Every person with sleep apnea suffers varying degrees of air congestion in their air passageways and throat. That is why it is important to ensure that your CPAP system is adjusted to the correct level for you so that you will always breathe freely during the night and wake up completely refreshed the next day, ready for the tasks ahead.
Your CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) system ensures that your breathing is not hindered during the night by constantly applying air pressure through your nose or mouth. This is among the most effective ways to treat Sleep Apnea.
If left untreated, the windpipe can be obstructed while sleeping due to the proximity of your tongue or throat tissues. However, applying this healthy airway pressure helps to address this by holding the airway clear thus helping to minimize the number of times you wake up during the night gasping for breath.
This helps to restore the consistency of your sleep every night.
What Do CPAP Pressure Settings Indicate?
The key is to make sure that the configuration of your CPAP system is suitable for your particular situation. For most individuals, the CPAP pressure varies between 7 and 13 cmH2O, with an average of 10 cmH2O. A sleep doctor will help you decide what degree is right for you.
Over time, the pressure of your CPAP system can need to be changed. For instance, if you start snoring when using your CPAP system, this may mean that the level is no longer correct for you and could need some fine adjusting.
Is My CPAP Pressure Too Low?
If the pressure is low, you can still have trouble breathing through the night, including using your CPAP machine. You need to have enough pressure to hold your airways open, because if they’re still blocked, your body won’t get the oxygen it needs all night.
Many people who have more than five apnea or hypopnea cases every hour are likely to need more air pressure. Failure to obtain adequate air will undoubtedly result in inadequate sleep, a sense of air deprivation, or daytime exhaustion.
In addition, if you tend to snore excessively after using your CPAP system, you may need to raise the air pressure. It is necessary to ensure that the system is not leaking air, as this could lead users to snore.
If the pressure setting on your system is too low, you can even develop aerophobia, which may lead to gasping for breath during the night, which forces the patients to allow air down to the stomach. This can lead to bloating, gas, nausea, and frequent belching.
Is My CPAP Pressure Too High?
The CPAP pressure can sometimes be too high?
If the CPAP pressure is high, you may feel pain in your throat, nose, or airways, which may make it hard to sleep at night, and may cause the overall therapy to fail.
If you stay awake all night because of the discomfort and pain from so much air, you’re not going to get a decent night’s sleep. Consequently, this has an effect of feeling unrefreshed in the mornings. Daytime exhaustion is just what your CPAP system is designed to prevent.
Just like when the air pressure is too low, if the air pressure in the CPAP system is too high, this can also cause aerophobia, where you “swallow” the air in the gasp.
What CPAP Pressure Do I Need?
Sleep practitioners use the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) to indicate how often you stop breathing during an hour of sleep. Generally, if you perceive an AHI frequency of five or more every hour, your CPAP system settings should be increased.
How To Change CPAP Pressure Yourself
If you have some of the signs above that are consistent with a pressure either being too low or too high, visit your sleep consultant to change the settings of your CPAP system.
Your sleep expert will evaluate your AHI level to see the settings are correct for you.
Changing the CPAP system setting yourself can lead to a pressure change too far in any direction, which may lead to higher AHI readings, which would not be helpful.
You may want to consider an AutoSet Device
A new line of AutoSet systems that might be suitable for you are now available in the market.
You can select from four new gadgets, including the AirSenseTM 10 AutoSetTM, which changes the pressure levels to suit your evolving needs – meaning that you only get the lowest pressure you need, without losing your overnight therapy.
With AutoSet, you never need to think about whether your CPAP system provides the right amount of air pressure to you. These devices will sense your breathing level and change it accordingly.
Getting the Best CPAP Cleaner
Best Cpap Cleaner is here to help you make the best decision while choosing your CPAP devices and accessories. We have updated blog posts about CPAP machines and CPAP cleaners too. Call us today at (855) 275-8951 or visit our offices in Coral Springs, Florida.
References and Resources
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure