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CPAP and Treatment for Asthma
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sharp56 Offline

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Post: #1
CPAP and Treatment for Asthma
I have an in-law who is suffering from asthma. She has had asthma for years and is presently using inhaler as treatment for her asthma. On some problematic nights, she has been sleeping on a reclining chair as she finds it easier to breathe in that sleeping position. It is heart wrenching to watch.

I am wondering whether a CPAP machine can be used to treat her asthma or at the very least, reduce some of her asthmatic problems in sleeping better in bed rather on a reclining chair?

I am not a doctor but from my common sense and experience from my own sleep apnea, a CPAP machine should help her asthma in the following ways:

1. All CPAP machines have filters and some machines have the option to install HypoAllergenic filters. Therefore an asthmatic patient could be treated at night with clean, filtered air free from the allergen which is usually the cause of the asthma. This will arrest the problem before asthma starts which is better than after asthma and having to treat with drugs.

2. The CPAP machines could be fitted with air climatic control. It will intelligently adapt to the environmental conditions and deliver a steady stream of heated moisture air to the airway and provide fresh oxygen to the lungs.

3. The constant air pressure provided by the CPAP machine should help to open up the airway to help in better breathing.

The only anticipated problem is that sleep studies are not normally done on asthmatic patients (unlike sleep apnea patients) and it is difficult to pin-point and set the range of optimal air pressure for the patients.

Does it help? If it does, then what should be settings for the minimum and maximum airway pressure and what level should the exhale relief pressure be? Which machine is better for asthmatic patients - CPAP or Bi-PAP?

What are your thoughts and own experiences in respect of asthmatic patients? Do you know someone suffering from asthma/COPD using CPAP?

Hopefully, your sharing of experiences and the discussions in this thread will help people suffering from asthma (like my in-law) and people with Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If CPAP could be used for treatment, then there will be no medication and that would be as ideal and natural as one could get.

If it can't, could it not at least help someone like my in-law to get better sleep on bed rather than on a reclining chair while still on her medication?
(This post was last modified: 05-24-2015 10:42 AM by sharp56.)
05-24-2015 10:10 AM
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multime Offline

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Post: #2
RE: CPAP and Treatment for Asthma
(05-24-2015 10:10 AM)sharp56 Wrote:  I have an in-law who is suffering from asthma. She has had asthma for years and is presently using inhaler as treatment for her asthma. On some problematic nights, she has been sleeping on a reclining chair as she finds it easier to breathe in that sleeping position.

I am wondering whether a CPAP machine can be used to treat her asthma or at the very least, reduce some of her asthmatic problems in sleeping better in bed rather on a reclining chair?

I am not a doctor but from my common sense and experience from my own sleep apnea, a CPAP machine should help her asthma in the following ways:

1. All CPAP machines have filters and some machines have the option to install HypoAllergenic filters. Therefore an asthmatic patient could be treated at night with clean, filtered air free from the allergen which is usually the cause of the asthma. This will arrest the problem before asthma starts which is better than after asthma and having to treat with drugs.

2. The CPAP machines could be fitted with air climatic control. It will intelligently adapt to the environmental conditions and deliver a steady stream of heated moisture air to the airway and provide fresh oxygen to the lungs.

3. The constant air pressure provided by the CPAP machine should help to open up the airway to help in better breathing.

The only anticipated problem is that sleep studies are not normally done on asthmatic patients (unlike sleep apnea patients) and it is difficult to pin-point and set the range of optimal air pressure for the patients.

Does it help? If it does, then what should be settings for the minimum and maximum airway pressure and what level should the exhale relief pressure be? Which machine is better for asthmatic patients - CPAP or Bi-PAP?

What are your thoughts and own experiences in respect of asthmatic patients? Do you know someone suffering from asthma using CPAP?

Hopefully, the discussions in this thread will help people suffering from asthma, like my in-law. If CPAP could be used for treatment, then there is no medication and that is as natural as one could get.

If it can't, could it not at least help someone like my in-law to get better sleep on bed rather than on a reclining chair while still on her medication?

I've been told by my pulm to 'not' use cpap for treatment of asthma. The pressure can actually inflame the airway further and thus cut off the airway faster. When having asthma attacks you should really only use nebulizers or inhalers.

Now my cpap tubing supports the use of overnight nebulizers but during a very bad night I don't use cpap. Keep in mind that if it reaches this point I'm usually in the ER.
05-24-2015 10:35 AM
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sharp56 Offline

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Post: #3
RE: CPAP and Treatment for Asthma
Thanks for the feedback
Here's some interesting articles and studies done on the benefits of CPAP to some patients suffering from heart failure, asthma, COPD and other situations such as gas poisoning, drowning, altitude injuries, flail chest, and pulmonary infections.


Many Benefits of CPAP-http://www.jems.com/articles/2010/12/many-benefits-cpap.html

The ins and outs of CPAP-https://vanessajunkin.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/the-ins-and-outs-of-cpap/

Impact of CPAP on asthmatic patients with OSA-http://www.ersj.org.uk/content/29/2/307.full

American Lung Association study to determine if CPAP machines can help those with asthma-http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2013/08/american_lung_association_stud.html --> I wonder what are the results of the finding?

CPAP snoring machine helping asthma patients breathe-http://www.king5.com/story/local/2015/05/24/13414940/ --> Video inside
(This post was last modified: 05-24-2015 12:00 PM by sharp56.)
05-24-2015 10:59 AM
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multime Offline

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Post: #4
RE: CPAP and Treatment for Asthma
(05-24-2015 10:59 AM)sharp56 Wrote:  Thanks for the feedback
Here's an interesting article on the benefits of CPAP to some patients suffering from heart failure, asthma, COPD and other situations such as gas poisoning, drowning, altitude injuries, flail chest, and pulmonary infections.


Many Benefits of CPAP-http://www.jems.com/articles/2010/12/many-benefits-cpap.html
The ins and outs of CPAP-https://vanessajunkin.wordpress.com/2013...s-of-cpap/

Cpap does have many benefits for many other disorders but most others aren't like asthma. Now cpap with a nebulizer is great as the cpap pressure can force the meds in.

All the other disorders listed don't involve airway inflammation which cpap on its own 'can' make an attack worse.

It's quite amazing just how many disorders where clap treatment is used considering that a large portion of the population doesn't know what cpap or sleep apnea is.

Edit... I added hyperlinks for the websites. For those who don't know how to do this please read below.

To add a website address we can click you need to click the button with a blue globe with I guess a paper clip or infinity logo. This button is the ninth one from the left within the row that starts with the bold button.
(This post was last modified: 05-24-2015 11:32 AM by multime.)
05-24-2015 11:22 AM
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krelvin Offline

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Post: #5
RE: CPAP and Treatment for Asthma
I have asthma periodically. Occasionally the use of fexofenadine hydrochloride (Allegra) normally does a good job of knocking it down and making it easier to breath. I rarely use an inhaler though.

However, if I am having any real problems I will do a session with a nebulizer and most certainly will use my CPAP machine afterwards typically sitting in a recliner which greatly helps me breath. It also help provide pacing of my breathing and takes my mind off the issue allowing me to relax better which helps the issue.

Perhaps it is because I have a Bilevel rather than just straight CPAP it works better for me?? My doctor has never made any mention of avoiding the use of my CPAP in fact to the contrary, especially if I am sick or having difficulties breathing. Any time I am under the weather, it is the first place I go.

Breathing problems cause my CHF to flair which can turn into a painful experience and if it gets out of control a quick trip to ER.

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(This post was last modified: 05-24-2015 11:40 AM by krelvin.)
05-24-2015 11:36 AM
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multime Offline

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Post: #6
RE: CPAP and Treatment for Asthma
(05-24-2015 11:36 AM)krelvin Wrote:  I have asthma periodically. Occasionally the use of fexofenadine hydrochloride (Allegra) normally does a good job of knocking it down and making it easier to breath. I rarely use an inhaler though.

However, if I am having any real problems I will do a session with a nebulizer and most certainly will use my CPAP machine afterwards typically sitting in a recliner which greatly helps me breath. It also help provide pacing of my breathing and takes my mind off the issue allowing me to relax better which helps the issue.

Perhaps it is because I have a Bilevel rather than just straight CPAP it works better for me?? My doctor has never made any mention of avoiding the use of my CPAP in fact to the contrary, especially if I am sick or having difficulties breathing. Any time I am under the weather, it is the first place I go.

Breathing problems cause my CHF to flair which can turn into a painful experience and if it gets out of control a quick trip to ER.

I haven't been told not to use cpap during an asthma attack. I have been told to only use it 'with' a nebulizer during an asthma attack. This doctors order could be specific for my treatment and not reflective of others.

My opinion is to be careful using cpap alone during an attack if your doc hasn't given you specific instructions because of the chance of making things worse.
05-24-2015 11:48 AM
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retired_guy Offline

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Post: #7
RE: CPAP and Treatment for Asthma
(05-24-2015 10:10 AM)sharp56 Wrote:  I have an in-law who is suffering from asthma. She has had asthma for years and is presently using inhaler as treatment for her asthma. On some problematic nights, she has been sleeping on a reclining chair as she finds it easier to breathe in that sleeping position. It is heart wrenching to watch.

I am wondering whether a CPAP machine can be used to treat her asthma or at the very least, reduce some of her asthmatic problems in sleeping better in bed rather on a reclining chair?

The short answer is yes, cpap can help with COPD issues. A longer answer is it probably would not be prescribed unless there was an underlying apnea, which in the case of your Aunt there certainly could be. So that should be investigated.

I've read the various articles about using cpap therapy referenced earlier here, and I've read the Mayo clinic article discussing putting critical patients in ICU on cpap instead of straight oxygen, and how well that worked out to reduce deaths. All of that coincides with my own observations with my own condition.

I have COPD. Actually emphysema. I've noticed a lot of folks that have emphysema refuse to acknowledge that, and say they have asthma instead. Not that asthma is anything more desirable to have, but because for some of us we really don't like acknowledging we have some stupid condition caused by our not very bright decisions when we were younger.

What I have learned since beginning cpap therapy is that it will indeed keep my oxygen levels perking along very nicely all night long. It keeps my airways open even if I develop a bad cold or something. I would continue using the machine even if some doc said I was perfectly cured from the sleep apnea. In a way, being diagnosed with sleep apnea is the best medicine I could have found for my emphysema.

As to the drugs your aunt is on: No doubt she's using an albuterol inhaler. That's sort of gold standard. The thing about it though, is we tend to overuse it when we're feeling crappy, and sometimes those things can work to make things worse rather than better. So she needs to be as disciplined as possible to avoid overuse. The other thing she needs to be on is inhaled steroids, such as Advair, or Symbicort. Those things won't turn around an exacerbation, but they're great protectors to keep the asthma under control to begin with.

I'm suspect your aunt knows all this stuff, and a lot more I haven't talked about.

But I would encourage her to check out the sleep apnea. Sleeping better when she's sitting up is a red flag indicating that she could benefit from the therapy.

If I can be of help, let me know.
05-24-2015 04:04 PM
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Post: #8
RE: CPAP and Treatment for Asthma
I've had chronic asthma for most of my adult life, I currently carry a ProAir inhaler for emergency use and use a Symbicort inhaler twice a day. Most of my asthma flare ups are brought on by exercise, pollen/dust, and smoke. I've never had an asthma attack while sleeping, that I know of. My last severe flare-up landed me in the hospital for about a week, and occurred about 12 years before I started receiving the therapy for OSA. So, as far as my experiences go, there does not appear to be a correlation between the two.


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05-24-2015 10:22 PM
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Post: #9
RE: CPAP and Treatment for Asthma
Do steroids thin the lung tissue the was steroid skin creams do?
05-25-2015 02:16 AM
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sharp56 Offline

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Post: #10
RE: CPAP and Treatment for Asthma
(05-24-2015 04:04 PM)retired_guy Wrote:  I have COPD. Actually emphysema. I've noticed a lot of folks that have emphysema refuse to acknowledge that, and say they have asthma instead. Not that asthma is anything more desirable to have, but because for some of us we really don't like acknowledging we have some stupid condition caused by our not very bright decisions when we were younger.

Retired_guy, you're probably right. My aunt was a heavy smoker during her younger days and she most probably has emphysema rather than asthma. She's staying in another country and I don't know the detailed pathology of her illness except for brief visits to her once in a while noting her "asthma-like" condition.

After reading these articles, I too, am somewhat amazed at the many uses and benefits of our humble CPAP machines.

So the interim inferences (not conclusion, as this is hardly a scientific study) from the discussions and experiences shared so far are:

For Asthmatic and COPD patients with OSA
1. All forumers, so far, agree CPAP helps in COPD cases
2. For asthmatic OSA patients, CPAP with inline nebulizer is effective
3. BiPAP machine is probably better as it helps in the exhalation, a problem inherent in COPD and asthmatic patients

For Asthmatic patients (without OSA)
1. Unknown so far, as forumers discuss with OSA
2. There is a controversy whether CPAP is good or not. Some literature (especially the respectable JEM journal) says good and some says it is contra-indication (no good).
(This post was last modified: 05-25-2015 02:38 AM by sharp56.)
05-25-2015 02:16 AM
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