March 15, 2012

CPAP Tips When You Have a Cold

Use of a CPAP (includes all types) machine when you have a cold can be difficult to say the least. I personally seldom have a cold that causes problems for me, but it has happened. For a few days, I would get very little sleep and the cold would seem to last longer.

Therefore, when this article appeared in Sleep Connect dot com, I had to read it and reread it carefully. I then had to start looking for additional sources to explain Stage 3 sleep (or delta sleep). I was already familiar with the term REM sleep, which is the source of restorative restful sleep. For those interested, read these sources: article 1, article 2, and article 3. These will give you some answers and resources for more reading. You may also use your search engine to find more.

Now back to the tips when you have a cold. I will be covering the tips in a different order than this article presents them for my own reasons.

First, I hope that you have a CPAP machine that has a heated humidifier built in or a water bath that the air passes over to supply you with warm moist air to breath while sleeping. This will assist the nasal passages in remaining open enough for sufficient air passage to your lungs. This will generally suffice except for the severe colds.

If you have a severe cold and your nasal passages just will not allow air passage, a full-face mask may be the only choice. This allows for breathing through your mouth when the nasal passages become clogged. I have not had success with a full-face mask, but I am going to talk to my doctor and see if there are other mask manufactures that have them, just to try a different one. My first one made more noise and interrupted my wife's sleep so I stopped using it. No amount of adjusting could prevent the unwanted noise. I investigated the RemZzzs web site and they do have the full face mask liners which should solve this problem.

The most common remedy that many doctors advise patients to use is over-the-counter (OTC) nasal sprays. For many people they work just fine and prevent the nasal mucus from blocking the nasal passage for much of the sleep hours. I am very cautious about using them as the majority that work are steroid based and I hesitate upsetting my diabetes with steroids. This is why I add this last. Most steroids increase my blood glucose levels more than I like and most doctors say that the amount in nasal sprays is inconsequential. I know different because my meter tells me otherwise. Yet others have no problems. Therefore, this may be a solution for you.

Note: CPAP is the term of choice for all the different types of positive airway pressure machines. These include biPAP, VPAP, A(auto)PAP, and titrating PAP. I use the VPAP, which is a variable PAP and is set with lower and upper limits for the pressure. This allows for an increase in pressure automatically if needed or lowering if not needed.

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