What is high CPAP pressures? Is 5 cmH20 high or 16 cmh20 high?
This is a personal question. If it feels high for you, then it feels high for you.
On the flip side, some people feel they are not getting enough air, and they want more CPAP pressure.
However just to give you some perspective, the majority of CPAP machines can be programmed to accommodate the absolute lowest pressure of 4cmH20 and the highest pressure as 20 cmH20.
The sleep test you took helped determined the right CPAP setting that is needed to keep your airway that is obstructed open.
I always invest a good 5 to 10 minutes extra with each person, to show them and help them first visualize what the heck is happening to them when you sleep. Do you really, really, really know how you behave when you sleep?
Now if you feel your CPAP pressure is far too strong……… I urge you first to understand what Obstructive Sleep Apnea really is.
Watch this short video and see really what is happening when you sleep
Take me for instance, I stopped breathing 78 times an hour !! Yikes.
Your CPAP setting represents the strength needed to push open all that blockage and be strong enough to keep that airway passage open all the time.
Take me for instance, 90% of the time My auto CPAP machine is blowing at a hurricane strength of 14 cmh20 to prevent my airway passage from being blocked off. And when I socially drink alcohol, that night my CPAP settings will go as high as 15cmh20 or 16 cmh2O to keep my airway open. (I have an auto CPAP, thus it automatically adjust to my bodies needs.)
Honestly….. if you are complaining that at a CPAP pressure of 4, 5 or 6 is too high, I urge you to reconsider that thought mentally. In reality, it is not. You see the minimum pressure that can be programmed for CPAP is 4cmH2O and the maximum strength we can program a CPAP machine is 20 cmH2O.
Now if you still feel your CPAP starting pressure is far too strong, then call your doctor have them fax a prescription to your medical equipment company to change it.
Why changing your CPAP settings requires a prescription:
a) The Food and Drug Administration has classified CPAP and Bilevel (BiPAP) machines as Class II Medical Device. That means it requires a prescription. Even if you are changing CPAP settings, it requires a prescription.
b) That is why a medical equipment company are simply not willing to violate the law and lose their capability to do business simply to accommodate a person's wishes to change their CPAP settings without a prescription.
c) Changing CPAP settings require physician oversight for a good reason…certain settings will promote more sleep apneas. For example, if someone has central sleep apnea by itself or mixed in with their obstructive sleep apnea….. typically the doctors are worried and are extremely careful about what that setting should be. Higher settings can cause more apneic episodes.
d) Unfortunately, a lot of people then stop using their CPAP machine because of the hassle factor of making an appointment and paying copayments again.
e) However, it does not have to be that way. All you have to do is call into the doctor’s office and explain to the nurse what is going on. Typically what happens, is the nurse will consult with the physician and then when the physician agrees to change the settings, the nurse will fax the prescription to the medical equipment company.
f) Now here are a little-known facts…. Let say you need a new CPAP mask or supplies, and your insurance or the medical equipment company requires a prescription. As long as the order is written on a prescription pad and it comes from any doctor (sleep physician, family physician, neurologist, any specialist doctor), nurse practitioner, dentist…. it is acceptable.
g) Many medical equipment companies will contact the doctor’s office on your behalf also.
Video on the 8 specific strategies that have helped thousands of people who initially felt their CPAP pressure felt like a Hurricane .....and now they are successfully able to sleep comfortably with their CPAP machine and mask.