Is too high CPAP pressure harmful?
I have been on a bi-pap for 11 years. the pressure has always been high now the Dr is wanting to up the pressure to 22/15. This is due to daytime low oxygen saturation and lightheadedness. Cardio has already been checked out is okay.
This pressure kind of is a concern to me. Isn't that to high for the esophagus to take?
AnswerIs it Dangerous or Harmful to Have a High CPAP Pressure?
This is a very good question, and before I answer, I want to remind you that I'm not a doctor, so you would have to consult a qualified person about this subject.
If the xPAP pressure is set higher than needed, it doesn't affect your lungs, but can cause central apnea episodes
As you probably know, central sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to send the necessary signal for the breathing muscles to begin a breath.
So, you will stop breathing not because you have an obstruction (obstructive apnea), but because you have a neurological problem.
However, the central apnea events caused by the high CPAP pressure are not permanent. If you reduce the pressure, the central events disappear.
In other words, you will not
have a new sleep disorder - like central sleep apnea - but only central episodes during the high pressure settings.
Let me explain how these central apneas start: let's say you are in a car, traveling fast, and sticking your head out the window. What will happen?
The force of the air hitting you in the face can be enough to cause an increase in oxygen levels in your blood, and it will send a signal to your brain to change the breathing pattern
, even to pause it.
That's happens with CPAP as well, if the pressure is very high. However, this is not a big problem, because the breathing will start again after that short pause.
The problem is that these central episodes can cause arousals which are not good, because they fragment your sleep. And you'll be surprised why are you so tired in the morning, even if you have CPAP or BiPAP.
Other problem cause by a high pressure is aerophagia
, or air swallowing, where the excessive air can enter the esophagus and bloat the belly.What Can You do If You Have a Prescribed High CPAP Pressure?
You should be tested with your new pressure, not just trying and see what happens. In a sleep test, the technicians will discover if you have central apnea episodes, or other problems, with this new pressure.
Or, you could first try to test for 1 or 2 nights to sleep with the new pressure, and if you believe the settings might be a mistake, call the sleep doctor's offfice immediately and let them know.
On the other hand, if this high pressure is correct, you still need to ask for help in learning how to adjust to the new settings. Be specific and let the sleep doctor know exactly how the higher pressure is bothering you.
If the sleep doctor confirms that your pressure settings really do need to be this high, but cannot provide you with any suggestions on how to learn to live and sleep with the new settings, then call the DME and ask for help from them too.
I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back. Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide