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Sleep Apnea Machine Side Effects

Sleep Apnea Machine Side Effects and How to Deal With Them

A sleep apnea machine, though helpful, has some side effects too, some of them which are not at all harmful, while on the other hand, others, though not entirely harmful, need to be treated with caution. To know more about the side effects, their probable causes and remedies, read on...
Shashank Nakate
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
The phenomenon of sleep apnea is basically a sleep related disorder, characterized by breathing problems like low breathing, low volume of air intake, and abnormality in both inhalation & exhalation. The pause which occurs as a result of the abnormality is known as the apnea, and the occurrence of low breathing with lesser volume of air is known as hyponea. The disorder consists of lowered and labored breathing, along with abnormal pauses and lowered volume of air intake.
There are several causes that can be attributed to sleep apnea. Few of these are blocked nasal and air passage, narrowing down of the wind pipe due to fat deposition (or pressure caused by wrong sleeping position), over relaxation of the tongue, etc. Snoring is also caused as a result of some of the aforementioned causes. Sleep apnea is cured with the use of what is commonly known as sleep apnea machine.
The machine is scientifically known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) or Automatic Positive Airway Pressure (APAP). Operation of this machines is relatively simple. Pressurized air is flown through the machine in a controlled manner. The user wears a plastic mask over the mouth. Pressurized air is then provided by a small machine connected to the mask with a pipe. Gentle air pressure is effectively used to cure apnea. Information on the topic of sleep apnea mouthpiece should be useful for readers.
Side Effects of Sleep Apnea Machine
Though the treatment is successful in curing apnea in a majority of cases, there are few side effects which tend to occur. These sleep apnea machine side effects are not life-threatening, and some of them don't require any kind of special treatment. However, attention is needed if they turn chronic.
Nasal and Sinus Congestion, Runny Nose and Irritation
Mucus in the initial phases of the nasal passage acts as a natural humidifier within the nasal passage. However, when you use an apnea machine, the flow of pressurized air tends to dry out the mucus and the nasal passage. As a reaction, the body produces more mucus, which leads to a congested nose and sinus.
 In some cases, the mucus is also generated as a result of the colder temperature of pressurized air. Mucus present in the nasal passage and sinus arrests the foreign particulate matter and microbes which try to enter the body. These microbes and particulate matter are responsible for irritation in the nasal passage.
  • Use a humidifying CPAP machine or one which performs the job of a humidifier and air warmer.
  • See a doctor when the congestion or irritation gets out of hand or becomes chronic.
Difficulty in Breathing Through the Nasal Passage
It is a natural reaction and habit of people with nasal allergies, sinus related trouble or deviated septum, to breathe more through their mouth as against their noses. This is usually seen as a result of the protective mucus which protects the nose from severe infections. Hence, when one starts using the humidifier, this problem can arise as the body is adjusted to taking in less air through the nose. Apart from that, the mucus in itself tends to block off substantial part of the air.
  • Use low pressure for the air.
  • See a doctor when it starts to bother you.
Stomach or Abdominal Bloating
Bloating of the abdomen or stomach is not uncommon, as the reason behind it is simple. Bloating can occur if the patient inhales a significant amount of air through the CPAP machine. This is not very harmful, however, you should consult your physician if it starts becoming chronic and painful.
  • See the doctor if bloating becomes chronic, frequent, or even painful.
  • The pressure of the machine can be reduced.
Morning Headaches
Morning headaches may be caused by either excess mucus in the nose and sinus, or due to the differential air pressure in the sinus, nose and mouth. Either ways, you will need to see your physician and get the air pressure altered. This problem can turn serious in no time. You need to rush to your doctor if the problem becomes chronic.
  • Altering the air pressure of the CPAP machine is the solution to avoid this side effect.
  • See your doctor if the headaches become chronic and uncomfortable.
These 4 are the most common of all sleep apnea machine side effects. Some other side effects that a person can experience include:
  • Dry nasal passage or dry eyes
  • Facial sores, bumps and redness.
  • Sores inside the nose.
  • Nightmares and dreams or fear.
  • Saliva build up.
  • Jaw damage.
Consult your doctor if any of the aforementioned side effects occur chronically. In most cases, the solution lies in the alteration of usage of the CPAP machine.