by Judy Y.
(Willard, WI USA)
I am a new user to a CPAP machine, seven weeks now. This past fall I had two bouts of pneumonia, this was just before I began using the CPAP. I was finally healthy when I began the CPAP and LOVED using the machine the first two weeks. Then one night I woke up with a very bad cough and after that I have had a very loose cough, resting right in my bronchial tubes.
I thought my pneumonia came back but, x-rays came back normal. I am not on a 10 day run with an antibiotic. The doctor thinks it may be just some type of an infection. She said if I wasn't better in 10 days to call her.
I am on day 8 of my medicine and I still have the exact same cough. It is a very deep, loose cough, I wezz when I breath.
She thought if the meds didn't work I should go get some allergy testing done. I am a dairy farmer and am in a barn 6 hours a day, of course seven days a week. I really can't think it to be that as I have been farming for 25 years now.
My question, people have asked me since the cough began two weeks after I started the CPAP, can the cough be due to the CPAP machine?
I look forward to your answer.
Dear Judy, you are not the only CPAP user who has coughing problem. There are many sleep apnea patients who start coughing when CPAP is turned on. However, we cannot definitely say that CPAP is the main cause for this issue.
Actually, there are many causes for coughing, and because you are a beginner with CPAP therapy, I'm thinking about your CPAP humidifier
If you don't use a humidifier
, the dry air from CPAP enters into your airways, drying your mouth, your nasal passages, your throat, and irritating the soft tissues. This can cause coughing and phlegm.
So, if you have a CPAP humidifier, you have to turn it ON. Furthermore, increasing the level of humidity doesn't guarantee you will escape from CPAP coughing. You have to test
which level of humidity is more appropriate for you.
In other words, some CPAP users find coughing relief with lower humidifier settings, others with higher. It depends on how humid is your environment.
Type of CPAP mask
What type of mask are you using? You may want to know that for some CPAP users nasal pillows
can cause coughing. The air is felt like it's being forced in the throat, irritating everything in his path. Thus, sore throat, coughing and mucus secretion.
Moreover, the nasal airways are unable to provide sufficient humidity to humidify the increased airflow of CPAP therapy. This results in the nasal mucosa being stripped of the moisture required to humidify the air.
Disorders that may cause coughing while using CPAP
CPAP therapy can aggravate GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) or acid reflux. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a known risk factor for GERD, which can also cause chronic coughing.
So, if you sometimes fell like vomiting (stomach juices getting up into your airway passage), or can hear a liquid (acid) in the back of your throat crackling when you open your mouth, you should tell your doctor. Acid reflux can wear the lining out of your esophagus. And if your flap gets damaged from it you will have to sleep sitting up the rest of your life.
Asthma, Sinus issues, Interstitial Lung Disease or Multiple Bilateral Pulmonary Embolisms may cause coughing as well.
Your doctor is right. Allergies can be a risk factor for coughing. Did you know that some CPAP users are allergic to the CPAP filter
? There are different types of filters, so changing these filters can be a good idea.
But you may also have allergies from CPAP mask materials.
Other users discovered mildew inside the CPAP machine (surprising, I know...). And others didn't clean their CPAP parts properly
So Judy, there are a lot of things involved in coughing while using the CPAP. I think you need to consider all the facts mentioned above, but if you have other questions, please don't hesitate to ask or comment.
Remember to speak with your doctor about your problem.
I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back. Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide