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[CPAP] Difficulty breathing, panic attack, suffocating sensation
#11
Far too many medical professionals don't really understand auto CPAP or ramp. It's generally not a good idea to leave the minimum pressure at 4, but a lot of them do it. The patient may be uncomfortable if the pressure starts too low, both due to not fixing the apnea until the pressure ramps up and the increased rebreathing of CO2.

With the pressure at 4, you can actually breathe perfectly normally, but you inhale more of your own CO2. The CO2 is part of the feedback mechanism that tells your brain that you're not getting enough air.

Your mask leaks air out of the exhaust vent. This is what keeps you from rebreathing the same air over and over. At 4 cmH2O, the vent flushes out enough CO2 and air to be safe, but it may feel uncomfortable. You could design a CPAP mask to leak more air at 4 cmH2O, but then it would leak out a lot more air at higher pressures.

Try this experiment if you have a nasal mask, and are feeling suffocated. Inhale through the mask, but exhale through the mouth. See if the suffocating feeling goes away.

It would be interesting if manufacturers made masks that either had some sort of "smart" vent that leaks more at low pressures or had an adjustable vent that could be set for use at low pressures.
Get the free SleepyHead software here.
Useful links.
Click here for information on the main alternative to CPAP.
If it's midnight and a DME tells you it's dark outside, go and check it yourself.
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#12
(10-13-2014, 12:41 AM)Whitewabit Wrote: I would try wearing the mask with out the hose hooked up to your machine. this will tell you if your having a panic attack because of the mask or because of the pressure or lack of it. you will be able to draw more then enough air that you won't have any trouble breathing through the open hose.

I found using pillows and not a mask my nose remained clear but the humidity set to 80% helps also!!

DO NOT DO THIS with the hose connected to the mask.

It's OK to do this with the hose disconnected from the mask.

With the hose connected to the mask and open on the other end, you'll be rebreathing a lot of your exhaled air. You'll feel like you're suffocating and might even get a bad enough O2/CO2 levels to be dangerous. It's a bit like breathing in and out of a paper bag. The stale air goes back up the tube and you breathe the same air back as you inhale. Without any pressure in the mask, very little air goes out through the vent holes.

There's a small risk you could pass out. Low O2 can make people pass out without realizing that anything is happening.

You could try this if you had someone watching you. If you try it on your own, be sure to not try this for too long and take it off before there's any risk of passing out.
Get the free SleepyHead software here.
Useful links.
Click here for information on the main alternative to CPAP.
If it's midnight and a DME tells you it's dark outside, go and check it yourself.
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#13
(10-13-2014, 06:06 AM)archangle Wrote:
(10-13-2014, 12:41 AM)Whitewabit Wrote: I would try wearing the mask with out the hose hooked up to your machine. this will tell you if your having a panic attack because of the mask or because of the pressure or lack of it. you will be able to draw more then enough air that you won't have any trouble breathing through the open hose.

I found using pillows and not a mask my nose remained clear but the humidity set to 80% helps also!!

DO NOT DO THIS with the hose connected to the mask.

It's OK to do this with the hose disconnected from the mask.
.........
You could try this if you had someone watching you. If you try it on your own, be sure to not try this for too long and take it off before there's any risk of passing out.

Thanks
Thanks for the warning. I concluded early this morning that I am not going to continue to use the machine until the sleep center and the medical equipment folks find a solution (given that feelings of suffocating can be much more serious than I previously thought). I am even contemplating (for many reasons not related to the recent cpap woes) to visit another sleep clinic that seem to have a primary focus on sleep disorders. I realized that I do not trust the people at my current sleep clinic and this whole cpap issue/lack of support and education on their part is another reason to bail and find another clinic. At least I will have a something to compare my current care to.
SadSadOh-jeez
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#14
I'm sorry that all of this has frightened you Amandine. It should not be this way. The therapy for sleep apnea can absolutely change your life. I cannot imagine a universe where I would want to go back to not using the machine. My ONLY regret is that it took me until age 71 to find out about and begin using this therapy.

I completely agree with you returning to your DME, or finding another one even if that's what it will take. You absolutely deserve better than the false-start you have had to endure.

It will get better! I promise.
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#15
(10-13-2014, 12:32 PM)retired_guy Wrote: I'm sorry that all of this has frightened you Amandine. It should not be this way. The therapy for sleep apnea can absolutely change your life. I cannot imagine a universe where I would want to go back to not using the machine. My ONLY regret is that it took me until age 71 to find out about and begin using this therapy.

I completely agree with you returning to your DME, or finding another one even if that's what it will take. You absolutely deserve better than the false-start you have had to endure.

It will get better! I promise.

Thank you for your encouragement retired_guy. I have taken steps today to go to another sleep clinic.

One thing I am learning through this experience is to get perspective from others who have experience with a particular area such as sleep apnea and using the cpap. It helped me realized that I was not being dramatic and impatient. Another lesson is that I should have left this sleep clinic a long time ago (I just settled and rationalized since I don't have anything to compare my current experience with). If you can't trust the people who are taking care of your health it is does not land to a good relationship and better health.
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#16
The main thing Amandine is not to give up. SA is insidious in what it does long term to your heart kidneys mood memory. I am a walking poster child for physical cardiac damage done by untreated SA. Didnt even know it was happening but in the short time ive been on cpap its slowly beginning to reverse and heal. To what extend that is possible I dont know but it is happening.

Avoiding that by treating even mild SA is worth it.

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#17
I wanted to post an update on my case for the people who have given me advice and encouragements on my situation and others that will read this post.

I went ahead and got a second opinion from a different sleep center. The new specialist and one of her colleagues agreed that I do not have obstructive sleep apnea and should discontinue the use of the CPAP machine. They however agreed that I possibly have Upper Airways Resistance Syndrome, which is a mild sleep disorder on the sleep disorder spectrum, and is often not recognized by doctors, not well researched and CPAP machine has not really proven to be a good solution according the readings have done.

Separately, I consulted with Ear, Nose & Throat specialists who also agree that do not have sleep apnea but have sleep disturbances caused by some respiratory issue. They had me try Afrin for one day and see how I slept that day. Oh my! I slept beautifully, because with the reduction of swelling and constriction of the blood vessel in my nose breathing was free and unobstructed. I did not realized I was walking around all day and sleep at night with major nasal obstruction. Afrin should never be used for more than 3 days because of the reversal of the results. So the permanent solution for me was to have a turbinate reduction because they grew back and grew too large after my septum straightening surgery and turbinate reduction more than 3 years ago. The in-office surgery was performed this past Tuesday and as the nose heals I am gradually seeing a difference in my nasal breathing, because the nose is becoming more and more unobstructed on more permanent basis (hopefully for more than 3 years!). I am looking forward to completely restored free nasal breathing.

My lessons: Wholeheartedly try the doctors' solutions but you know when things are not working out. When you sense something is wrong keep pushing and ask questions of your doctors. Get second opinions if possible. Do your own research and discuss them with your doctor (s). Resolve any bad sleep quality and quantity symptoms immediately!! I waited way to long to admit to myself that the sleep deprivation symptoms were absolutely abnormal and should not be tolerated. I waited long and years later things got really bad.

Thank you allWinkThanksBig Grin:grin:
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#18
Thanks for the update, Amandine.

It's always nice to hear about a successful outcome.
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#19
congrats.

are you going to have another sleep study after you heal from your last surgery to make sure that you don't have OSA? we are all different; if it were me, I would definitely have another sleep study while you are hopefully covered 100% by the insurance company. OSA can cause so much silent damage to your organs and then bam! there is heart problems, etc., not to mention that you could wake up dead.


Just my thoughts.
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#20
(11-01-2014, 02:02 AM)me50 Wrote: congrats.

are you going to have another sleep study after you heal from your last surgery to make sure that you don't have OSA? we are all different; if it were me, I would definitely have another sleep study while you are hopefully covered 100% by the insurance company. OSA can cause so much silent damage to your organs and then bam! there is heart problems, etc., not to mention that you could wake up dead.


Just my thoughts.

It is definitely a valid point and thank you for bringing it up. I am seeing my ENT doctor in 3 weeks to see how healing is progressing and if the related sleep symptoms have lessened. I am keeping a diary of all the symptoms related to sleep and breathing I can observe. The understanding with the ENT doctor is that if the turbinate reduction does not work we go back to the drawing board and part of that might be to repeat the sleep study if my insurance does not fight it (since I already had 2 in less than 6 months this year). As I told all my doctors, my goal is to resolve the sleep and breathing issues before the start of 2015. I just cannot continue this way. So I will not rest on my laurels.

Amandine
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