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Beginner w/ CPAP, Issues?

Rot-Iron66

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Jan 27, 2016
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Folks, It appears by some research what I experienced on night # 1 may be normal.

I started w/ my new CPAP machine last night. It seems I (and many others) have issues exhaling under pressure.
I started out low with my pressure (5) and set Flex to 2. Inhaling while resting seems fine, exhaling took some getting used to.
I would just about nod off, then wake, and have to remove mask to catch my normal breathing pattern again. Put it back on, etc.
(Maybe my pressure is too low, but was told to start low and build up).

Did this a few times, then just removed it for the first night so I can actually fall asleep, etc.
I know it takes some getting used to. Anyone here run into the "exhale" issue and any input/pointers you might share?

For those who use one, did you take to it first night, or did it take some getting used to for you?
 

Dens228

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Folks, It appears by some research what I experienced on night # 1 may be normal.

I started w/ my new CPAP machine last night. It seems I (and many others) have issues exhaling under pressure.
I started out low with my pressure (5) and set Flex to 2. Inhaling while resting seems fine, exhaling took some getting used to.
I would just about nod off, then wake, and have to remove mask to catch my normal breathing pattern again. Put it back on, etc.
(Maybe my pressure is too low, but was told to start low and build up).

Did this a few times, then just removed it for the first night so I can actually fall asleep, etc.
I know it takes some getting used to. Anyone here run into the "exhale" issue and any input/pointers you might share?

For those who use one, did you take to it first night, or did it take some getting used to for you?
I've been on a CPAP for four years now..........myself and everyone I know that uses one had the same exhale issues at first. It took me about a week to get used enough to it that I was able to fall asleep quickly. It took about a month for it to be to the point where I actually don't even think about it at all.
 

chopsuey

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Oct 25, 2014
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I thought some of the new apap's have a feature built in to recognize exhaling and make it more comfortable? Been researching them heavily in case I need to buy one. Also I think it learns your patterns and auto adjusts.

If you already bought one I guess this doesn't help but might be something to consider for the feature. Also from talking to a few bodybuilder friends they prefer the auto as when you go up and down in weight for seasons you don't have to adjust things yourself, just recognizes it.
 

totalrecomp

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I have had one for 4 years or so at this point. Most nights are no issue but I still have nights where it is on/off/on/off. I took to it immediately as I felt AWFUL prior to obtaining my CPAP. I had a total test level of 13 ng/dL at the time I was being evaluated for sleep apnea as well so I was walking death. If I did not get a machine I was getting to the point of hopelessness it was so bad.

Night one I slept like a rock. Fast forward to the present day and I have 60% good nights and the other 40% are all over the place. I can go a night or two without the machine and I am fine but any longer than that and it really starts to take it's toll. Even if you are only wearing it half the night total it is still better than giving up. I am a Respiratory Therapist and it can take a while for some to adjust and I encourage you to try as many different masks as you need to until you find the right one for you.

Longterm I would not encourage dependence on them but some sleep medication use during the break-in period may also be used. I personally will use either doxylamine succinate or diphenhydramine 2-3 times a month when I NEED to get a full night with the CPAP.
 

danieltx

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I had the same issue with exhaling, it's a weird sensation to exhale against the incoming airflow. It took me 4-6 weeks to be able to regularly wear mine all night.

Like anything in bodybuilding, progressive overload is key. I started wearing it for a few minutes, worked up to an hour, to a few hours, to the full night.

Try wearing it when you're watching TV, on the computer, etc., to get yourself more used to it. When you can finally sleep with it all night you'll wish you'd started using it years earlier.
 

socialdfan

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I have had mine for two weeks and have not been able to fall to sleep even once...Once I put it on I am wide awake.
 

Powerlifter

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Aug 12, 2005
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I’ve had a cpap since 2009 and I remember it took me a bit to get used to. Some machines now stop blowing air when you breath out to make it easier but mine doesn’t do that. My pressure is 16 and I have no issues. It takes time so keep at it. Don’t give up on it.
 

BIG1512

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Same here for me. I always say I'm gonna wear it then I take it off. I got a new mask Saturday hoping it helps.
 

danieltx

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Those of you finding it challenging to wear - treat it like any exercise in the gym.

You wouldn't start benching, say 'this is hard', then stop and go home. You do the workout even though it's challenging because it gets you to your goals with strength / physique / etc., and over time it gets easier.

The CPAP is the same. It's challenging at first but you do it because it gets you closer to the most important goal of all - better health. And it gets much easier over time.
 

Rot-Iron66

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Everyone, great answers and thanks... Im thinking I may take to it quickly (or I hope to), but its good to see others experience. To answer the question posed by 'chopsuey", yes, that is the FLEX or C-Flex option many come with today. I used it last night and will continue to. So say your pressure is set to 10,and you set Flex to 3, it backs off a bit on exhale and the pressure becomes 7 on exhale. (10-3).

I plan on staying with it, my wife recorded my sleeping/snoring, its bad and I stop breathing during the night for like 30 seconds at a time, etc. Im always exhausted from AM to PM (all day), its getting annoying now. (And stimming up to try to stay awake, energy for gym, etc). Very helpful all, thank you!
 

BOWTECH

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I may be the odd man out here. I have been using a CPAP for about the last 6 years. I never had an issue from the start. But I suffered from “Severe” sleep apnea. And the first night I used the CPAP machine, I woke up and felt like I haven’t felt in over 20 years. It’s been a lifesaver for me. And I feel great now. I don’t get tired driving anymore or start to nod off at the wheel. Once you are comfortable with the machine. You should then sleep like you haven’t slept in years. Stick with it. You won’t regret it.
 

biggie260

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Just be patient. See if your doc will let you take trazadone. Just slowly work your way up to having it on all night. Some of it is anxiety from the mask.
 

muscle96ss

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Folks, It appears by some research what I experienced on night # 1 may be normal.

I started w/ my new CPAP machine last night. It seems I (and many others) have issues exhaling under pressure.
I started out low with my pressure (5) and set Flex to 2. Inhaling while resting seems fine, exhaling took some getting used to.
I would just about nod off, then wake, and have to remove mask to catch my normal breathing pattern again. Put it back on, etc.
(Maybe my pressure is too low, but was told to start low and build up).

Did this a few times, then just removed it for the first night so I can actually fall asleep, etc.
I know it takes some getting used to. Anyone here run into the "exhale" issue and any input/pointers you might share?

For those who use one, did you take to it first night, or did it take some getting used to for you?

People with higher pressures are actually prescribed something called Bipap(what I use). It changes the pressure on expiration to make it easier to breathe. If you can't get used to it, you could always ask your doc if he would change the Rx to Bipap.
 

Reno911

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Feb 25, 2011
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OP- I would assume your machine has a "ramp" feature. This allows the flow to be lower then ramp up over time. I have had a CPAP close to 10 years and don't use the ramp now but it was useful the first few years so you don't feel like your being suffocated.

Take a look at the machines manual or do a little Googling.
 

Campeon

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Aug 2, 2003
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Exhaling against pressurized air will take some getting used to...

what i recommend is turn on the cpap during the day and practice ...
 

Dens228

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Do you have the nasal pillows or a full mask?
I have the pillows, a coworker had the pillows too and could not get used to the exhaling........he switched to a full mask and had no issues.
 

TheOtherOne55

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Question, what mask are you wearing and what time of CPAP machine do u have?
I have a Phillips Dreamstation and have had to rotate different full face masks because of issues with the pressure. Some of the masks I have leak and break the seal during exhaling...and because of that, I kinda stick to one and only one mask.

What are you using?>
 

bigsonbitch

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Feb 2, 2012
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I thought some of the new apap's have a feature built in to recognize exhaling and make it more comfortable? Been researching them heavily in case I need to buy one. Also I think it learns your patterns and auto adjusts.

If you already bought one I guess this doesn't help but might be something to consider for the feature. Also from talking to a few bodybuilder friends they prefer the auto as when you go up and down in weight for seasons you don't have to adjust things yourself, just recognizes it.

I have an APAP - never used a CPAP but I will say from the first night I started using my APAP I never had an issue getting used to it or anything as such - it adjusts to your sleeping pattern so the pressure isn’t too strong if you don’t need it to be and vice versa
This machine has changed my life
 

PMULS

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Sep 7, 2016
Messages
47
I may be the odd man out here. I have been using a CPAP for about the last 6 years. I never had an issue from the start. But I suffered from “Severe” sleep apnea. And the first night I used the CPAP machine, I woke up and felt like I haven’t felt in over 20 years. It’s been a lifesaver for me. And I feel great now. I don’t get tired driving anymore or start to nod off at the wheel. Once you are comfortable with the machine. You should then sleep like you haven’t slept in years. Stick with it. You won’t regret it.

I have the same level (severe) with an AHI of 70 and oxygen saturation that dipped to 77% when I was tested (off topic but hilarious how people, mostly Americans, complain about not being able to breathe in surgical masks that may lower oxygen saturation by a few points at the most). From what I recall, severe is 30+ apneas per hour (AHI) and/or below 80% oxygen saturation. For the first year or so, it was an improvement but my mouth kept opening from the high pressure and my mask only covered my nose. Switching to a mask that covered my mouth and nose was a massive improvement.

People with higher pressures are actually prescribed something called Bipap(what I use). It changes the pressure on expiration to make it easier to breathe. If you can't get used to it, you could always ask your doc if he would change the Rx to Bipap.

These are amazing. I use a model of the AirSense 10 which does it and I believe it has the ramp up feature so the pressure is lower initially. Even with those features, it was weird breathing out since there was still some pressure but if it were the actual pressure for inhaling... I'd probably be skiing what OP did.

Just be patient. See if your doc will let you take trazadone. Just slowly work your way up to having it on all night. Some of it is anxiety from the mask.

There are other meds too. I was originally taking Benadryl, 50-100mg twice a night and plowing through the 600 count bottle. I tried trazodone, seroquel, Lunesta, and Vistaril (all easily obtainable online). Only one I liked was Vistaril but it's also an antihistamine so I searched elsewhere.

What I found was CBN oil which is some cannabis related thing. Now, normally when I tried to get off of Benadryl, I'd wake up what felt like a dozen times and only an hour would have passed. Not wanting this to continue throughout the night, I'd end up taking 50-100mg to get me through the next 4 hours before taking another 50-100mg for the next 4. First night of the CBN, that didn't happen. Wasn't expecting it to be anywhere near as good as it was. Is it perfect? No. But it's good enough and not an antihistamine. May be worth giving it a shot.
 

Rot-Iron66

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Jan 27, 2016
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I also have the Phillips Dreamstation, it does have Ramp, yes. The mask I'm using is full-face, but I also ordered a nasal mask to try.
As for sleep drugs or anxiety, natural stuff actually works well for me and does knock me out (1 gram GABA, EAA Sleep by Primeval, etc).

I'll also use the stuff like Aleve PM, or generic Unisom type pills. They all seem to work fine for me these days.

Night two, I did end up falling asleep with it on, and slept soundly for a few hours til woken up to piss, then to get back to sleep, I didn't use it as I was going over the process all over again of getting used to it.
So day two was better than day 1 (a few hours), and I'm sure it will get better as I get used to it. I am going to try the nose-mask though (covers the nose rather than pillows stuck in nostrils, not sure if Id like that, but maybe).

I will stick w/ this and find the perfect mask, settings, etc for me, like you folks have said, it takes some time, some practice, some getting used to. Appreciate all your input and "Advices"...
 

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