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Breathing Issues
Breathing Issues
Hi all. Newbie here.

I'm starting my 4th week using the mask and it's a rough ride. I feel like I'm suffocating when I breathe out. My EPR has been adjusted to 3 and my pressure is between 7-20 (the doc says 9 works for my apnea).

When I feel this, I cough and cough to try to  - I don't know....breathe out. So getting to sleep is a nightmare. It takes 45 mins to an hour to and the other night, I couldn't stick the mask at all. My sleep schedule is just terrible at this point in time.

Ironically, if I wake up during my sleep cycle, I have no problem getting back to sleep and the mask/breathing is fine. So I'm not sure if this is an actual problem or a head game or what to do.

I see my doc and pulmonologist next week. Hoping for answers. I know I have to use this and I've done my best to be compliant and more often than not, pull 99s and 100s, but this stuff sucks.
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RE: Breathing Issues
The coughing doesn't sound good. I hope the pulmonologist can sort it out for you.

see if this sounds right, this was my experience.
With CPAP it feels like you don't fully breathe out and that's because you don't, the air sacks are always held open with the back pressure and stop the normal collapse. This is a desirable trait for a lot of things, but not for a new person getting use to it.
You don't try to breathe out, don't make an effort, you just relax and let it happen. You really are getting enough air as your sleepyhead chart will show. You can also get a sore chest and diaphragm the first couple of weeks.
mask fit http://www.apneaboard.com/wiki/index.php...ask_Primer
For auto-cpap, from machine data or software. You can set the min pressure 1 or 2cm below 95%. Or clinicians commonly use the maximum or 95% pressure for fixed pressure CPAP, this can also be used for min pressure.
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RE: Breathing Issues
Turn off ramp, and try setting the minimum to 9. I found I couldn't breath at anything less than 8/9.
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RE: Breathing Issues
G'day TBonz. Welcome to Apnea Board.

To some extent this is a bit of a head game. I well remember the sensation of "drowning in air", which I think is what's happening to you. Try this... Fill a glass with water. Take an ordinary drinking straw and insert it 6 cm (about 2.5 inches) into the water. Now blow bubbles. That's the pressure you're exhaling against. (Assuming 9cm pressure less 3cm EPR). Unless your lungs are compromised, you should have no problem whatsoever. In fact it hardly takes any effort, just relax and let it happen.

Once you get used to the machine you will hardly notice it. (Sometimes I wake up wondering if the machine is actually on).
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RE: Breathing Issues
I've had that..... "Ohh @##&, my machine turnes off..."

Nope, working fine.... Smile

It really does become easy.
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RE: Breathing Issues
Have you tried using it while you are wathing tv or reading so you can get used to it while awake?
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RE: Breathing Issues
Hi TBonz,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
CPAP therapy can take some getting used to. If you haven't done this, try setting up and using your mask and machine as you watch tv during the evening, this will help you get used to this new way of sleeping.
I encourage you to keep trying, it does get better over time.
Hang in there for more responses to your post, good luck on your CPAP journey.
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RE: Breathing Issues

I went to both my primary and my pulmonologist. My primary was a great help.

I'm still fairly new to CPAP (a month) and had developed anxiety/feelings of suffocation using the machine. It was ghastly. My doc told me to take Xanax a half hour before bedtime. I've never had mental issues like anxiety or such but I was desperate for any answer to help me adjust to this. I didn't tell her it seemed to me it was a mental issue (claustophobia/anxiety) but she came up with that after hearing me out.

I've been on the Xanax for 3 nights. WHAT a difference! I take 1 0.5 MG tablet a half hour before bedtime. I'm allowed 2, but I prefer to take as little as possible. I don't feel it kick in like I would with a pain pill, but it seems to work. Instead of 45 minutes to an hour (or more) and coughing and coughing and feeling like I'm suffocating, I cough for just a few minutes and I'm asleep within 15, which was normal for me before I began CPAP. I still sometimes feel like I'm suffocating (I'm not, and I know it's emotional) but the feelings and panic are maybe 1/10 what they were and I can work through that.

So thus far, for me, Xanax works. Glad I swallowed my pride and talked to my doctor. I know people go "oh it's addictive," and down the road, if I can, I will go off of it. But in the meanwhile, it has really saved me when it comes to using this. Granted, it's only 3 nights, but I'm cautiously optimistic. Hope I didn't just jinx myself. *grin*

I used to wear the mask 7 hours and then take it off and sleep without it (7 to get the full score). Now I'm not doing that, I leave it on the full time I sleep.

So for me, this has been a lifesaver as far as using CPAP is concerned.

Still not thrilled at the lack of customer support I got, but I'm pretty brave when it comes to doctors and stuff and rather persistent. I'll bug the hell outta them 'til I get my answers.

Cross your fingers for me. I need to use this CPAP the rest of my life and if it's like this from now on, I'm cool with that. Mostly. I mean honestly, I'd chuck it if I could *grin*, but I know that it's necessary for good health.
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RE: Breathing Issues
Hi TBonz

Really glad to hear you are getting some help to fall asleep to help tolerate CPAP. It is really positive of you to do so and yes, feel sure you will stop xanax when you can. You may find that it may not be long. Our bodies do get used to sleeping with this funny hose stuck to us.

For myself, it was the desperation of exhaustion brought on by sleep which was all but destroyed by apnea which made me persist with CPAP therapy. I was nearly on the floor after a day of work before therapy. I knew I had to do something about it in order to continue. My story with a FFM was really tough but advice from many here helped me get on track. This is a fantastic community and I continue to refer to my 'mates' here for support.

It is the awake life that I get back which confirms I need to be a hosehead at night.
Sleepyhead in 5 easy steps
Beginner's Guide to SleepyHead

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RE: Breathing Issues
Glad to hear that you've got it under control. You obviously know that benzos are not for long term use and the earlier you can use the machine without them the easier it will be.

Your pressure setting of 5 - 20 is what we call "wide open". Although the machine can theoretically provide the pressure you need, in practice it works a lot better within a narrower range. This should also help with feelings of air starvation or drowning in air. When you're ready, post a screenshot of your daily charts and we can make suggestions to optimise the treatment. I notice you have ResScan - this is probably not the best software for an end-user: we mainly use and recommend SleepyHead, which give a lot of detail in a more accessible format.
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