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CPAP and Bronchitis Don't Mix!
(01-23-2016, 08:59 PM)konstantine Wrote: A few weeks ago , .... This is well within the realm of possibility

I note this is your first post: Welcome to the Forum.

I am not a Medical Doctor but I will say this based on my research:

It is possible to have infections if you do not clean your CPAP equipment. However, unless you are using really high pressures (more than 30 cm H2O) the CPAP should not be mechanically damaging your lungs.

The choice whether to use or not use your CPAP by a medical doctor may involve criteria and considerations beyond what has been said here and possibly beyond the knowledge of the respondents here despite the great amount of experience and wisdom available. If your doctor asks that you stop CPAP, I would ask him why. Ultimately you are the final decision maker regarding your health.

Keep in mind this: CPAP was prescribed to treat but probably not cure certain problems that you were diagnosed with. These are serious problems even many of us probably did not recognize it at the time of diagnosis.

I know, that despite my education (over 22 years of formal education and several degrees,) I did not not know the impacts of sleep apnea. If you look at some of my earliest posts on this forum, you will see me questioning what I would get out of CPAP. I actually only learned of both what ultimately happens with untreated sleep apnea and the benefits of treating it by reading the medical literaure. It is serious business to our health.

It is also interesting to note that the effects of sleep apnea were not taught in most medical schools until about ten years ago! Therefore, older doctors may still not be fully aware of the proven impacts. Sleep apnea is consider by many doctors now to be the single most misdiagnosed medical condition.



Walter W. Olson, Ph.D., P.E.
Professor Emeritus
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(05-14-2015, 10:15 PM)trailrider Wrote: Two weeks ago I got a bit of a cold. Mucus, phlegm, etc. Took over the counter meds for it. Stuck to my CPAP. Coughing started and got worse. Deep choking coughs. My co-workers kept thinking I was dying on them. My husband slept on the couch so he could sleep.

The CPAP cleared the nasal passages, but it made the lungs worse! The combination of mucus and air pressure irritated deep in my lungs.

Saw the doctor and now on an inhaler and Nasonex for "something like bronchitis, but down deeper" And no CPAP for the next while! Oh, and come back if you are not getting better, in case of pneumonia developing...

So as much as I like my cute machine and P10 pillows I'll leave them off for awhile.

Leaving the note for others, so you can avoid my bronchitis-type event. Cool

With regard to the part in bold, the question I have to ask when I read this type of thing is how do you know that one caused the other? How do you know your sickness didn't just progress the way many do, which is you got sick, then got worse, then got better? Or that the identical progression wouldn't have happened even if you hadn't stuck with your cpap? I'm not discounting your experience, but I question that we can conclude one caused the other.
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(01-23-2016, 08:59 PM)konstantine Wrote: A few weeks ago , I had a severe fever , no upper respiratory symptoms , no mucus or cough, no phlegm etc. After a week of this fever , I had enough and went to the emergency room at night. There was no line so I got tested and admitted in quickly. The at this medical center are very professional and efficient. The location and name of this facility will remain anonymous in this post. The doctor who received me asked several questions about the fever and my symptoms , he took X-Rays of my lungs and then told me there is a chance this is either a mild pneumonia and a sinus infection combined. He prescribed zythromicine pack that straight away cured the symptoms of fever three days fever later.

Your doctor prescribed the antibiotic in case your infection was bacterial. How do you know that the antibiotic "straight away cured it"? Maybe it did, maybe it didn't. Maybe you had a viral infection and just got better, irrespective of the antibiotic. The only reason I even comment on this point is I find it fascinating how in this instance, you are certain of a positive cause and affect, yet in the case of cpap keep mentioning possible negative cause and effects that you imagine might exist.

Quote:He asked I come back for a check up but after receiving the bill from the hospital for that 20 minute visit , I decided not to. Needless to say no symptoms since . I use a CPAP and I stopped using it during the fever since I had a fear that it might be a respiratory infection caused by unseen microbial bacteria or mold.

As much as I needed a restful sleep something about the machine started to make me question the reasons I got sick in the first place.

When I was in the emergency room I recalled the doctor asking me if I used a CPAP , when I told him I did he wrote this down. I asked why , is there a connection. He said that there isn't any conclusive evidence for it but that he had noticed CPAP users often come in with similar symptoms. I know that this forum is pro CPAP , I am not advising we stop using them. Obviously the need for oxygen and a restful sleep is paramount to healing and getting good sleep , energy and avoiding cardiac issues. I found this site for any information on this exact topic . Yet instead I find when someone posts the mere hint that the CPAP is the source of any possible negative results is an aggressive denial.

If by "aggressive denial" you mean asking for evidence, or what the mechanism would be to cause such a thing, I'll plead guilty.

Quote:I find it important that there might be possibility that infections, water in lungs and breathing issues related to CPAPs and their subsequent design flaws might be worth questioning.

They are tools we use constantly to help with our breathing , they are enclosed in a specific measured space and enclosed environment that is by comparison smaller than our own esophageal passageways & lung capacity. Also they are not self cleaning and they are prone to biological bacteria , dust and residual mold from this material and liquid. I thoroughly wash my machine, its water receptacle and all the parts. Despite all this I find that unless I go over every tubular crevice with a antibacterial wash or every nook in the water container with a tooth brush , there will be material and bacteria that may go through.

We are surrounded by bacteria. Bacteria lives on us. Unfortunately many people obsess about it being in one area while ignoring the thousand other areas it exists. The cpap machine appears to be your area of focus.

With regard to cpap machines, they can cause infections if not kept clean, that's why we clean them. So can toothbrushes, dishes and food. Do you stop using them when you get sick?

Quote:Also I want to stress we live at home and this is not a sterile environment.
Exactly, there is bacteria everywhere at home. If you regularly sterilize your cpap machine that's going to be one of the more bacteria free areas.

Quote:We do not live in a hospital and we do not have access to material methods or time to ensure a pristine method that will insure our lungs and sinus are breathing bacteria proof air . When you are in a hospital environment everything is clean and sterile to make sure that infections, virus and bacteria do not get spread.

Tee hee hee. The CDC estimates 99,000 people die in the US from hospital born infections each year, and 1.7 million infections. Even though a home is also teaming with bacteria, you are far less likely to be infected there because you don't have an environment with thousands of patients fighting disease with healthcare workers moving back and forth between them.

Quote:I have been using my machine since the fever. Yet I recently noticed a gurgling sound from my lungs when I exhale. Will see a doctor to make sure , but until I am certain that this is unrelated , I will discontinue use of the cpap device

That's your choice, and I don't know how severe your apnea is, so maybe it's a low risk one, but you are basically choosing a certain risk over an imaginary one.

Quote:I have noticed a connection with my repository issues when ever I get sick and question if they happen because of a design error related to the CPAP.

What design error might that be? I am also curious why you conclude that breathing through a cpap machine increases the likelihood of lung issues? As opposed to concluding that breathing filtered air in fact reduces the likelihood of lung issues? Ditto for assuming that humidified air is bad for lungs.

Quote:I am not taking anymore chances.
This represents poor risk assessment. You are choosing to subject yourself to a known danger of not sleeping with your cpap machine, because of an imagined "chance".

Quote:I will test this theory by not using it for a week to see how my lungs react I was lucky that the pneumonia did not affect my health in a serious way and I am not certain that the CPAP did not have any thing to do with the infection to begin with .

You are not testing anything. The odds are that your lungs will get better. When they do, you can then convince yourself it was because you were not using cpap.

Quote:Perhaps we should not rule out all possibility of the CPAP having anything to do with this sudden and serious respiratory issue.
This is what is referred to as misuse of the precautionary principle, it's a type of logical fallacy. You invoke an imaginary risk, and then proclaim that we need to rule out all risk. That's not the way it works. Nearly everything contains some risk. In the case of cpap if a person does not keep their machine clean, the possibility of infection exists. So we clean our machines. And yes, even then the possibility of infection exists. But it's very, very low, infinitely lower than the risk of not using the machine.

Quote:Do not be too quick to dismiss the possibility that an enclosed wet environment circulating air may be the cause of infection from either bacteria- mold etc . This is well within the realm of possibility
No it isn't, not in the way you mean. You might as well make the same argument about living in a house. Take a look at your furnace and duct work some time. Your cpap machine is sterile in comparison.
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(01-23-2016, 08:59 PM)konstantine Wrote: Yet instead I find when someone posts the mere hint that the CPAP is the source of any possible negative results is an aggressive denial.
One other thing about the above comment. I have zero issues with people temporarily not using their cpap in instances where there's no other choice, for instance maybe if you were coughing uncontrollably and found the cpap made it worse. But that should truly be a last resort, and even then might depend on how severe a persons apnea is.

I think it's clear by how some talk about it that some don't realize how dangerous not using cpap can be for many of us, and perhaps even for themselves. For a person whose oxygen levels drop seriously low, or experience severe obstructive events, it can be extremely dangerous. And just because you haven't experienced that yet, doesn't mean you might not. So some of us see giving advice to stop using when sick etc. it as very unwise, even if it's well meaning.

That's probably why some of us are "aggressive deniers". We prefer not to wake up choking or have our oxygen levels drop to dangerous levels because of some unproven supposition that cpap makes something worse.
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I have a primary specific immune deficiency - in that I do not make antibodies to the polysaccharide coat of pneumococcus which means that I am extraordinarily susceptible to pneumococcal infections. This is the most common bacteria to cause upper respiratory illness in normal people and can cause aggressive or chronic low grade infection anywhere in my body (wont share the gory details, but I have seen doctors shake heads and say "that's weird" on more than one occasion).

I have been using CPAP for a little over a year now, and in that time have had 2 viral infections and 0 bacterial. The CPAP with humidity set high helps the lungs to expel viral material and helps the tissues to be demonstrably less susceptible in my case. I was afraid that CPAP would cause issues for me, but it appears to be the opposite. This last year may be the first in my life that I have not had to resort to at least one round of antibiotic; some recent years have seen me on them 4 or 5 times. Don't be too quick to blame the CPAP Smile
هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه
Tongue Suck Technique for prevention of mouth breathing:
  • Place your tongue behind your front teeth on the roof of your mouth
  • let your tongue fill the space between the upper molars
  • gently suck to form a light vacuum
Practising during the day can help you to keep it at night

هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه هههههه
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There are more bacteria and viruses in the air in your house than you will ever get from your water tank. Your hose and mask may pick up viruses and bacteria from the air in your house. As was stated before, one actually breathes much worse (less clean) air during the day than the filtered air that you breathe from your CPAP.

It has been demonstrated many times that hospitals harbor more pathogens than your house does by a huge margin.

Best Regards,


Admin Note:
PaytonA passed away in September 2017
Click HERE to read his Memorial Thread

~ Rest in Peace ~
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You say you won't return for the follow up because you got the bill for the 20 minute hospital visit. Twenty minutes? He gave you antibiotics on the assumption it was bacterial and not viral. The only test they did (that you tell us) is xrays. Did they do cultures?

You see this doc for 20 minutes. He mentions in passing that "there isn't any conclusive evidence for it but that he had noticed CPAP users often come in with similar symptoms". So instead of trusting your sleep doctor and the piles of actual, real, existing, documented, conclusive evidence to the contrary, you are stopping your CPAP treatment.


In other words, you have an agenda and you came here just to dig up this old thread to spread your message. How many other CPAP forums have you gone to and told the same story to?
Apnea Board Moderator

Breathe deeply and count to zen.


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This is exactly what I'm going through at the moment. The doctor who prescribed my CPAP machine told me to use it every time I sleep, except when I have a cold. But everything I've read said to not stop using it even then. I was not very stuffed up with this virus, so I've continued to use my cpap machine every night.

I first got the virus just over three weeks ago now, so the virus itself is long gone. But yesterday, I started noticing a little fatique and I have a slight fever again. My cough has turned into a barky cough. It should be getting better after three weeks; not worse. I've had bronchitis many times in my life and it's feeling like it's heading that way.

Last night I was awake much of the night, because I couldn't stop coughing. I kept waking up because I was breathing through my mouth.
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Gregory, you likely have a secondary infection. Pretty common. There is no cure for bronchitis, but if you are prone to pneumonia, many docs give you antibiotics since it usually prevents hospitalization.
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Ran into a nasty chest cold while traveling in EU (with my machine) after being in China. The only thing that got me through customer meetings was Fishermans Friend.
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