Benefits of CPAP?

Hi, I was recently diagnosed with moderate sleep apnea, have just started using a CPAP and am still adjusting to the machine. I am going to give it a serious try, but am not yet convinced that it will be worth the effort and bother. I was wondering if any longtime users could comment on the benefits they have seen from their use of CPAP machines - are they dramatic or subtle, and how long did it take before you began to notice improvements?

I have been using my cpap for over 8 years. Before cpap I had restless nights and I was tired all day, everyday. I was told by my guy that I stop breathing in my sleep. After my sleep study I was told I woke up unknowingly 50+ times. My cpap has been a life saver for me. I adjusted to it pretty quickly and I have the best nights sleep every night. I literally cannot go to sleep without it. The benefits of using it were immediate! I used to use the mask but now I use the nose buds and I love them.

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Thanks very much for your encouraging reply! I’m going to keep trying and will experiment with different masks to see what works best.

Mrutsj, how long seems vary widely. It took me a month+ and a concerted effort to get used to sleeping with am CPAP, but I saw benefits before then – less in hours slept than numbers for waking oxygen and heart rate.

Mask fit matters so much. I’m on a ResMed 10, use a nose pillow and started with a chin harness too but don’t need to use it anymore.

Recently, I inadvertently tested those benefits when away from home for a battery of PH tests. I fell asleep and slept without it for the first time in 6 months. I woke up tired, oxygen numbers and felt rotten all day.

To me the answer to your questions are a no brainer. If my recall is correct, 60-80% of stroke victims have sleep apnea. I had a stroke, a debilitating stroke that was reserved due to the timeliness of my treatment. I was subsequently diagnosed with complex severe sleep apnea. I now use a BiPap ASV which mitigates my apnea. I have been using my machine since July 2017 and am 100% compliant. I have more energy, sleep much better, and know I am sleeping safely. As with most it took a bit to get use to the equipment but the positive results were realized quickly. I found out the hard way and never wish to repeat what I experienced. Good luck and I hope this helps you avoid far more serious outcomes due to your apnea.

By the time my Apnea was diagnosed, I had already suffered permanent heart damage. With moderate apnea, I would certainly just tell myself that there is no “trying.” By that I mean that you just tell yourself that you are “doing” it. I struggled with mask leaks for four months, compliant all the way, until I was switched to bi-pap. That was the change I needed, for the leaks were controllable and I am 100% compliant. I also sleep with 2% oxygen at night. Permanent heart damage is something you don’t want to deal with. Please work as long and as hard as you need to assure that you do everything to stay healthy and well.

I used to fall asleep whenever I was sitting, like in Church or other places. It was embarrassing but I had no control over it. I would even fall asleep while typing at my job. Since I have been using the Bi-Pap I can sit through any meeting and stay awake. That is a real blessing.

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I’ve been treating my apnea now for 13 years. If I could answer your question about whether it will be worth the effort of getting used to it, it would be a resounding YES!!! In my mind the reduction in stroke, heart disease, and heart attack itself makes the effort worth it.

In my case, I had severe apnea - 89 events per hour and was holding my breath up to 20 seconds at a time. The morning after the 2nd night of my sleep study was the first time I could remember not having to amp myself up on coffee and Mountain Dew to get home. I took to it right away and have been using it religiously since. I caution you that your mileage may vary. Once you and your DME find a mask that suits you, I tell newbies to put the mask on every night for 6 weeks. It takes that long for your mind’s normal to adjust to having a foreign object strapped to your face overnight. Most people will take to it during the first 6 weeks. There’s a sleep debt you need to payoff. The results will begin to happen after that. You normally start noticing a difference within the first 2 months.

I wish the best of luck to you. Please keep us posted on how it goes. If you’re struggling with something, there’s probably somebody on here who has also struggled with it and can give you advice. Take care.

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I am not a long time user. In fact, just 6 weeks. But without my BiPap machine (severe, complex apnea) I’m sure that my life expectancy would be very short. The mask is certainly a big pain in the butt, but you tend to get used to something that has such a major, positive effect on your life. I am a writer and, before the sleep study, I no longer had the concentration to take on new projects. That was certainly depressing. But after my brain has had the proper level of oxygen, it’s back to normal. The inconvenience of the mask and respirator are simply a new component of my life that I now feel eternally grateful for.

Thank you all for the very thoughtful replies and for sharing your positive experiences - I REALLY appreciate the encouragement and advice, and after reading your stories am now committed to using the machine every night. One of my problems is “leakage” (I’m using ResMed nasal pillows) so I think I need to try a different type of mask that covers the nose a bit more fully. My dentist (who happens to be a CPAP user) told me that after he switched to the Dreamware Nasal Mask his leakage issues were resolved, so I just ordered the device online and am looking forward to trying it out. My other issue is that I unconsciously remove the mask in the middle of my sleep, probably due to the fact that it feels so foreign - that will hopefully self correct with time as I get used to it. Once again, THANK YOU for your help and I wish you all continued good health and restful nights.

I wasted a lot of time not working with the pap in the beginning. However when other health issues related to unchecked apnea developed I learned how to use it properly and found that it does make a big difference. I’ve been blessed with a really good machine and the proper accessories and I am doing much better and it shows in my health and activity response.

I started using CPAP over 4 years ago. When I go for follow up appt they always ask me “Dont you feel so much better?” The answer to that is: “I never felt bad to start with”. I have severe mixed sleep apnea discovered when I was hospitalized (02 Sats kept dropping when I fell asleep). Had the sleep study,(AHI=82) started on CPAP, fast forward 4 years, multiple pressure changes, and AHI is still not in acceptable range. Another sleep study 3 months ago, showed severe CENTRAL apnea(33/hr). After two pressure changes and 2 different machine trials, I’m headed back for another sleep study later this month. So if I don’t feel any different why would I go through all this? Take one look at the side effects of untreated sleep apnea! I can do without ALL that! What benefit do I get out of it? Well, I like the warm humidified air up my nose at night, I dont wake up with a dry nose in the morning and hubby says I don’t snore anymore. Pretty expensive solution for 3 minor personal benefits, but my insurance pays 100%. I’m going in for another sleep study to try out Bipap and possibly ASV. Maybe I will see additional benefit after that… I’m finding out this is not an exact science…lots of trial and error going on. The pulmonologist told me she has seen maybe 5-8 people with this severe type of sleep apnea in 33 years. We all excel at different things in life, I guess this is mine…LOL.

As far as dealing with CPAP etc goes, I look at it this way; at least I can take mine off in the morning, I don’t have to carry it around all day. It’s better than having to put a prosthetic leg on every morning or check blood sugar or take insulin multiple times per day.

Yeah, it’s not perfect by any means but in the big scheme of things, it’s NBD. (No big deal)

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I’m not a long term user. For me it has been about 7 weeks… BUT I can tell you that I have learned in that time to love my machine. Understand that at my sleep study (which I was totally grumpy about - I didn’t believe that I belonged there) I had 92 events per hour, and 57 of them were respiratory. The respiratory ones lasted up to 43 seconds, which left the other 17 seconds for “other” events. During the respiratory events, my Oxygen Saturation dropped to 84%… Not apnea, but hypopnea.

The reasons I love my machine:

  • The first night I put the mask on, I slept 12 1/2 hours straight through - prior to that it was good if I actually slept 7 hours, no matter how long it took me to get there.
  • The pain levels I had at night ran into the 8 or 9 range and over the first 2 - 3 weeks, they dropped into the 3 - 4 range, sometimes less
  • My pain level during the day dropped from a 6 - 8 level most days to 3 - 4 during the day
  • My energy levels were somewhere around 10 during the day and it was all I could do, even after 12 hours of sleep, to get anything done. Now I work most of the day (controlled pace of course).

An interesting occurrence… I caught a little flu or something the other day and was having a terrible time breathing… I have asthma so not that unusual. I decided not to use my mask, but about 3 hours later I gave up trying to sleep, then decided to put the mask on after all. From the first breath I could breathe deeply, and fell asleep in seconds. Was totally not what I expected. It was wonderful… I would encoureage you to really give your mask a chance. It will probably change your life… Have a great weekend!

You might also need the nasal pillow full face mask (Dreamware) - That is what I use. It is wonderful and not as big as the others. Also, the hose is on top of the head which seems easier to me overall for movement…

Thank you for your response - I got tested on the advice of my cardiologist, after a pacemaker implant. I don’t know if there is a direct relationship between apnea and electrical problems in the heart, but I’m hoping that the machine will help forestall future problems.

Dear Kim, thank you for sharing your experiences. From your story and others it seems that the quest for improving apnea can follow a long and winding road - you have a great attitude, and I hope that you see more benefits as you continue on your journey!

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Dear Caeryl, Thank you - I was happy to hear about all the positive changes in your life after initiating the CPAP treatment, and find your story to be most inspiring.

I got the Dreamware Nasal Mask and tried it out last night - much better! The fact that it pivots on top is really helpful since I tend to sleep on my side, and the other mask, which had the pivot in front, felt too bulky.

I think there is - I have a left bundle branch block, and the cardiologist is the one that recommended that I needed a sleep study. I’m so glad he did. I do know that if you have apnea / hypopnea you are at higher risk for heart attacks and stokes if you don’t treat it, so it is great that you are…

Excellent! I have the same issue - side sleeper… I’m glad it is better for you. I was lucky. When I went for my titration study, I had been researching. I found the Dreamware mask, initially with just the nasal pillows. But my tech at the titration study suggested the full face Dreamware, and I’m really glad she did. It is still nasal, but it keeps my mouth covered in those instances I breathe through my mouth.

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving if you celebrate that!

Thank you :slight_smile: Happy Thanksgiving!

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