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What do CPAP machines feel like?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, CPAP, machines are a common treatment for sleep apnea, a disorder that can interfere with breathing during sleep. While newly diagnosed sleep apnea patients are often relieved to have a diagnosis and treatment plan, they can still feel unsure of what to expect when using a CPAP machine. What do CPAP machines feel like?

Your first time sleeping with a CPAP machine may feel a little uncomfortable; it won’t hurt, but it will require some adjustment to your sleep routine as you learn to sleep with a mask. The mask is fitted over your nose and mouth, then connected by a tube to the machine. The CPAP will deliver a continuous flow of air through the tube and mask as you sleep, keeping your airway open so you can breathe properly.

Some patients notice slight discomfort or pressure the first few nights of wearing the CPAP mask as they adjust to the mask’s tightness. New masks can be adjusted by loosening (or tightening) the straps to find a more comfortable fit. You may also consider purchasing a mask with foam cushioning or gel inserts to reduce pressure along the areas in contact with your skin.

Another experience new CPAP users notice is a sensation of pressure in the throat as the machine runs. This is normal and necessary; it keeps the airway open and is what the CPAP machine is designed to do. Some patients complain of difficulty exhaling against the pressure. In this case, you should talk to your doctor about adjusting the pressure settings or trying a different type of mask or machine.

Despite the initial adjustment period, most sleep apnea patients report feeling much better after using a CPAP machine while they sleep. They wake up more rested and refreshed, have more energy throughout the day, and experience a decline in their sleep apnea symptoms. With time and the proper adjustments, CPAP will become a comfortable and effective treatment for your sleep apnea. To find out more about CPAP machines and how they can benefit you, call Biltmore ENT at (602) 560-1085.