CPAP Problems and Solutions Series: CPAP Side Effects
Part 2 of my series on CPAP problems and solutions is going to focus on uncomfortable side effects of your CPAP therapy, focusing mostly on sore throats and dry nasal passages, and how we at Respshop recommend you solve these potential problems! Just a quick reminder, the first part of my series focused on CPAP mask leaks, and so far the responses have been great, so hopefully this post about CPAP side effects can help you find the solutions to waking up with a dry, itchy, or painful feeling in your throat or nose.
One of the most common CPAP side effects is a dry nasal passage for users who use nasal or nasal pillow masks that push the air directly into the nose rather than into the throat as with sleep apnea patients who use full face CPAP masks. There is one simple solution for solving this problem that will most likely help 95 percent of patients, and that’s to use a humidifier with your machine. Humidifiers are comfort features that are not required for therapy, but are favorites amongst most of our customers because they heat the air before pushing it through the tube, warming it up before pushing it through the tube, and helping to negate a dry nasal passage. Humidifiers tend to have different humidity levels that they can be set at depending upon your machine, the H5i from ResMed for example has multiple levels of humidity to allow you to pick the setting that works best for your comfort.
Humidifiers work best in extreme climates that are either dry, dusty, or cold. Newer models of machines such as the Respironics 560 Auto also have heated tubing features that will help aid with relieving your CPAP side effect symptoms. Heated tubing works hand in hand with humidifiers, and is available on our most popular machines, including the ResMed S9 series, the Respironics 60 Series, and the Fisher and Paykel Icon Auto machine. Heated tubing will make sure that the air coming from your CPAP machines humidifier will stay at a set temperature throughout the tube, ensuring that your preferred level of heat is delivered when it reaches your CPAP mask. Heated tubing also helps reduce excess moisture in the tube, which can also lead to a dry nose, this side effect is known as rainout.
A dry nose is not the only common CPAP side effect amongst our customers, as a dry or sore throat can be just as common and potentially more annoying. If you are wearing a nasal or nasal pillow mask and find that you are waking up with an itchy or painful throat after use, you might be a mouth breather and should look into CPAP masks for mouth breathers. We have written a blog about that before! Switching to a full face mask may help relieve your symptoms.
As with the nasal passage, if you are wearing a full face mask and still experiencing a sore throat, a humidifier is probably the right choice for you as well. CPAP humidifiers and the heated tubing will deliver the same benefit to users wearing full face CPAP masks as it would for those wearing the standard nasal versions.
You might be sitting here reading this post and realizing you’re already using a humidifier and heated tubing and still experiencing these symptoms, so what is the next stuff? Most of our machines that we sell, whether it’s an S9 or a 60 series have multiple levels of humidification, and its potentially important for you to up those humidification levels if you are still suffering from some of these CPAP side effects. Depending on the ambient temperature in your room, the weather can have great effects on your therapy, and you should adjust your humidity levels accordingly as the temperatures change during seasons.
Finally, for best results with a humidifier, please always use distilled water. While normal tap water will work, it can also cause bacteria build up to enter into your tube, and have greater effects on your overall health than a sore throat!
This is the second part in my CPAP problems and solutions series, and next week we will cover a new topic, if you have any topics you’d like to see covered, please get in touch at our comment section or message us on Facebook or twitter, as we are always looking to hear from sleep apnea suffers trying to learn more, tag it as CPAP Side Effects (or mention it, kind of a long tag!) to let us know where you’re coming from so w