors, including:

  1. Weight Changes: excessive weight is an issue. If you lose at least 10 percent of your body weight through exercise and diet, you may start experiencing problems with air swallowing, difficulty breathing, or even mask leak. So, lowering CPAP pressure may help.
  2. Allergies: If you have environmental allergies, you should optimize treatment with medications, or with nasal sprays. Regular use of nasal spray should reduce your pressure requirements by improving airflow through the nasal passage.

Some factors can significantly affect your CPAP therapy requirements, such as:

  • Surgery: any type of surgical procedure, even nasal septoplasty or tongue surgery, may affect your CPAP therapy requirements.
  • Substance Use: if you smoke, for example, sleep apnea and snoring can become more severe over time. Also, if you drink alcohol, even a beer, before bedtime, it can affect your entire sleep, muscle relaxation, and worsen obstructive sleep apnea symptoms. Ironically, the same applies to medications such as benzodiazepines and muscle relaxants.

Remember: your doctor is the only one who should adjust your settings. Doing it on your own can be extremely dangerous.

Prevent CPAP Side Effects

Sometimes the mask can the completely wrong for you, and whatever you do, it won’t fix the feeling of discomfort and disturbance. However, if the mask fits, then you should use whatever you can in your power to prevent CPAP side effects. Here are some tips:

  • Clean your CPAP regularly
  • Avoid using oils on your face before you apply your mask. The same applies to oily moisturizers or makeup.
  • Make sure that your mask fits.
  • Always double check your humidifier.
  • Check with your doctor if you need sinus medication.
  • Try switching to heated tubing.
  • Use mask barrier if you feel that you have skin irritations.

Side Effects Of CPAP Machine – Summary

Luckily, changes can be made to improve the experience with CPAP therapy and to reduce the side effects.

So, if you experience side effects, make sure that you talk with your doctor as soon as possible, who can suggest solutions for you.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What Are The Bad Side Effects Of Using The CPAP Machine?

The most common problems are the wrong size or style mask, dry nose, feeling claustrophobic, dry mouth, difficulty falling asleep, leaky mask, skin irritation, and so on.

2. Can A CPAP Be Dangerous?

In general, no. Reality is that CPAP machines are a standard prescription to treat sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder in Americans. Although the CPAP machine is safe to use, some side effects can occur.

3. Can You Get Sick From A CPAP Machine?

The side effects can increase the risk of getting sick. However, the machine directly can’t get you sick.

For example, if you are using a machine that’s broken, that could impact your pressure settings and lead to numerous health risks. So, maintaining your equipment is essential.

4. Can You Lose Weight By Using A CPAP Machine?

Some studies showed that CPAP could be used to regulate the body’s production of appetite-influencing hormones, helping when it comes to managing weight.

Still, when it comes to losing weight, nothing beats good sleep, a healhty diet, and regular exercise.

5. Should I Use My CPAP Machine If I Have A Cold?

Having an upper respiratory tract infection is not easy, especially when you have to use CPAP therapy.

In general, you should avoid using CPAP while having a cold or flu. However, this is something that you should discuss with your doctor first.