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Wake up feeling smothered almost?
Wake up feeling smothered almost?
Hi All,

I apologize for the long windedness of what's coming.  Hopefully its not too horrible to read.  I thought it might help if I post Some  history about me first.   

20 some odd years ago, I was sent for a sleep study and subsequently prescribed a cpap.  If I remember back then, the pressure was something along the lines of 10.6. All was well, periodically I would get sent for check up sleep studies, but the pressure and settings never really changed.  

Fast forward many many many years of successful nights' sleep.  One day I had a moment to myself and I realized I didnt like how I was feeling internally.  So i changed my diet, gave up the sugar and other vices, and started walking very intensely and regularly. I ended up losing about 50-60 lbs.

A little over a year ago, I found myself waking up with what almost felt to me like I was having a  heart attack.  This went on for about 2-3 weeks. I thought maybe it was stress or something along those lines, but when I got to the point I was almost afraid to go to sleep, I called the doctor and started researching.  I got put on the wait list for the sleep clinic, and eventually got to see the doctor there.  Low and behold, they looked at the data and determined that with all my weight loss, the pressure for my cpap was most likely too high now.

So I now have an Airsense 11 which I'm sure many of you know all about it.   So they set  me up with a pressure from 6-15.  Since May, that has worked out well for me. No issues to speak of really.  But fast forward to about 3 weeks ago.

Since then, I have found I'm waking up in the night and there's... something... but for some reason I can't put my finger on the sensation. I would almost say it feels like I'm being smothered?   Because I wake up that way, I'm a bit disoriented and I can never seen to figure out if the pressure feels too high or too low (if that makes sense).   All I know, is that if I take my mask off, I get that "fresh breath of air" and that feels better.  But of course, if I sleep with the mask off, in comes the snoring, sleepless wife etc.   

I've never needed to use OSCAR and look at data etc. so I'm going to spend some time looking at how to do all that this weekend. If I can figure it out, I'll post it here and maybe someone can shed some light. I know its probably all guess work until I can provide that data, but I'm just wondering if anyone else has had this sort of sensation, and what you found your solution to be?

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RE: Wake up feeling smothered almost?
Is there any chance you're clamping down on the tube somewhere?

I could go on and on here, but if you just look at your OSCAR data, you'll be able to see what's happening, as this sounds very specific.

With regards to their conclusion, that's what I was thinking too as you described your changes, that is, that the pressure was too high. Maybe that's still the case. What does your dashboard say each morning? (though it's not very telling)
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RE: Wake up feeling smothered almost?
I'm hoping to figure out how to get the Oscar data later today because I realize that without it, any suggestions or ideas are probably more hypothetical.

But for the past few weeks I've been wearing my mask for maybe 2-3 hours a night then I rip it off.   Last night though, I felt inspired to try and work through some of it.  When I woke up at 3am with the same issue, i pulled the mask away from my face just enough to let some air leak out.  That actually seemed to remove the "smother" sensation I've had. At that time, my pressure was at 7.x   (half asleep and no glasses so I couldn't see the .x number)

I'm pretty new to the apnea board so I have some research to catch up on, but i've already seen a few posts with people saying the auto sense doesn't seem to work that well for them.

I have noticed that when I wake up with the smothered feeling the past few weeks, the cpap pressure is often anywhere from 7 - 9 ish.    There was one instance where it was in the 11 range, but even when I was at my heaviest, feeling the worst, my pressure never got that high. So it was a bit of a shock to see it there.

I'm partially tempted to try setting my machine to a fixed pressure of somewhere between 6 and 7.  See what that does for me.

But as I said,  I will try to figure out how to post my Oscar data here!!

In the mean time, thanks to all who reply or even read Smile
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RE: Wake up feeling smothered almost?
As you know, without seeing data this is a guess. Could it be you have Smart Start and Smart Stop active? If so, maybe the CPAP is shutting off for a short time. It may be worth looking at the settings, verifying, and if these are on try the CPAP with these off.
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RE: Wake up feeling smothered almost?
Again, this is just a guess with out data.  But it sounds like your min pressure is to low.  See what the min is set to and make sure it is at 8 or above.
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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RE: Wake up feeling smothered almost?
My minimum pressure is set to 6, the max is set to 15.  

But when I wake up feeling smothered, the pressure is usually somewhere between 7 and 9.     With the exception of one time, I've never seen my pressure go much higher than 9.
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RE: Wake up feeling smothered almost?
I have had a ResMed Airsense 10 for five years. Three times it has gone awry. It turns on the airflow full blast and wakes me up, similar to your "smothered" feeling. The pressure is so high that it is difficult to exhale. I take the mask off, which should stop the airflow and the machine. It does not. Turning the power off with the button at the top does not stop it. I have to unplug the power cord at the back of the system. Then the Airset resets itself, and when I plug the power in again it will work fine for a few years. 

This event turns off data logging, so nothing unusual appears on Oscar displays. Thus there is no "evidence" and no way to research or document the details.

Just a thought ...

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