Is There a Link Between CPAP and Pneumonia?
We all know that loud snoring sounds at night from a family member sleeping next door or a bed partner can interfere with our own good night’s sleep as well as the person snoring loudly. Loud snoring can be very uncomfortable for the person suffering from it. In fact, loud snoring is notorious for interrupting their breathing as well as causing it to be very shallow.
This results in breathing pauses that can occur in excess of 100 times at night. This is one of the key symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.
In such cases, sleep specialists recommend that the patient undergo CPAP therapy, which is no doubt one of the most effective ways of treating obstructive sleep apnea. Unfortunately, CPAP therapy has its own drawbacks. For instance, patients that use a CPAP device to treat their sleep apnea are at risk of getting a lung infection.
According to studies, sleep apnea is likely to cause patients to suffer from pneumonia. This is because pneumonia;
- Reduces the patient’s ability to cough up mucus from the lungs
- Causes a surge in pulmonary aspiration
- Leads to the presence of contaminants in CPAP devices
It is recommended that adults that suffer from sleep apnea (moderate or severe) rely on PAP devices that are effective in preventing their airways from collapsing.
The most common treatment of PAP treatment is CPAP therapy. CPAP therapy works by causing a surge in air pressure in the patient’s airway. This air pressure is created by a blower device that is usually connected to a nasal pillow, full-face mask, or nose mask through a hose.
Even though CPAP therapy is considered by many specialists to be the gold standard for treating sleep apnea, some experts now believe that use of a CPAP device might lead to the detriment of the patient’s health.
Studies about CPAP Machines and Pneumonia
A team of Taiwanese researchers say that patients with sleep apnea are more likely to suffer from pneumonia because they suffer from mental uneasiness which makes them vulnerable to attack by pathogens. Because most research only focuses on the risk of pneumonia in CPAP patients as well as children, the team tried to investigate the occurrence of pneumonia in people that suffered from sleep apnea. Regardless of whether they were undergoing CPAP therapy.
included more than 6,000 people who had been newly diagnosed with sleep apnea. All of the patients included in the study were older than 20 years and had an average of 55 years. The test subjects, were compared to a group that didn’t suffer from sleep apnea, but one that matched in sex, age as well as other long-term conditions.
The participants in the study did not have a history of pulmonary infections. The researchers then followed up after five years. The results of the study showed that those with sleep apnea had about a 20% more chance of getting diagnosed with pneumonia compared to the controlled group.
On the other hand, sleep apnea patients that underwent CPAP therapy had a 32% chance of getting pneumonia. In conclusion, sleep apnea patients that ended up getting pneumonia were on in years and in addition to sleep apnea also suffered from heart disease, diabetes and other conditions.
This Taiwanese study indicated that sleep apnea was an unrelated risk in incident pneumonia. The study showed that patients who suffered from severe sleep apnea had a greater chance of getting pneumonia compared to sleep apnea patients who exhibited mild symptoms. Sleep apnea severity led to an increase need of CPAP therapy which in turn increased the risk of pneumonia.
Results of Studies
The team of researchers speculated that the increased risk of pneumonia was brought about by sleep apnea patient’s aspirating liquid or contents from the throat. When a person’s airway is obstructed while they sleep it can lead to the introduction of foreign items such as drink or food from the gastrointestinal tract or oropharynx into the voice box.
In addition, the use of a CPAP device might lead to an increase of pulmonary aspiration, as well as inhibit the patient from coughing up mucus from the lungs.
CPAP machines create a good environment for the growth of bacteria which leads to the emergence of pneumonia.
It is recommended that you keep your CPAP device clean by removing oils and dirt. Bacteria is notorious for leading to infections such as pneumonia in lungs and airway passages.
Pneumonia is not a condition that should be taken lightly. According to the American Lung Association, pneumonia, as well as influenza, are the eighth leading cause in the United States of America.