A CPAP machine is a medical device which comes in the form of a plastic mask that can be attached to the face. This device lets a steady flow of oxygen to the nose, which eases breathlessness, observed mostly in individuals suffering from sleep disorders. Continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machines are very helpful for individuals suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea and snoring is caused due to an obstruction in the airways and enlarged tonsils. This machine maintains the proper airflow through airways and helps the person to sleep well.
As the individual sleeps, the device blows oxygen at a steady pressure, referred to as titrated pressure, to assist breathing. With unobstructed breathing, the person is able to sleep comfortably, without any problem. However, apart from all these benefits there are some CPAP machine side effects too. Most of the time these effects are observed because of the wrong usage and improper fitting. If these things are corrected then side effects can diminish with time.
Side Effects of the CPAP Machine
No doubt that the CPAP machine is one of the best options for people who are suffering from sleep apnea and snoring, but it has its share of negative effects too. The side effects are mainly due to the incorrect usage of the mask or wrong flow or pressure of air. Ignoring ill effects can lead to some unwanted complications. Following are some of the side effects of using a CPAP machine. These should be brought to the notice of a health care provider, to avoid them from becoming intense, which may take a longer time to get cured.
Nasal Congestion and Dry Mouth
This is one of the most common side effects. The air from the machine is very dry or without moisture. Because of this reason the nose gets irritated and starts secreting excess mucus. This mucus blocks the airways and results in congested nose. If the nose is not able to produce mucus then it may cause excess irritation in nose. This may sometimes result in nose bleeding. Dry air may result in dry mouth and scratchy throat which will make you feel uneasy. The solution for this is to use the CPAP machine with a humidifier.
Difficulty in Breathing
Some people find it difficult to use a CPAP mask for breathing. Although they are benefited by the mask they are unable to take air through the mask. This may be observed in some people who are suffering from sleep apnea. Hence these people should discontinue the usage of this mask and should start using a full face mask.
Stomach Gas and Bloating
Some individuals may experience stomach pain, gas and bloating while using this medical device. Although it is observed in a very few people, the problem may sometimes get critical. This is said to be because of the usage of a large pillow. Hence it is recommended to use wedge pillows at the time of taking CPAP therapy.
Imbalance in Ear Pressure
Due to allergy, cold and sinus, some people may develop headache and ear pressure. As the air gets trapped in the ear canal, it results in blockage and intense pain in head and ear. Hence if the person is facing such problems with CPAP machine then it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately.
Irritated and Red Eyes
If the mask is ill fitted and is not in the right position, the air may leak from open areas. These areas are mostly below the eyes and continuous air flow in the eye may result in irritation and sore eyes. The eyes may become red as a result of this problem. To overcome this problem try to get the exact fitting mask which will reduce the leakage.
This is also a part of the CPAP mask problem. As the mask has belts to hold it overnight, the material of this belt can sometimes irritate the skin. This problem can further develop into rashes and redness on the facial skin. To prevent this side effect, people are advised to use properly fitted masks which will reduce the friction on the face.
These side effects can be controlled if you follow proper guidance and continue using this treatment as after sometime you will get used to it. Discuss the CPAP machine side effects with your doctor if you are unable to get relief. Although there may be some discomfort but the results of the CPAP machine can benefit you throughout your life.