Are There Side Effects Of CPAP Therapy?
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Therapy is the most common treatment option doctors recommend to people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP Therapy works by introducing a constant flow of air from the CPAP machine into masks, ensuring patients have sufficient oxygen to have a good night’s sleep.
While CPAP Therapy is considered relatively safe, it does come with a few possible side effects. Most common complaints of side effects include discomfort from masks or intolerable air pressure experienced during treatment. Thankfully, these effects can be easily overcome through adjustments to the mask and CPAP machine settings. One should not adjust these without professional help though, as it can cause even more harm than good.
Read on to find out more about other possible CPAP therapy side effects and how you can counter them.
Leakage of Air
When the size of the CPAP mask is not compatible with the patient’s face shape, air leak is very common and causes therapy to be much less effective than desired. Other than size incompatibility, active sleepers that move a lot during the night might cause the mask to come loose and result in a leakage of air.
Air leaks can be countered by using a more suitable mask for tighter fit, such as nasal masks and nasal pillows.
Rashes and Marks on Skin
Another common complaint amongst people who use CPAP therapy is that the long-term use of mask causes marks on the skin and even leads to rashes sometimes. This is especially true for people who have sensitive skin.
Thankfully, there are accessories that can help alleviate pressure on the skin, such as cushions, mask liners, barrier creams, or just changing to a looser better-fit mask. Not only can these accessories alleviate marks and rashes on skin, but they also provide more comfort and makes treatment more tolerable.
Some people that use CPAP therapy experience a phenomenon known as “air swallowing”, whereby they wake up with a stomach filled with air and experience burping, bloating, and farting symptoms. This can be a sign that the CPAP pressure settings on your machine is too high, and you need to consult your doctor on other possible options. Oftentimes, these patients are recommended to adopt bi-level therapy instead, which is extremely similar to CPAP therapy, but alternates between different air pressures when breathing in and out, allowing for a much more comfortable breathing experience.
Seeking Treatment for Sleep Apnea
CPAP therapy is the most common and effective treatment for patients experiencing OSA. Although it might come with certain side effects, we believe that the benefits of seeking treatment greatly outweigh the health risks of leaving sleep apnea untreated over a long period of time.