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Drowning sensation?
#1
Drowning sensation?
Short version:

Can a CPAP machine (with humidifier) leave you feeling like you're drowning?

Long version:

I started another thread on this board and several people suggested that my mask (a nose and mouth model) was leaking so much that I wasn't getting any therapy.

So last night, I decided to try my wife's nasal pillow. It seemed to fit, and my Airsense machine said no leaks.

I was particularly impressed by the silence; no air noise at all.  My other mask is darned noisy.

I was less impressed with the effort required to breath.  The old mask actually made breathing easier, the new mask made it decidedly harder .. but still doable.

I fell asleep fairly quickly, but awakened 3 hours later, about 1:30.  Putting the mask back on, breathing was even harder than before, and when I lay down, I COULD NOT BREATH.

I spent some time trying various settings on the machine, to no avail, then reset them to my long time settings and returned to my full face mask.

This didn't work either .. I couldn't seem to breath.

It was now 2:30, so I gave up, and decided to sleep without my machine, for the first time in many many years.

But that didn't work either.  Laying on my side, as usual, I felt like I was drowning!  Now I've never actually drowned, so I don't know what drowning really feels like, but that's the thought that was running through my head.

Stacking my pillows up and laying on my back was better, but I still didn't feel like I could breath.  Sitting upright wasn't bad though.

So down to the living room to my recliner, a chair I've nodded out in many (MANY) times over the years.

There I noticed I was wheezing, making a faint screeching sound like a New Years Eve noisemaker.

Five hours later, I'm .. normal.  A bit of chest congestion, but only a bit, and no wheeze.

It seems highly coincidental that the night I switch to a new mask .. that doesn't leak .. is the night I have this drowning sensation.

The one thought that comes to mind is this: could my machine be filling my lungs with moisture?


Thanks for any thoughts.
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#2
RE: Drowning sensation?
Your final question is a good one! And you can easily figure out if it’s the issue.

A. Experiment with turning the humidity down.

B. Experiment with turning the temperature of the humidity down or up.

C. Make sure the hose goes up when it comes out of the machine. Otherwise, you’ll have humidifier droplets trickling downhill into your mask by gravity. You might as well be standing under Niagara Falls. This is called “rainout”. In my experience, even a little rainout can make me congested. Either put the unit lower than your head, or hang the hose above you. There are hose hangers if you need the latter.

For me, there’s a sweet spot when it comes to humidity. I like it cool (but not too cool), and average moisture. I go through a bit more than 2/3 of my humidity tank. I have to hang my hose.

Yep, the sweet spot humidity level is mask dependent, and would definitely vary with leakage, ‘cos where else is extra water gonna go if it can’t leak out? I get some on my face, which does wonders for plumping out my aging cheeks, but more than that, and I’m cluttering up my nasal passages.

PS Add the details to your avatar box, so folks can see at a glance exactly which machine and mask.
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#3
RE: Drowning sensation?
(05-29-2024, 10:55 AM)HalfAsleep Wrote: PS Add the details to your avatar box, so folks can see at a glance exactly which machine and mask.

Thanks for the reply!  

My machine is listed, but not the mask because I don't know what it is!  

It's my wife's original mask from a few years ago, all the printing has worn off and she has no memory of make or model.  I might know later on today .. there may be a place to buy such things within driving distance.

As to the "drowning", I didn't mean that in terms of drops of water, but rather humidity that may have condensed in my lungs.  "A pillow over my face" would be another description of what it felt like.  Kinda scary.

I guess some experimentation with humidity settings is in order.  (My machine is below my head and my hose loops above it.)

Thanks again.
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#4
RE: Drowning sensation?
i would turn off the humidifier completely, sounds a bit scary indeed.

if you want to know, i'm sure ppl here would recognize the mask if you post a pic.
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#5
RE: Drowning sensation?
(05-29-2024, 11:30 AM)Narcil Wrote: i would turn off the humidifier completely, sounds a bit scary indeed.

if you want to know, i'm sure ppl here would recognize the mask if you post a pic.

Not sure the mask type matters .. the Resmed gives but two options, Full Face and Nose Pillow and it's not a Full Face.

As to turning the humidifier off, yes, that's an option.  Maybe a good option.  I've always just assumed it's a necessary thing ...
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#6
RE: Drowning sensation?
I never have used a humidifier and I live in a simi-arid part of Colorado with rain once or twice a month. No problems
Apnea (80-100%) 10 seconds, Hypopnea (50-80%) 10 seconds, Flow Limits (0-50%) not timed  Cervical Collar - Dealing w DME - Chart Organizing
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#7
RE: Drowning sensation?
(05-29-2024, 12:44 PM)alanbc Wrote: As to turning the humidifier off, yes, that's an option.  Maybe a good option.  I've always just assumed it's a necessary thing ...

my doc said less than 10% of his patients request one, they don't give it by default here. i think it's only really necessary in the desert.
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#8
RE: Drowning sensation?
At least on the ResMed 10 series, mask choice settings are Pillows, nasal, full or similar naming to this.

"Stacking my pillows up and laying on my back was better, but I still didn't feel like I could breath." This is an easy way to get Positional Apnea where you kink the airway. I would say this is a bad idea to attempt to sleep.

What does the OSCAR chart look like? We're flying blind without it.
INFORMATION ON APNEA BOARD FORUMS OR ON APNEABOARD.COM SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN BEFORE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR MEDICAL CONDITIONS, INCLUDING SLEEP APNEA. INFORMATION POSTED ON THE APNEA BOARD WEBSITE AND FORUMS ARE PERSONAL OPINION ONLY AND NOT NECESSARILY A STATEMENT OF FACT.
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#9
RE: Drowning sensation?
alanbc;
Try raising Your lower pressure number to 8 or 9 cmh2o ..
Maybe its air starvation ??
If You're using Ramp try turning it off ..
An OSCAR chart would help also ..
Good Luck
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#10
RE: Drowning sensation?
What you describe sounds like an asthma attack.

I get them brought on by seasonal allergies due to pollen.

It would be worthy of a visit to your doctor and show him the description as you wrote it.

It is better to have the inhaler on hand, than visiting the ER at night.

Eat-popcorn
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