Posted by Genna Nielsen on Jun 3rd 2021

Pressure is too Strong Blog

Pressure is too strong - how to do I know what the correct pressure is for me and how do I fix it.

Prescribed Therapy

CPAP therapy is a prescribed therapy. Which means you have to have a sleep study to determine that you have sleep apnea, and will need a script to have a Respiratory Therapist adjust the pressure. The first night or portion of the study determines if you have sleep apnea, and then the second study or other half of the study is determining your optimal CPAP pressure.

Starting out at a lower pressure

Starting out with your CPAP is an adjustment. Wearing a mask, and then having pressure blowing at you can be a struggle. Especially, if your prescribed pressure is at a higher setting. CPAP machines come with a feature called the ramp. This allows you to go to sleep at a lower pressure, and it gradually increases the pressure to the prescribed pressure. This helps to fall asleep, and not fight the higher pressure setting.

Ways to help adjust to the therapy

Finding the pressure to be hard to get used to? The best way to acclimate to the CPAP therapy is usage time. What I would do is wear my CPAP before going to bed. I would wear it while I was reading in bed, or watching tv. The more you wear it, the easier it will be to get used to it.

Staring at the ceiling all night?

If you are finding yourself laying in bed unable to fall asleep, my best advice is to take your time with getting used to wearing your CPAP. It took me a month to be able to wear my CPAP all night. I would put my mask on and wear it for as long as I could tolerate, and then I would take it off and go back to bed. I did this night after night till I was able to wear it all night.

Maybe the issue is your mask

Still finding the pressure to be difficult? Let’s talk about the style mask you are using. I have found that patients do best with using a nasal pillow with pressures under 10cmh20. However, I have had a handful of patients be able to tolerate pressures higher. With the direct pressure blowing into the nasal pillows/nasal mask some patients do better with using a full face mask. Having more surface area makes the pressure seem lower.

The pressure is still too high

After trying the different suggestions and not having any relief it maybe time to talk to your Doctor about a auto study. Majority of the new machines have auto mode. Auto mode is a range in pressures, giving you pressure as you need it. Remember your sleep study was one night, that could have been a bad night or a good night. Having an auto study is typically done for a week, so it gives the provider a better snapshot of your pressures. The 90th percent is usually what is your optimal pressure, and what your doctor will order.