Some people are naturally concerned about the effects of what appears to be “artificial” or “unnatural” CPAP therapy. Still, it is critical to have support when you first start using CPAP supplies and machines to avoid side effects and ensure successful use. It is critical to communicate with your healthcare team as soon as possible so that they can assist you in troubleshooting.
An ill-fitting mask and a dry mouth are two of the most common CPAP-related issues. Mask shape adjustments and humidification can help to alleviate these symptoms. Similarly, air leaks, bed partner issues, and air swallowing (aerophagia) are all common and can be addressed to avoid discontinuation. Asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is not exacerbated by CPAP therapy (COPD). Rather than causing a stroke, therapy reduces the likelihood of having one.
The nasal sinuses and inner ears are usually unaffected by the treatment, though case reports suggest that small amounts of pressure can be transmitted across the face tissues. There is some evidence that an overly tight or restrictive mask may impair mid-face growth in children, but this can be avoided if treatment is monitored and adjusted.
It is critical to consider the special case of a related condition. Central sleep apnea is defined by breathing pauses that are characterized by a lack of effort to breathe rather than an airway collapse. It is most commonly caused by a stroke, congestive heart failure, or the use of narcotic or opioid medications. It can also happen as a result of CPAP therapy, which is known as complex sleep apnea. Other treatment modalities may be necessary in the case of central sleep apnea.
Bilevel therapy, in particular, is sometimes required. Bilevel therapy provides two pressures, one for inhaling and one for exhaling, and can adjust the pressure on the fly to compensate for breathing pauses. This timed mode inflates the lungs to ensure that only a few breaths are taken.
A more sophisticated level of treatment known as adaptive (or auto) servo-ventilation can also be used. In those with significantly compromised breathing, this allows control of breath rate, volume, the timing of delivered airflow, and other variables.