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Why would using CPAP make me feel worse?


Posted by PaulV on November 01, 2001 at 22:00:36:

I've had sleep apnea for at least 4 years, and it finally got bad enough to motivate me to do something about it in June. I've had 4 sleep studies [2 inconclusive, due to inability to sleep], confirming OSA, and I'm on my 2nd mask with chin strap. A study in Aug. showed improvement with a pressure of 7. In Sept., another study moved me up to 8.
The problem is that, after 2 or 3 nights of CPAP, I feel worse than without, so I give it up. After 3-4 nights without, I crave the mask. I've been going through this vicious cycle for 12 weeks, and never feel significantly better. [I did recently go for nearly 2 weeks without CPAP, and almost forgot about sleep apnea. Now it's back with a vengeance.
My question: Is there a "no pain/no gain" phenomenon with CPAP? Do I have to feel worse [cross some threshhold]before I start feeling better, or is my CPAP set at the wrong pressure? I'm afraid to go more than 2 nights with CPAP, lest I find myself too groggy behind the wheel. Can anyone explain why the treatment feels worse than the disease? Also, with CPAP I always wake up with a belly full of air, and a pain in my abdomen, which I've attributed to using different muscles to exhale against the pressure. Is this common?

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