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about 40-60% of sleep apnea patient are unable to use cpap because of complete intolerance. out the rest 80% of the do not comply with the recommendations and the time on cpap for more than a year. these are compelling stats about a condition that still has to find a consistent and friendly approach. one of the most common causes of poor compliance is the presence of nasal congestion that for some people is even difficult to identify as the main  cause of the difficulty tolerating the mask. indeed nasal congestion can aggravate sleep apnea by increasing the negative pressure necessary to maintain air flow in the nasopharynx and also increasing the positive pressure during cpap. what is the experience of more seasoned users of cpap in regards with the management of nasal congestion during cpap use?

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I've been using my cpap for almost 6 years and cannot sleep (breathe) without it because of the nasal 'congestion' in addition to the obstruction.  I cannot use a mask, and use pillows.  When the congestion gets really bad, I also put on breathe rite strips.  If I could wear the strips 24/7, I would.  One surgeon said my turbinates collapse, and could be rectified by surgery.  I asked 3 others who had had the surgery if it was successful, 2 people told me that it worked for a while then gradually went back.  I've also found that dairy increases the congestion, and bizarre as it may sound, make my ears ring.

I find a prescription nasal spray, or on occasion, Afrin relieves my nasal congestion.  I also use a Total Face Mask (the FFM break down the bridge of my nose) which enables me to breathe through my mouth as well as my nose when  the congestion clears.  I agree the mask is the achilles heel of CPAP.  However I think those of us with severe symptoms and health consequences are more likely to make the commitment to work through all problems- including the mask and nasal congestion.

Doing research, such as figuring out dairy is the source of some problems is an example of commitment.

Hi Cesar,

               Do you have vasomotor or allergic rhinitis?

               Do you have a heated humidifier?

               Do you have a room ioniser/ filter?

               Is your machine filter replaced in a timly fashion?

               Are you using enough humidity? (Distilled water)??

                                                            Good Sleep,Chris



Chris H said:

Hi Cesar,

               Do you have vasomotor or allergic rhinitis?

               Do you have a heated humidifier?

               Do you have a room ioniser/ filter?

               Is your machine filter replaced in a timly fashion?

               Are you using enough humidity? (Distilled water)??

                                                            Good Sleep,Chris

hi chris thank you for your replay. i have chronic perennial rhinitis and i use allergy shots. when i was diagnosed of sleep apnea 4 mo ago. i thought this was no longer problem. but after i started using the cpap there were some nights that i need more pressure in the resmed to above 14 and i usually was doing fine with 12. i thought it was the mask getting old with the leakage but later i realized i had nasal congestion that likely oblige me to be a mouth breather. i use a full face mask. i started using nasal steroids with modest results. needless to mention the frustrations of trying to figure out what was going on. further research indicates this is a very common problem that apparently does not have easy solution. i am to the point of contemplating oral appliances or surgery. albeit my ahi is 30 and OA may not works as good. it is funny but my BMI is 25 and i always had athletic training. in any event thank you for your answer and concern.

Hi Cesar, 

Are you using a heated humidifier?

 Have you cranked up the humidity?

  Is the machine filter clean?

What are you cleaning your mask with??

Poorly treated apnea means you are going to have more stress hormones and that makes weight even more difficult to deal with.

How much caffein and how close to bed time are you eating?

Keep at it ,Good Sleep,Chris

hi chris

i use a resmed 9 with humidity at 3. i found out that higher condensates with in the mask. i also has dry mouth syndrome that makes more difficult to deal with mouth breathing.

i was cleaning the silicone cushion with alcohol but i found out it was not advisable now i just use soap and water.

i need to get new filters. no caffeine at night only during the day. i eat about 1 hr before bed time.

Hi Cesar,

   If you cover your hose it wont condense in it as soon so you can crank up the humidity.

   Simple soap with no perfumes and hot water is fine.

   Eating  1 hour before bed is not enough time for things to be settled . I know a busey schedual makes it difficult .  

 Good Sleep,Chris            

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