Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most commonly prescribed obstructive sleep apnea treatment, but CPAP side effects make it a poor choice for many people. Even after months of trying, many patients simply can’t get used to wearing a mask and being tethered to a CPAP machine while they sleep. Yet, many patients are given no other treatment options by their doctors.
If you’re currently suffering from sleep apnea, chances are you’re feeling the effects of daytime fatigue and anxiety over long term health effects and the negative impacts the condition can have on your work and relationships. Continuous positive airway pressure treatment has helped thousands of people, but it also has many drawbacks that make it a less than ideal sleep apnea cure.
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First, there is the drawback of having to wear a mask over your nose or both your mouth and nose while you sleep. This is both unnatural and uncomfortable. If interruptions and pauses in your breathing don’t keep you from getting a good night’s sleep, then the CPAP mask probably will. For some people, a mask isn’t even an option because it invokes anxiety and feelings of claustrophobia.
Second, some people who think they may suffer from breathing interruptions while they sleep never get a true diagnosis because the thought of wearing a CPAP mask is enough to keep them from seeking help. For these people, symptoms may worsen as they grow older, and apnea events can become more severe.
A third side effect of CPAP masks and machines is they are not generally form fitted to an individual’s face. Although they do come in a range of different sizes, problems exist that can prevent a proper fit. This can lead to a poor seal which lets air escape and makes the device ineffective and may also cause rashes and facial or nasal irritation.
A fourth side effect many people complain about is being tethered to the CPAP machine via the hose that carries air from the pump to the mask and into your airway. The hose is a necessary evil that makes it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. Also, since the pump requires electricity, airflow can be cut off if power fails.
Lastly, some people experience additional health issues when using continuous positive airway pressure as a treatment for sleep apnea.