Hate Your CPAP?

Of the ten problems listed by Mayo Clinic that people who use CPAP for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) commonly have with their CPAP, none address the power source problem!  Where do you plug the machine in?  Camping, backpacking, hunting, etc. — a small custom-made oral device may be your answer. Below are Mayo Clinic’s list.

First is the wrong style or size of mask. There are dozens of styles and it could take weeks for you to find the right one, especially if you have facial hair. There are masks that cover your nose and mouth and others that go on or into your nose – if you can tolerate them.

Second on the list is a real BIG problem — patients cannot get used to having that mask on their face. Studies have shown that if a patient cannot tolerate any mask within the first month, they usually never will be able to tolerate one.

The third problem they list is the patient’s inability to put up with air being forced into their airway. Some have a constant pressure; some have two different pressures; and some have automatic pressure based on how you breathe.

The fourth issue is the dry, stuffy nose caused by the pressurized air which can lead to other problems with the sinuses. Humidifying the air can help but increases contamination.

Fifth is claustrophobia and suffocation feelings resulting in panic attacks. And the higher the pressure required, the more these feelings can cause the patient to become intolerant to CPAP.

Leaking masks is the sixth issue and they can leave marks on the face for hours in the morning. Dry eyes, skin problems, and ulcerated lesions on the nose are common. Facial hair is a major reason for a leaking mask for men.

Number seven on the list is the difficulty in falling asleep with this pressurized air. It is just very hard to get used to.

Eighth is the dry mouth. The tongue sticks to the roof of the mouth.

Ninth is the removal of the mask during the night without knowing that you did it. The patient wakes up with the mask on the floor and may have been without it for hours.

And now number ten – the noise from the CPAP machine and the air leaks around the mask. This irritates both the patient and the bed partner. Some bed partners lose as much as 1-2 hours of sleep each night because of this issue resulting in a sleep disorder for them as well.

These are the top 10 listed by Mayo Clinic but there are still big problems. Cleaning the mask and hose is one of those big problems. Studies have shown that after cleaning the machine, hose, and mask as prescribed by the supplier, there is still a biofilm on the inside of the hose and mask. Fungus and staph have been cultured from the surfaces of “cleaned” hoses and masks! Of course, this is dangerous since pressurized air can force these into the airway. This biofilm cannot be removed by merely rinsing with a solution of any kind; it has to be removed physically which is difficult with a corrugated hose that is several feet long!

There is a comfortable alternative to the CPAP with NO strap marks. Oral devices placed by a qualified dentist trained in oral device therapy have been used effectively for decades to eliminate or reduce OSA. Some CPAP users still feel tired during the day or wake up unrefreshed. This is because CPAP may cause a lot of sleep disruption that the oral appliance doesn’t cause. Each disruption resets the sleep cycle and the patient may never get into REM sleep.  Breathing with a CPAP is unnatural while breathing with an oral appliance is natural.

If you are a camper, backpacker, hunter, etc. and are having trouble finding a way to keep your CPAP going during the night, you should look into an oral device as the possible solution to the problem. One bad night’s sleep can ruin a camping or hunting trip.

Dr. Donald Johnson founded Northwest Treatment Center for Snoring & Sleep Apnea in Coeur d’Alene to help people live free with no limits!  He is the only dentist in the Inland Empire that is both a Diplomate in the American Sleep and Breathing Academy and a Qualified Dentist in the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.  His office is at 114 W. Neider Ave., near Costco.  The website for more information is www.NwSleepDoc.com and the office phone is (844) 847-6673.  Schedule an appointment for a free consultation today!