Tell me 'bout yer CPAP!

I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea just over a year ago, and CPAP helped almost immediately. I started with nasal pillows and then switched to a nasal cushion thing that didn’t work for me because I’m nearly always stuffed up. About a month ago I switched to a full-face mask and it’s so nice being able to breathe at night, especially when I get a cold!

Aside from being less fatigued, my general mood has improved; I’m less depressed and irritable, and feel more like getting out and doing things.

There are two things I’d be cautious about (that my doctor warned me of) and you should definitely talk to your doctor about:

Medications that make you sleepy will make sleep apnea worse, and alcohol will, too, and using CPAP long-term without a humidifier can cause permanent damage to your gums and teeth. My mom got hers years ago before humidifiers were as common and her gums have receded enough that her teeth nearly always hurt. It’s bad enough that she doesn’t use her CPAP as often anymore because the air from that hurts so much she can’t sleep. From what she’s been told by her doctors and dentist, there’s no reversing it.

Ooooh - thanks for the info about the non-humidified air. That’s definitely something to be cautious about.

I know a hypnotic will make me do more breath-holding, from my occasional current use of them. However, I’ll need something to make me unconscious at least the first few times.

Weight loss won’t help much, I know from experience - I was down to within 2-3 pounds of my “target” weight at one point and didn’t feel any better rested, and I did have apnea even then. Maybe not quite as often, but I have memories of apnea when I was a child.

The “full face” mask you mentioned - I assume you mean the one that isn’t really full face, but mouth+nose? uses that term (they call the sort that also covers the eyes “total face”… no wonder I’m confused!).

Right. Mine covers my mouth and nose.

After I posted earlier I remembered that it wasn’t too difficult for me to fall asleep with my mask at first, but I’d take it off in my sleep. I don’t think there’s really anything that can be done about that, and unfortunately I did break part of my first mask that way.

It should be noted that the damage to gums and teeth is (almost always) from long-term use of non-humidified high pressure with a full face mask and mouth breathing. This can be avoided by using a nasal system (mask or pillow, etc.) with a chin strap if necessary, as well. Humidity is primarily for comfort, and mouth damage is rare if one chooses a non-humidified system.

Another side note re: weight loss. That is an effective strategy for many with OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) in which the weight plays a role (the airways are literally obstructed…the CPAP holds them open to keep them from completely collapsing) but some also experience CSA (central sleep apnea) which weight has no bearing on either way (but then again neither does CPAP- to effectively treat CSA you’d need BiPap at least, and often PSV, or BiPAP with a back up rate). CSA is neurological. And in some people it is a combination of both, so it is important to know exactly what you are dealing with before any risk factors can be ascertained or eliminated and before any treatment strategy is undertaken.

Ah, thanks for the clarification. My doctor and respiratory therapist didn’t get into that much detail, even when I switched to a full face mask.

I have mild sleep apnea. I was never sleepy during the day. I really didn’t have any symptoms, but my doctor had me tested because she was doing a cardiac work up and felt it should be part of it.

My pressure is quite low. I use the Breeze system. I got used to it very quickly. I’ve never needed any sleep aids.

My husband is more severe. He can’t sleep without it. In fact, we’ve been looking for a battery back-up for him, in case we have a power outage.

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea about 2.5 years ago. Went on CPAP and have been on it ever since.

No real problems after the first day or two.


Oh, yeah. I started feeling better within 3-4 days. I had been falling asleep during meetings at work. Post-CPAP, I felt a ton better. My BP came down, too.

My only real complaint has been skin irritation from the chin strap that I was wearing. I forked out the dough for a new type of mask and have been trying it for the last two days now. So far, so good. I’m gonna recommend looking into the CPAP Pro at It takes a little work because you have to do the mouthpiece formation and then adjust the hose lengths, but it is worth it to me to not have the red marks on my face from the straps.

Mine has a DC connection that can be plugged into a 12v source like a car or marine battery. I use it when we go to my inlaw’s cabin in the summer, which has no electricity. The battery works for the whole two weeks (I use a solar trickle charger during the day to keep it charged).

as opposed to your beak, which would be an issue if you were a platypus :smiley:

Whoops! Those things are 'spensive. And you’re right, I guess there’s not too much you can do to prevent that short of duct tape or Krazy Glue, which have their own drawbacks.

I saw the neuro today and the current plan is that I will do a CPAP trial, once some other sleeping issues have (hopefully) resolved… having some trouble with nasty nighttime coughing lately which we’re working on. Yes, I’ve hit the sleep-disorder trifecta, what do I win??

Oooh - that looks INTERESTING. Don’t the nasal plugs annoy you though?

How severe was your apnea when you were diagnosed? I ask because of the doctor’s comment that it can be easier to adjust to if you’re really badly sleep-deprived.

My numbers were different. I desatted to 51-55% so often per hour that it looked like the pen was trying to fill in the paper. The insurance company had an automatic denial of treatment if you didn’t desat to 50% at least once. The doctor took care of that. I’ve had a CPAP going on three years.

I had no trouble sleeping with it, but it took awhile for my face to adjust. First there were odd, hard zits. Then there were raw places. I learned to put bandaids on the pressure spots before putting on the mask. After a few months, that wasn’t necessary. (The cats only took a night to adjust. The first night they clawed or bit holes in the hose. After the duct tape was on, they left it alone. That hose has been replaced, btw.)

No pharmaceutical help offered or needed.

I felt better after a day or two.

The only real benefit is more energy and peace of mind. But that’s enough. Oh, the kids say I don’t snore as much.

Oh, and I use a full face mask. They tried the nose-only at the sleep study, but my nose closes enough at night that I couldn’t breathe through it. Oddly, after using the CPAP for a week, that stopped happening. Maybe it’s because the air is filtered. Maybe it’s the humidifier. Don’t know, but it’s a nice side effect.

Go on over to and post your question. You should get several recommendations. The one I have seen mentioned a lot is the Aussie hose. You can see it here

It’s made a huge difference in my ability to get quality sleep - actually restful sleep.

It’s a PITA when you’ve got a cold in your nose but some nasal squeezy stuff (technical, I know) helps with that.

I’m so used to it, it’s hard to sleep without it. Clap that mask over my nose, though, and it’s almost a programmed response to fall asleep. Pavlov would be proud.

Oh - and mine have always been un-humidified and I live in a dry climate. Never bothered me.

After much urging from Mrs. Mustard, I finally went for a sleep study over a year ago. Apparently, I snore just a bit. :smiley: So I’ve been using a CPAP for around a year. Here is my report:

I absolutely hate that frakkin’ thing. I simply cannot adjust to sleeping with a mask over my nose. I’ve tried 4 or 5 different styles, and no one is much better than any other. If I turn my head, the mask partially dislodges or the tubing gets caught on something. I can’t scratch my nose. Also, I sometimes feel as if I am unable to exhale sufficiently, which makes me short of breath to the point that I have to lift the mask momentarily just to give a good exhale. Because of all this, it is a rare night that I use the machine straight through 'til morning.

I don’t feel any different during the day, either. I was hoping for a 'holy shit, I feel great!" response like I’ve heard so many claim before. Nope.

Some nights I dread going to bed because I don’t want to put that damn mask on. Some nights, I don’t put the damn mask on. I will say this, though: I have noticed a remarkable uptick in frequency and vividness of dreams.

This thread has inspired me a bit. I think I’ll put extra effort into keeping the mask on the entire night tonight (I typically get up to take a whiz and fail to re-apply the torture device upon returning to bed).

I’ll do this and report back tomorrow.

Best of luck, Mamma Z!

Mama Zappa, care to give us an update on your test, prognosis and/or treatment?

Thanks for asking. I haven’t taken this any further yet because lately I have yet another sleep issue; as if the apnea and RLS weren’t enough, I wake up during the night with nasty coughing jags. Doc and I are trying to get a handle on that before I try a CPAP trial because there’s little point in strapping something to my face when I’ll just have to rip it off an hour later.

The coughing is most likely related to GERD, though there’s possibly a medication side effect at play as well. If we can get it under control I can schedule the CPAP trial.

Is it the kind of coughing where you wake up and it feels like some one has poured acid into your lungs? Then you hack and cough and hack and cough until your spouse wakes up and it feels like you’re never going to get the stuff out of your throat/lungs? My doctor prescribed daily Prilosec for mine. I also have restless leg and probably apnea (according to my wife) so it sounds like we’re in the same restless boat.

No - I’m already on Prilosec, and in fact the doc has had me up the dosage to twice a day, so there’s no acid sensation (though I don’t doubt there would be if I weren’t on the prilosec). I get a sensation of almost itching in the throat, maybe an inch below the angle of the bottom of the jaw hitting the neck, and have to cough to try to scratch the itch. Just as well I don’t keep a bottle brush on my nightstand or I might try to scratch it. This started a couple of days after I started a new BP med which has coughing as a potential side effect, but subsequent experimentation is pointing to that having been a coincidence.

I suspect more medical tests are in my future. Sigh…

I’m a hosenoser. Diagnosed with sleep apnea about 2 years ago, been on the CPAP ever since. It has made one helluva difference in my life. I now sleep solidly at night (and so does SWMBO) and I have energy during the day.

Popping back in briefly - I have the CPAP trial scheduled for tomorrow night. In preparation, I’m going to be as short-sleeped as possible tonight (have found that it helps - a LOT - when doing a sleep study). And I have Ambien to take when I get there, and the current plan is for Typo Knig to drop me off and then come get me in the morning, poor guy, as I don’t expect to be in any shape to drive home.

Question: When they’re doing a CPAP trial, do they do the full plethora of wiring-up that they do for a full-on sleep study? or do they do a subset since basically they’re just making sure you’re breathing and oxygenating well enough?