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Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a medical device used to treat sleep apnea by preventing the upper airways from collapsing. Although this device is highly effective, patients may encounter problems which can cause discomfort. Here are some common complications our CPAP Consultants see and how they address them:

• Discomfort when breathing out – this can be difficult to get used to when first starting CPAP, however you can adapt easier by setting a ramp function to gradually build up the pressure as you fall asleep. Some machines also have an Expiratory Pressure Relief (EPR) function, which allows to breathe out easily by dropping the pressure.

• Swallowing Air – some CPAP users report feeling bloated. This typically occurs if your pressure is set too high. Decreasing your pressure and turning on the ramp feature often corrects this.

• Overcoming claustrophobia – there are plenty of minimally invasive masks for claustrophobic patients, such as nasal masks or nasal pillow masks.

• Excessive condensation – this is particularly common in winter, but can be overcome by turning down your humidifier and keeping the tubing slightly warmer (such as putting it under the blankets).

• Dry mouth – try using a heated humidifier or chin strap to help keep your mouth shut if you are using a nasal mask.

• Unpleasant smells – it is important to wash your CPAP consumables daily to prevent off-putting smells.

• Facial marks – CPAP users often wear their mask headgear too tight, or are wearing a style of mask not suitable for their face structure. Another solution is switching to a softer memory foam cushion.

• Nasal congestion – using a heated humidifier or saline nasal spray can help to open nasal passages.

• Waking with dry, red eyes – this can occur if air is leaking from your mask into your eyes while you sleep. Try tightening the mask or arrange a consultation for a mask fitting.

The CPAP Clinic has a network of 40 clinics nationwide, and works in partnership with Centurion Healthcare, a Respiratory & Sleep Specialist clinic group to provide comprehensive sleep care including:

  1. Respiratory & Sleep Specialist consultation – face-to-face and telehealth available
  2. Sleep studies – in-lab, home and contactless sleep studies available.

Bulk billing available for specialist telehealth consultations as well as sleep studies. Medicare criteria apply. Call 1300 76 29 39 or email info@thecpapclinic.com.au for more information.