Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a recommended treatment for most people identified with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is defined as the unconscious stoppage of breathing for short periods of time throughout the night. These pauses in breath are due to a partial or full obstruction of the airway. This causes a decrease in blood oxygen to the brain, vital organs and the body. A CPAP machine keeps the passage open through a high-pressure stream of air that is rammed down into the lungs. CPAP can help lessen sleep apnea symptoms such as daytime sleepiness, poor concentration, morning headaches, mood swings, memory loss and of course, snoring.
Complaints with Long-term CPAP Use
Despite the fact that CPAP is the main OSA treatment, there are numerous complaints that often stop sleep apnea patients from using their CPAP machine.
CPAP can cause:
- Skin irritation: The mask leaves red marks on your face. Some sleep apnea patients develop a skin allergy to the plastics being used.
- Bloating and excess gas: The feeling of being bloated or having excess gas is caused by air being forced into the stomach. Remember, CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. Air is rammed down the nose and throat. The air can be forced into the esophagus and then into the stomach.
- Nose, mouth and throat complications: This can be a troubling complaint for many people that use the CPAP. Pain, inflammation, nasal congestion, runny nose and nosebleeds can all occur with long-term CPAP use. These problems are causes by the high pressure, fast moving air irritating the inner tissues of the throat and nose.
Loss of Sense of Taste and Smell with Long-term CPAP Use
An overlooked CPAP hazard is that long-term use of your CPAP can alter your taste and smell. This will change how you experience your food. Loss of taste and smell can happen due to becoming desensitized from the smell of the CPAP machine. This can then cause the loss of taste.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea and would like to learn more about how Dr. Nugent can help you and offer other treatment options other than CPAP call us.