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[CPAP] new CPAP patient: air pressure questions
Newly diagnosed with apnea in July 2016. Have had CPAP machine for two weeks. Not having any problems with nasal pillows other than taking longer to fall asleep. Grateful that I don't feel claustrophobic!

Air pressure set at 4 to start with auto ramp (5-12). I read in bed and pressure stays at 4 (probably could use more air than this). Before I even fall asleep, the machine ramps up to 9 or 10 and seems to suffocate me (can't breathe against the air very well).

I thought the machine would sense when I fell asleep and wouldn't ramp to a higher pressure until it was needed?

Sorry if my descriptions of what's happening is unclear. I don't feel that I got very good instruction or explanations from the respiratory therapist who came twice. Seemed more interested in getting her paperwork filled out than helping me understand how the machine worked. I have very little idea how and when I could make adjustments to the settings myself.

Thanks for any input.Thanks
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Hi giftofsleep,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
Some people feel like they aren't getting enough air at the lowest pressure setting of 4.
Hang in there for answers to your questions.
I wish you good luck with your CPAP therapy.
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Sometimes the Respiratory Therapists tend to speed through the introduction to the CPAP process a little faster then they should. There is a lot to learn and you are in the right place here on this forum to learn a ton of helpful information about sleep apnea and the associated equipment from tried and tested very helpful people.
At the top of this page there is a topic called " CPAP Setup Manuals".
I suggest that you go there and retrieve the appropriate manual for your APAP/CPAP. It will teach you a lot about how you can make many adjustments that will improve your comfort. The ramp device is designed to increase the air pressure in small increments until it gets to your starting pressure. It does this for a length of time that you set in the machine. The machine does not know whether you are sleep or not. It only tries to keep your airway open. The clinicians manual that you retrieve from above will explain all of this to you. It takes a little time but you will quickly adjust to the new pressure. My pressure starts at 11 (no ramp used) and sometimes depending on which mask I am using, I have to hold my hand over the exhaust to see if it has even turned on. Your pressure is moderately low. Good Luck. You will adjust very rapidly;
Yesterday is history; Tomorrow is a mystery; Today is a gift; Thats why its called "The Present".
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Thank you for your warm welcome!
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Are you using EPR (exhalation pressure relief)? This can take away a lot of the suffocating feeling by lowering the machine pressure when you breathe out. Try a setting of 2 and see how that works. This will lower your exhalation pressure to 5 which is maybe a bit low but it might make you feel better.

If you do this then using the ramp feature is probably pointless As 5 is close to the ramp start pressure. EPR is far more effective than ramp.
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Thank you! I will check out the CPAP manual for my machine. I'm sure I can learn a lot! All of the settings were done by the RT and until I found this forum, I wasn't sure that it was OK to change anything.

She (RT) had said that changes could only be made with a Dr's prescription/order. I guess I am just a naive newbie!!

I will also check on the setting of the EPR. Need to learn exactly what EPR is and does.

Time to learn……..

Thanks so much for your help!!
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I think what the RT meant is that she would only make changes based on a doctor's orders. It is your machine, your therapy, and your life. You can make whatever changes you want. I'd advise patience and educating yourself over wild clicking and changes. Some people approach it like changing channels on TV. It does not work like that.

I agree with Trish that your starting pressure seems too low for comfort. Children use these same machines, worth keeping in mind.

EPR is Expiration Pressure Relief - the machine reduces the pressure when you start to exhale so you don't need to push as hard.

Finally, chairs, couches, beaches, and parks are for reading. Beds are for sleep (well, and sex). They are not for reading. Read up on and practice good sleep hygiene. It can make a big difference on your sleep quality.
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