Lack of adherence to Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is a major issue for patients living with sleep apnea. This means that many struggle to use their PAP machines after being diagnosed with sleep apnea, whether for extended times or not at all. The recommended usage for PAP machines is a minimum of five nights for at least four hours. Anything below the recommended usage, the patient will be considered non-compliant, therefore using your machine is very important.
There are consequences for not using the CPAP machines, if that is the line of treatment that has been prescribed to a patient. Lack of usage can lead to interruptions in breathing and restful sleep which affects the quality of patient’s health leading to serious health consequences. Interruptions in breathing creates hypoxemia (loss of oxygen) which can overtime affect a person’s cognition and heart heath not to mention complete cessation of breathing during sleep in some patients leading to life threating adverse events.
Patients should discuss their challenges with adhering to PAP therapy with their durable medical equipment representative. It could be a simple fix from finding a best “fit” for the mask to adjusting certain settings on the machine. Some patients can experience nasal or sinus issues or claustrophobia making it unbearable for a patient to continue to use their machine. Either way, it is critical that patients make every effort to adhere to their therapy. If not, patients can experience disruptions in their care putting them at risk for cardiovascular events. If you are a patient having problems with adhering to your CPAP, ensure that you have a good support system, whether family or physician, including a good understanding of how to use your machine. Educating and empowering yourself will not only lead you to breathe better but sleep better leading to a better overall health.